I know, I know,  people want to see some High Sierra skiing, I assure you it will come soon. Just need to get all the pictures together for solid trip reports. This trip was a few years ago when Kyle Steger and I took a few weeks and skied some great lines.  Skied the Crazy Couloir, Crazy Peak MT, North Face of Gannet Peak, WY, and the Whitetail Couloir. I think the Whitetail Couloir is the most asthetic line in Montana. It is prob 50-55 deg up top, then mellows to 45 deg  for 2000 vert. Ever since I saw the first pics of it in Turiano’s Select Peaks book, I knew I wanted to ski it. 

In all it's glory

           We started the trips into the mountains like we always seem to do, with a shot and a beer at the local pub. This one was in Red Lodge MT, and suprisingly there was a cute girl tending bar, even though it was off season mid april. We started up the rock creek rd not knowing if we could make it to the trailhead, in Kyle’s vintage 1977 Beamer. We made it to a bunch of summer homes about 2 miles from the trailhead.

Kyle and his Beamer

          Since no one seemed to be occuping these homes, we decided to post up for the night underneath a nice covered back deck. Great bivy site.

Luxery bivy poach

We started up the road the next morning, to the trailhead, and eventually to a camp at the base of the couloir. It was alot of skis on skis off skinning for the first 4 miles or so, and it even started to dump for a while.

Kyle enters the trees in a short lived snow storm

Kyle on the approach

There it is

Kyle in front of an impressive north wall

Nice view of our goal

We arrived at camp a liitle later than expected, probably do to additional milage from the trailhead, and the constant skis on and off. We cooked and went to bed.

Camp at the base of the Whitetail

We started up the couloir at a descent hour, and it proved a formidable opponent. I remember Kyle being a little stronger than me on the way up, the booting was really variable, and hard to develop a hiking rythem.

Kyle skinning up the lower portion

Kyle the workhorse

After a few hours of trading back and forth on bootpacking we were at the top.

Kyle on the steep upper section

Yes it gets steeper

We arrived at the top, both of us pretty exhausted from the booter, and decided not to scramble to the summit. The skiing started where we were any way.

Kyle and I on top of the Whitetail Couloir

We choppped the cornice away a little bit, and Kyle dropped in first.

Kyle commits to all 50 deg

Kyle gets through the narrow steep upper section

Kyle gets into some pow

The skiing was pretty good, but we were pretty tired, just a few turns at a time. We still had a 9 mile out to go.

More good snow

Kyle reaps the reward

Our turns in the middle section

We arrived back at camp, packed up, and began our long out back to the cute bartender in Red Lodge. This was a great trip, we succeded on bagging this great line, and set our sites on the next adventure. Kyle, lets get after it again.


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  1. michael nugent says:

    mike calla is the best ski/mountaineer there is. i know, ive spent four years trying to keep up with him in mountain ranges vast and numerous. witnessing this web-site is one of the most uplifting experiences in my life. to know that a true mountain man/pioneer/big mountain rider is here to explain this sport to us via the internet is what im all about. michael calla will educate you, fascinate you and flat out blow your mind with his skiing. sit back, relax and enjoy ythe ride. i know i am!!!!!!!! A.F.A. forever p.s. where’s a pic of the cute bartender in red lodge?

  2. Nick Baldwin says:

    Wow Calla, holy mackerel! This is beautiful!! What a line! And Mount Wood looks amazing too. If you don’t mind stopping to snap pics halfway down 50 degree couloirs I sure don’t mind lookin them! For me, witnessing this website was also very uplifting, maybe, not quite the most uplifting experience of my life, but I did find it to be quite uplifting. I also hope that the audience widens so that you may be able explain this sport to more people via the internet! Maybe you could start a non-profit and Nuge, you can be responsible for educational outreach!

    But in all seriousness, I too thank you for sharing your trips, it really is indeed uplifting to see and I look forward to your future posts! By the way, I had an amazing day today skiing windbuffed chutes hidden by the clouds in a very unlikely place in Valdezcaray, Spain. First time on skis in 4 years!!! Laughing at the bottom, singing on the chair back up, ahh the hard life of a skier, hehe.

  3. admin says:

    Good to see your back in the saddle again, you must have had some jaws drop when you ripped it. Hope all is well, and hope to hear you hittin the sploes more, thats uplifting for me.

  4. CFOX says:

    That picture with your tracks on the Whitetail is amazing!

    Its great to see someone doing what they love for the pure joy of doing it. I want to be a member of you church.

  5. michael nugent says:

    baldy: mama, just killed a man. put a gun against his head, pull the trigger now he’s dead.

  6. Carlo says:

    Hi Mike, I work in Manhattan and I have the pleasure to know your father, (Joe) he always talks about you, he tells me how crazy your are with climbing mountains and skiing downhill. Now that I’ve seen the pictures, your father is absolutely right about you. I give you a lot of credit. By the way, I love your photos of the spectacular views and the blue skies and the beautiful sun rises, I love mountains and snow but I can’t ski and I’m afraid of heights. I wish you the best, if you come to New York I’ll to shake your hand. Ciao, Carlo PS I got a nickname for you in italian…L’uomo che vola sulla neve…

  7. Danny says:

    Hey Mikey its cousin Danny, just saw your pops at uncle bruno’s house and he told me about the site…awesome pics man…your a sick nut lol…. give love to your sis and mom for me when u speak 2 them……..

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