It’s not often that the steep, alpine gulley known as the Chimney on Maine’s Mt. Katahdin becomes skiable. Dropping over 1500′ from Katahdin’s Knife Edge Ridge, the remote Chimney is known more as a ice- and rock-strewn alpine climb (Class 4/ NE II) than it is as a ski line. Yet, this past week, a group of four Northeastern skiers and riders sensed that the Chimney might be willing to let them sample its goods – and they were right. Collectively, the group claims to have completed the first documented ski descent of the Chimney in over fifteen years, as well as the first-ever snowboard descent of the line. (We cannot confirm this, nor do we feel it is very important.)
The photo here features the upper two thirds of the Chimney (angling left to right at far left of skier Ian Forgays, in the orange jacket). At the time we captured this photo while skiing around Katahdin several years ago, an unprotected ski descent of the Chimney would have been suicide, due to significant ice and hard, crusty snow conditions on that aspect. Last week, however, as you can see in the video below, conditions were a bit more forgiving. After a short rappel into the top of the line from the Knife Edge, it looks as though the group descended the rest of the line without any additional rappels, while snow conditions improved gradually as they carefully descended.
Congrats to Forrest, Owen, Daniel and Jesse for a great descent!
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