Patagonia Backcountry Report: Making Lemonade Outta Lemons… Then My Backpack Fell 1,000′ Down a Chute

Miles Clark | | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Report from August 5 & 6, 2023

OK, so it rained to the top around here last week then froze hard.

It’s been tough to find worthwhile skiing and riding.

We know, because we’ve been out there trying to make it work and occasionally getting beat down by firm conditions.

Thursday, we finally found some soft snow.

It wasn’t magical, but it was skiable and we did have a great time.

The truth is that we were making lemonade outta lemons on Thursday.

Tower. image: snowbrains

Yesteray I went for a bigger, deeper line and while I was taking a break on top, a monstrous gust of wind blew my backpack down the chute. The real clincher was that the pack was open.

Everything came flying out…

I screamed, laughed, and skied down the chute looking for gear.

Towers. image: snowbrains

Shovel blade, helmet bag with hat and sunnies, one skin, backpack, drone in case, medical kit, water bottle.


I was still missing one skin, my ice axe, and my repair kit.

I started hiking up and just for fun took a look into a hole that had a waterfall rushing into it.

Tronador. image: snowbrains

My repair kit… Lucky find.

I really needed that other skin because it’s nearly impossible to find gear down here in Argentina.

After a 1,000-vertical-foot climb I found my other skin tucked into a crack in the snow against a large rock.

Rest after hiking back up the chute. image: snowbrains


I still can’t believe I found it in that wayward hole…

Just above the skin was my ice axe in plain sight.

Sawtooth. image: snowbrains

I somehow found everything.

Thank goodness.

The only casualties were the rotor blades of the drone that we should be able to replace in a couple of weeks.

The mountain taught me a powerful yet thankfully lower consequence lesson today: be ready for anything out here.

Especially in Patagonia.


Sawtooth shadow. image: snowbrains
Clouds. image: snowbrains
Sawtooth. image: snowbrains
Repair kit hole. image: snowbrains
My repair kit in there. image: snowbrains

Related Articles

One thought on “Patagonia Backcountry Report: Making Lemonade Outta Lemons… Then My Backpack Fell 1,000′ Down a Chute

  1. Was that snowboarder from Tuckerman in the waterfall hole?

    I know Chilé better than Argentina, but getting touring gear is difficult there as well. I’d been there a month when my wife joined me, she needed a beacon because our oldest took hers with him to college. Couldn’t find one anywhere but a kind patroller out of Chillan allowed us to use his home address to have one expressed to us.

Got an opinion? Let us know...