Photos from Day 2 of Skiing in Gulmarg - Back Bowl
To see all the photos from day 2 of skiing in Gulmarg, go here: http://www.bernardsphotos.com/skiing/2012/gulmarg/jan30
We only had a one run on this day, but it was a long one. The day started with a gondola ride to the top of phase 2 and then from there we skinned to darn near the summit of Mt. Apharwat (13,700 ft), which brought us to the edge of a high alpine bowl behind the broad ridge you see from Gulmarg:
Even though it hadn't snowed in about two weeks, the altitude was high enough and winds had been low enough that the snow was very well preserved on the north aspects. That made the skiing a lot like this:
This bowl lies at the head of a drainage that basically runs parallel to the entire Gulmarg ridge, which made for a very long ski in some pretty low-angle terrain. It was truly sublime. Here's a photo from probably three quarters of the way along this drainage and somewhat before the point where we would have to put the skins back on to get out of the drainage and onto a bit of a shelf that led to the end of the ridge:
We started in teh dark bowl on the upper left edge of the photo above and skied out that entire valley. You can just barely make out our track on the left side of the photo.
Finally, once we gained the shelf we were able to make it to the end of the rigde where we found a beautiful untracked north-facing pitch of soft, deep snow. Here we are standing atop this pitch looking out across the Kashmir valley to Nanga Parbat (I really can't stress how completely massively huge that mountain is. The photo really doesn't do it justice because we're probably at around 12,500 ft in this photo and that thing 85 miles to the north of us in Pakistan and looks every bit of its 26,600 ft).
And then finally here's the upper part of the pitch that was the cherry on top of our day:
From here it was about another 1500 ft to the valley floor where we made it to a road. A 3K walk along the road to the point where we could ski another 3K on the road brought us to the inside(!) of a gate that the Indian army has in place to control access to the road. After strolling through the gate we called a taxi to take us back to Hotel Highlands Park. Here's the path for the day:
Here are the locations where the above photos were taken (point 1 is at the south edge of the photo a the top of Phase 2) :
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