A seldom done, slightly enjoyable ski down a popular alpine ice route.


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Shoestring Gully is an often climbed, rarely skied, alpine ice route.

Boulders at the bottom, ice in the middle, and wind exposure at the top, mean ideal ski conditions are few and far between.

In seasons with deep snow, few warm ups, and minimal wind scouring, this line is a neat exercise in adventure skiing.

Park at the small plowed lot on 302 for the Webster Cliff Trail, and cross the river at a bridge.

Follow the trail as best you can, staying below a large talus field, until you see a faint gully.

Begin up the gully, clambering over generally unfavorable terrain, until the gully becomes more defined above.

A small ice bulge often guards the bottom.

Climb a few short pitches of WI2, gaining a long snow gully at the top.

The progressively steepening, ever narrowing gully, eventually peters out into trees.

Begin the ski with steep turns, which give you just barely enough room for turns.

Just as things start to widen, you begin the rappelling portion of your day.

This can be anywhere from 1 - 3 short rappels depending on the season, and the ice is often hard to reach from above.

Removing skis is likely necessary, so having premade rap stations, and crampons at the top of your backpack is advisable.

A 60m rope is more than enough, a 40m could likely be just fine.

The lower gully is the money pitch, with steep, consistent turns down the fall line.

Eventually, the gully blends back into oblivion, and it will take great care not to mess up your skis on the rocky creek bed descent back to the Saco River Trail.