Josh, Sarah, and I went to Taos Ski Valley to get some Java from the Black Diamond Espresso. They were closed when we got there, so we decided to do a backcountry tour while we waited for them to open.
early morning light on the peaks in the Williams Lake basin
Sin Nombre is still holding on to some snow.
We decided to try skiing Vallecito Mountain. First, we had to climb out of the Williams Lake basin by going over the shoulder of Lake Fork Peak.
Josh skinning below a skier's playground
After gaining the saddle between Lake Fork and Sin Nombre, we were greeted with our first glimpse of Vallecito. We ascended the long summit ridge on the left, and we skied the large bowl to the far right.
close up view of the bowl
After gaining the saddle, second on the day's agenda was descending this steep line on the back side of Lake Fork.
Sarah trying to keep it together on the frozen penitents
Sarah making her way along the scenic summit ridge
Josh passing quietly below a crazy cornice feature
resting my tired legs and feet on the summit while staring at our tracks on the back side of Lake Fork
Kachina, Lake Fork, Walter, Wheeler, Old Mike, and Sin Nombre (L to R)
Rio Grande Gorge in the distance (If you look closely, you can barely make out the Gorge Bridge just above center.)
Sarah enjoying a snack on the summit while Josh airs out his soggy feet.
all smiles from Sarah
Sarah picking her way down a steep section
Josh scoping out the best way to enter the bowl
Sarah making quick turns through the choke with the enormous bowl looming below
Josh reminding himself that lugging skis to the summit was well worth the effort
Sarah staying focused on the steep terrain
A light layer of wind deposited snow made these the best turns of the day.
Sarah making her way into the open
Josh putting the finishing touches on a memorable line
looking back up at our tracks
Sarah and Josh grunting up through an endless sea of slushy penitents
Our legs were hamburger meat by this point. We tried to use the amazing views to distract our attention.
Six hours later, we found ourselves back on the saddle between Lake Fork and Sin Nombre.
Sarah shuffling along the ridge to Lake Fork's summit
After removing our skins one last time, we finally had put all the climbing behind us.
Unfortunately, the Black Diamond Espresso was closed by the time we got back 10 hours later.