Photos from Day 4 of Skiing in Gulmarg - Back Back Bowl
To see all the photos from day 4 of skiing in Gulmarg, go here: http://www.bernardsphotos.com/skiing/2012/gulmarg/feb1
This day’s route was pretty similar to the route on day 2: a skin from the top of Phase 2 to the top of Mt. Apharwat and then a descent down the backside to the army road. The two differences were that Eric wasn’t able to ski that day because he was ill, and rather than skiing the first backside bowl we did a skinning traverse around Shark Fin to get to the next bowl over. Here’s the overall map of the route:
This first photo shows the bowl we skied on Day 2 and, in fact, still shows our tracks. To recap, the snow in that bowl has been sitting there for about two weeks and four of the tracks in that photo are ours from two days before. Not exactly chair 2 at Alpental after a storm, eh? (Map 1)
This next photo, which spans a 220º field of view, kind of puts the bowl above in context (Map 1).
In the above photo, the top of Phase two is hidden by the prominence in the center of the photo. The Gulmarg ridge extends from both sides of the prominence. To the left you can see pretty much the whole north half of the ridge extending toward the Himalayas in the distance on the right side of the frame. To the right you the can see the south half trailing off into the clouds just to the right of the prominence.
After skinning the traverse around Shark Fin we found ourselves here: (Map 2)
It's business time! The photo above is the view of the Himalayas to the south of Gulmarg. It’s the first shot in a panorama that you can find in the Day 4 gallery. Though the slopes down from that point look delightful, they are, in fact, a thin and crusty layer over sharp and jagged rocks and we have no intention of skiing them. The real money is the untracked north-facing bowl directly to the right of this shot. In other words, this one: (Map 2)
Check out the Day 4 gallery for an excerpted view of the skier in the above photo.
After skiing that pitch we worked our way out of that bowl through a long stretch of low-angle slope broken up by rolling terrain. This photo is from, well, if not exactly the bottom of the drainage then at least the point where it made sense to put the skins back on and work our way out to (sort of) the top of the north end of the Gulmarg ridge. (Map 3)
Once we skinned up high enough we were able to look back and see where we came from: (Map 4)
The summit of Mt. Apharwat is the round, snowy, and slightly rock-speckled peak on the left side of the frame. The next peak to the right, with all the exposed rock faces is Shark Fin. The bowl that we skied on Day 2 lies between Mt. Apharwat and Shark Fin and the bowl to the right, between Shark Fin and the large snowy pyramid in the center of the photo, is the one we skied on Day 4. The stopping point in the previous photo is way down in that valley below.
At this point, in the day it was getting a little late in the afternoon and weather had started to move in. This made speed a bit more of a priority than photos, so this was my last shot. That’s a shame too because we hit a pitch of excellent powder (below Map 5) in the trees at the end of the ridge and down to the army road below. I consider that my best run of the whole trip.
As before on Day 2, we walked the road for about the first half of the route from map point 6 to the gate of the army base at map point 7, and we skied on the road for the second half. Once we passed through the gate, there wan't much more to do than stand around and wait for the taxi to come and pick us up. (Map 7)
You can see the end of the rigde that we skied off of in the background of the above photo. The specific pitch, however, is actually a fair bit around the corner and out of view behind what we can see here.
Well, we were glad to have it, but on an absolute scale the beer really wasn't very good. Kingfisher Premuim and Kingfisher Blue were the best, but we mostly had Kingfisher Strong (http://kingfisherworld.com/cheers.aspx), Tuborg Green, and a brand called Falcon. I tried to find information about Falcon online, but I only got hits for a Carlsberg brand of the same name. That's 2.8% beer whereas the stuff were wer drinking was, like the Kingfisher Strong, basically a malt liquor...with all the grace and delicacy of flavor that implies.
But, most importantly, how was the beer?
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KeywordsIndia Gulmarg Kashmir mountains powder skiing paper trees Drang heli helicopter
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