As you drop off of the summit, you are on a large convex slope that is about 38°. This face is almost due East, so it tends to get sun pretty early. In the late spring, this slope can easily be corn by 9:30am at the top, so plan to be up there early. There are very few hazards on the top section, as there are no rocks or trees that are really poking through.
Depending on the size of the group, and your time frame, a lot of people will go back up and do multiple laps on the East Face from above the headwall, as this is where the most open terrain is. Once you get to the headwall, you need to keep a vigilant eye for the convexities and the sliding snow. These slopes measure at close to 45° and have been getting sun from the very first light. The tend to slide regularly, but as the snow gets heavier, they could probably do some damage. There are a few descent options to pick, that all wrap around the lake and back to the main gully.
There used to be an old mining cabin, that you can still see the remanants of just above the upper lake.
After the lakes, if you are done for the day, you should head to the right, so you can avoid the willows and connect back up with teh Crystal Lakes Road. You can take the road all the way back down to the trailhead if there is snow.[more]
This is one of the premier backcountry ski zones on the San Francisco Peaks. These ski lines are North East facing so they hold snow the longest and offer great long runs. The far right line Crossfire was the sight of the largest avalanche slide I have seen. During a record snow season and constant southwest winds crossfire slid breaking trees 30in diameter. The runs are about 1500 vertical feet and average a high 30 degree angle with crossfire being the most classic. A day spent here late winter/early spring can be long because of road closures but is also very rewarding.
How to Get There
When Forest Road (FR) 418 is closed:
You must take the Snowbowl area if the resort is open, either wait for lifts to open or hike up the ski area. Once at the top of the ski area work towards the saddle between Agassiz and Humphreys. From the saddle summit Humphreys Peak, ski the north ridge to which ski like and drop to the right.
If Forest Road 418 is open:
From Flagstaff go north on US Highway 180 for about 18 miles. Make a right on Forest Rd. 151 then continue 1.5 miles and turn left on FR418. Drive 3 miles to the signed turnoff for Aubineau Trail. Turn right and go to the trailhead.
You can also reach the trail via US Highway 89 north of Flagstaff by making a turn left across from Sunset Crater National Monument, head to a “T” and turn right. You will curve left then make a right turn on FR418. Then it is about 8 miles to the trailhead where you will turn left into.
From the trailhead hike the Aubineau Trail up through avalanche debris to a the main bowl. Hike the safest way up to the top of the lines you see in front of you, in the spring heading up the paths themselves is easy and can be safe.