I skied Right Gully on Saturday. If you're willing, and have the proper training, to deal with the elevated avalanche hazard that comes with winter conditions (which also means WAITING AND WAITING for the proper day to go), you can avoid many of the spring crowds and have a slightly more peaceful experience. In spring there is less avalanche risk but a different set of hazards from crevasses and falling ice blocks the size of a Microbus. A true ski mountaineering experience either way, and highly recommended!
If you call yourself a "serious skier," then you've probably got what it takes. Right Gully, although it has a sustained steepness above obstacles greater than anything I've seen in ski resorts, is not extreme terrain, it can be skied safely by someone with "advanced" skills as long as the snow conditions are not dangerously icy. Knowing how to kick turn will save your ass. Knowing how to jump turn will let you get down in better, bolder "style" but is not 100% necessary. But it's definitely part of the backcountry skillset.
The lines up the hill? Yes, they are bad, let's face it nobody wants to take the extra time to go one-at-a-time in avalache terrain. In winter there will still be conga lines, but there will be few enough people in the bowl that you can afford to wait for the line to get out of your way.
Snow conditions have filled in nicely in the bowl from all this recent snowfall, and the ice step is finally gone from the Lip route. From the entrance to Right Gully, I watched some good skiers make some excellent, sine-wave powder turns straight down the lip. The powder up there was bottomless - 2 feet deep at minimum - and demands good technique. The wind tends to pack it into stiff, deep slabs.
Edited by pedestrian (03/04/05 01:40 AM)