Since neither of us had skied anything off Buck Mountain, we settled for a Stewart Draw approach and set our sights on an obscure Couloir descending from the east face: the South East Couloir. We invited Kelly WY Yurt-Dweller Ben Johnson and fellow Outward Bounder Austin Gibney along to see what we could find.
After some disorienting route-finding and sketchy down-hill skinning, we found our way to the base of Buck's east face. I somehow forgot my crampons, Austin was feeling a little beat from his weeklong snowmobiling binge, the exit to the SE couloir looked quite thin, and snowpack seemed wind affected. By this time we were all feeling like we wanted to bail on the SE couloir and ski something else. We decided the regular East Face route would do, so we preceded to kick-step our way up the the NE ridge.
Soon enough, we found ourselves peering into the north facing Buck Shot couloir. After little talk, we all settled for plan C. Since the snow level was quite low, we were forced to make one 30m rappel into the entrance before we were on our way. Buck Shot served up super variable and crappy snow, but was was a fun nevertheless. The top few hundred feet started off with a 47 degree crux that chocked down to two ski widths. below the choke was a wide, wind-affected bowl and another 1000 feet of couloir skiing.
Overall, the snow was junk but the turns were fun. A great adventure with some great folks!
Photo Credit: Aaron Diamond