With a great crew together, after the regular morning ritual of tossing ideas around, weather discussions, and a quick visit to the RPC, we headed up Griz shoulder bound for some adventuring on the North side of Sifton.  Upon reaching the little Sifton/Hermit col, we hung a left for a quick run off little Sifton.  None of us had been up to the high point of this classic tour yet this season, and after trying to put a number on the visits Greg has paid to this humble nub positioned between the “big” Sifton and Grizzly peak, we skied a few hundred feet down a line familiar to us all.  Good thing, because the visibility was shit.

Carrying on thru the col between the Sifton’s,  we got about  1000′ of good skiing  in better light.  After a 500’skin we were faced with a choice: explore some of the terrain below us that eventually leads to Ursus creek, or push for the summit of Sifton despite the cloak of cloud it appeared shrouded in… 

Based on the fact Chris had never been on Sifton’s summit combined with the eternal optimist assuring us Sifton’s head was above the cloud layer,we chose up.

Dave tackling a rock step, Chris coming up behind.

The eternal optimist looking for the summit...

Crossing the NW glacier and scrambling up the NW ridge was quite surreal in the low light, almost dream-like.  With our descent still uncertain as we gathered  for the summit high fives, a quick look at the watch made our call:  the sweet SW ramp that leads down to the Hermit Permit area.  Most direct line back to the highway it is!  We  worked our way down thru the salt-and-pepper rocks at the top, and descended into the whiteout…

Chris gettin' into it.

Chris gettin' down it...sure hope this is the right line!

It was in better snow conditions than my previous time down (with Miki and Mark, 2008), but the light never really got any better than bad.  Sometimes I am amazed at what we get up and down in marginal light.  I guess it pays to be optimistic!

Both snow quality and visibility improved as we dodged tracks and used the “hard right, hard right” tactic to keep us in the deepest, best fall line skiing the Hermit has to offer.  Sweet day!