Cody Townsend Kicks Off Year Three of “The Fifty” With a Sufferfest

After a long hiatus, onX Backcountry Ambassador Cody Townsend returns this fall with a six-episode run of his “The Fifty” project in which he’s attempting to ski all 50 lines in the book, “50 Classic Ski Descents of North America.” For more information about the project, check it out here.

The Mountain

In this episode, Townsend links up with fellow onX Backcountry Ambassador Nick Russell to ski Mt. Stimson. This peak is deep in Montana’s Glacier National Park and is its second-highest summit. At the trailhead, Townsend and Russell began the 8-mile bushwhack approach to their basecamp. The approach was filled with every obstacle imaginable: downed trees, countless creek crossings, and avalanche terrain, to name a few. Just getting to basecamp took an entire day and exhausted these professional mountain athletes. 

From basecamp, the crew, including filmmaker Bjarne Salen, climbed the south-facing slope of Stimson equipped with crampons, ice axes, and other technical equipment. Once they reached the ridgeline, they traversed the exposed, narrow slope to access the ski descent. The southwest face of Stimson drew the authors of the book “50 Classic Ski Descents of North America” Penn Newhard, Art Burrows and onX Backcountry Ambassador Chris Davenport to include it.

To continue the technicality, the ski descent begins with a 20-foot rappel from the ridge. Due to the southwest-facing aspect, the slope is prone to sun and wind-affected slides with sections of ice, powder, and avalanche debris littered throughout. The hazards don’t stop there. The slog that hindered a quick ascent also complicates the descent. As they near the end of their sufferfest, Cody laments, “I’m going to have PTSD from this.” 

Not the pow-slashing, heli-skiing, crack-sending type of skiing he’s known for, but boy is it entertaining. In full, if you’re replicating this trip, it should be a three-day adventure; one approach day, one day to summit, and another full day to descend from basecamp to the car.

‘This Map Has Been a Lifesaver’ – Cody Townsend

In a place as seldom traveled as the skin track to the peak of Mt. Stimson, Townsend relied heavily on onX Backcountry. With a saved Offline Map, he was able to find his way back to the van on the third day of this expedition. Exasperated, exhausted, and ready for some real food, he navigated in the pitch black. After 3,500 feet of elevation change, he was ready to take the boots off and crush some takeout. 

Stay tuned to our Fifty Hub for all things Cody Townsend and follow along with him in year three as we add all of the episodes to our page.

Find Your Own PAin Cave
See Cody’s Lines from year-three as they debut.

Mitch Breton

Mitch Breton was raised on the shores of Maine's coastline chasing fresh snow, trout, grouse, and the best darn mosquito repellent money can buy. Covering topics from fly fishing, car camping, and beyond, he thrives on a story well-told.