Revenge of The Girly Man — Page 5

Southeast Ridge & Girly Man Chute

The Girly Man Revealed

Just around a spiny point, that pyramid pinnacle appears, and I know I've found my quarry: the Girly Man Chute, alleged descent rating D14. Swirling clouds continue to obscure the full length of the chute.

Assuming I'm in the right place, the upper section of the Girly Man features a steep 45 degree drop into a narrow slot that then...vanishes. Ironically, I realize the name of this chute could get me in trouble, as there's no way I'm turning back from the Girly Man, sight unseen or not.

At the Top of the Girly Man Chute Girly Man Chute - Midsection Looking Up Narrows & Exit

Into the chute I go.

The entry is a little tricky, as the top features a rock garden right in the middle.

A little more snow would take care of it.

The snow as expected is very soft, about 3/4 meters of wet sticky powder well on its way to becoming consolidated snow, no crust or layering.

It's wet enough to make me cautious, however, and sure enough, I trigger a small slide that's easy enough to bail out of with a ski pole arrest.

The clouds continue to hide the exit, but oddly enough, I find the swirling mists comforting.

Combined with the Girly Man's steep rock walls, I feel enclosed and completely cut off from any sense of exposure, real or imagined.

The extra-soft snow doesn't hurt, either, and the angle remains comfortably around 40 degrees.

When I reach the chute's midsection, the clouds/fog below part just enough to reveal a modest dogleg to the right. I take this as an encouraging sign that I'm actually where I think I am.

Turn, turn, turn.

Deep snow makes steep skiing seem almost effortless...just let the body go downhill and the skis will follow.

Then again, it's probably a little more complicated than just that.

A few more little hops and I arrive at a nifty little narrows.

The clouds part. Now I can see the Girly Man Chute's exit, the apron below, and Mount Baldy's south bowl beyond. It's been a short descent, perhaps only a few hundred vertical feet from the top of the Girly Man to the bottom of the chute.

The skiing has been well worth the effort, however—a mini-technical descent through spirited, invigorating terrain.

The Southeast Bowl promises at least another thousand vertical feet of good skiing. After that comes San Antonio Canyon, and as I wonder what conditions in the lower canyon will be like, I feel my first real twinge of anxiety.

Interlude: The Southeast Bowl

About SierraDescents

When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

Pray for snow.