We awoke at 6:30AM to clear skies and -26 degrees F. It was day four of a cold streak in Cooke City, MT, with lows far into the negatives at night and highs creeping into the single digits during the day. When it’s that cold for that long, things begin to stop working. Cars have trouble starting or may not start at all, and house pipes begin to freeze. The snow surfaces begin to change, and no matter what wax your using the snow seems almost static and grippy.
By noon the thermometer was finally approaching 0, which we reasoned was quite warm. A sunny, south-facing couloir seemed to be the ticket and we slowly skinned into the mountains. But en-route to our objective, we walked under a random chute that seemed worthy, and decided to wander our way up it instead. Clouds moved in, and a cold, bitter breeze escorted us up to the top of the hallway. With wind chill values plummeting far below zero, we quickly transitioned and leap frogged down the deep slot, into the valley and to the wood heated cabin tucked in the forest.
Approaching 0…it’s go time!