After hitting The Great One this past weekend in all time conditions, I was itching to get back out on snow. I convinced my wife to head down to Big Sky to have a look at the classic Fourth of July couloir in Beehive Basin. As I detailed in a previous post, Beehive Basin is the go to spot for quick backcountry access in the Big Sky area. Within a few miles of skinning you can pretty much be in whatever flavor of terrain you desire.
Today we were headed out to the end of the basin to hopefully climb and ski the iconic couloir of Beehive Peak. We left the trail head at 6:50 am and spent the first two miles on foot walking through mud, snow, and open streams. It was slow going, but this time of year the sun is far enough north that the SE facing couloir stays shaded until about 8:30, so we weren’t in a huge rush. Eventually we switched to skins for the last 2 miles to the end of the basin.
At the base of the Fourth of July couloir, we put our skis on our packs and broke out the crampons and ice axes for the final 500 foot climb. The snow had locked up quite nicely overnight, which made booting up pretty easy while the surface corn was coming ripe right on time. This couloir gets skied frequently, but unfortunately, there wasn’t a boot pack already in. Just under 3 hours after leaving the car, we were standing at the top at 10,400ft. Even if the skiing sucked (spoiler: It didn’t), the view was worth the effort.
We made a quick transition and it was go time. My wife dropped in first and skied perfect corn down to the apron. My turns were just as good. Once out of the couloir, we had another 500 feet of oh-so-sweet corn skiing down to Beehive Lake. I love snow.
The way out was a bit tricky. We skied sun cups for as far as we could before switching back to our shoes. The snow that had been firm on the way in was now cooked out which made walking through it challenging and unenjoyable. Some mud and a few stream crossings later we were back at the truck in just under 5 hours. Another great June ski day in the books.