Patagonia Backcountry Report: Dropping The “Ridgewalker” Pillows & Hucking “The Grifter” Cliff in Deep Powder Snow

Miles Clark | BackcountryBackcountry | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Report from September 11, 2023

On Monday, we sauntered out into the backcountry for the afternoon.

It was Stormin’ Norman all morning then the clouds started to break up as per forecast.

The first thing we did when we got up high was dig a pit in a familiar zone.

The results were a bit touchy.

We know this zone well and we know how to manage it so we pushed it a bit.

I did some ski cuts up high and was confident we’d be OK on the main slope but I knew and announced to Greggy that upon landing the air I was planning on hitting, the impact was likely gonna pull out a small avy.

It did.

About 20cms deep, 50′ wide, and it ran for about 40′ (D0.5-D1).

When Greggy came down he cut off a small piece of hangfire that attached to the small avy I’d triggered.

Miles track on upper run #2. image: snowbrains

He skied away from it no problem, then caught a tip in deep snow or something and tomahawked in the run out.

Somehow in the process he lost a pole.

We both searched for it for 20 mins to no avail…

Small avalanche triggered when Miles landed “The Grifter”. image: snowbrains

At this point, Greggy had to run home for a call and I continued on.

Rewinding to actually skiing the line:

  • It was just a blind huck off a rock finger, but it got my heart pounding
  • I hooted my head off after landing the air (& popping off a small, D.5, avalanche on impact) out of sheer elation
  • I’d never hit this air before (or maybe I hit this way back in 2011…)
  • I named this line, “The Grifter” because I’d grifted it off a local who clubbed this thing way bigger than I did about 1 week back
  • This zone is almost as filled in as I’ve ever seen it right now
Greggy doing snowpit tests. image: snowbrains

From there, I decided to go ski a run I call the “Ridgewalker” pillows.

I hadn’t skied this line since 2011…

The legendary James Heim showed me this Bad Larry (latin: Larrius Malus).

Snowy. image: snowbrains

This run is long and drawn out and you have to be patient (we chopped out the multitudinous long linking turns but put a few of them in slide #2 for yas) but once it gets rolling you feel committed.

I headed up to “Ridgewalker” having not seen it in over 10-years and just went straight for its teeth hoping it would all line up and be filled in enough to manage.

Thank Zeus it was all good and went about as well as I coulda hoped for considering I haven’t scoped this thing in over a decade!

To be clear: this season has been epic…

Thanks, Patagonia


Miles and snowpit tests. image: snowbrains
Miles hucking “The Grifter”. image: snowbrains
Art. image: snowbrains
“Ridgewalker.” image: snowbrains
All of the things. image: snowbrains
Greggy one pole. image: snowbrains
Terrain. image: snowbrains
Towers. image: snowbrains
Greggy identifying layers. image: snowbrains
Miles in the wide-open. image: snowbrains

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