Date: 4/27/2022 (most recent)
Partners: Alex Neal, Garrett Blatner, Mike Peterson, Braden Wahr, Larry Wahr, Joel Racicot
Trailhead: Meadow Creek
Elevation Gain: 4450ft
Duration: 6hrs 40min
This gallery contains images from multiple trips on Deming. The writeup below is from my first outing in April of 2021.
The day before embarking on this trip I had heard about numerous wind slab avalanches in the Gore, including one that took a skier for a 1000ft ride down the bottom half of Big Eyes. I had also heard that the Deming Drop had a similar entrance to Big Eyes with respect to wind loading. So needless to say I was concerned.
After gathering additional beta and conversations with our crew, we decided to go check things out for ourselves and simply ski something else if we didn't like what we found. None of us had skied the Deming Drop before.
We started our day at the Meadow Creek TH and power hiked in our ski boots for a little less than a mile to the meadow where we started skinning. We immediately noticed that there was at least one group skinning ahead of us... but didn't know what their objective might be.
We followed their tracks to the upper basin between Deming the Eccles where we met an older woman named Valerie who was doing her best to run in the snow back to the TH. She was moving at a speedy clip. We chatted with her for a bit and learned that she does this run daily. We were all impressed as we were roughly four miles and 2300ft from the cars. I think her daily run was to the Gore Range Trail sign and back. Joel appropriately named the sign 'Valerie's Outpost'.
From Valerie's Outpost we followed the skin tracks for the remaining 1500ft to Deming's summit. It was cold and windy on top so we quickly tagged the high point and made our way to the start of our line on the mountain's north side.
From the top our line looked wind loaded and very intimidating. However, presumably, the party in front of us had intentionally cut and trigged the slab. We could see them at the bottom of the couloir as they were starting to make their way out. The slab's crown was in the neighborhood of 20 inches. The snow remaining in the couloir looked soft and powdery. The day was shaping up nicely... no trail breaking, no wind slab to deal with and nothing but powdery snow left over.
We skied around to the skier's left side of the drop where we would break into two groups of two. Braden and his dad Larry went first then Joel and I followed. The entrance was relatively low stress and the skiing was fantastic... soft and powdery as expected. We leap frogged each other all the way to the bottom with nothing but smiles. We were all fired up, the weather was perfect and the scenery was breathtaking.
After a quick lunch we climbed back to the south side of the mountain.... about 900ft of steep skinning.
The skiing off the southeast side of Deming was pretty darn good as well and the 'chisel' back to the TH was relatively painless.
We cap off a stellar day beers and brats at Angry James.
What a day!
11.5mi - 4450ft - 6.5hrs
Alex.N on approach. Deming front and center
The incredible Tenmile Range
Deming from Valerie's Outpost
Skinning Deming with Eccles and Red behind. The approach is straight forward and relatively gentle
Garrett on Deming with Buffalo and Eccles behind
L2R from Deming: Silverthorne, East Thorn, Red and the Red Diamond Traverse
Summit Selfie: Alex^2, Garrett and Mike
Summit views to the north
Alex.H above the entrance
Watch out for wind slabs at the top of the line
Father and son discuss their strategy
Alex.H skis - Alex.N documents
Alex.H on the first pitch
Joel drops in. We presume a previous group intentionally triggered the 20 inch slab
Larry wrapping up an incredible line
A steep skin back to the Meadow Creek side of the mountain
We climbed a couple hundred extra to get a better ski descent. Deming behind