Dean takes a big one

Best Line
Dean Cummings
The Steep Life
Nick Bowie

JP Auclair's lines through Trail, Rossland and Nelson, B.C., were undoubtedly the most creative of the year, while Eric Hjorleifson's full spine descent of Mount Meager may have been the gnarliest. Yet in 2012, it was a 45 year old who claimed the Best Line award.

After 20 years of scouting and failed attempts, everything came together for Cummings' first descent of Meteorite Mountain's Dragon's Back, the longest of the dramatic spines on the mountain off Thompson Pass. At times white roomed, Cummings navigated the 50- to 60-degree spine with aplomb, even with 3,000 feet of exposure to his right and a 300-foot cliff to his left. The line is documented in Cummings' film The Steep Life.

"I was right at the cliff at the rock section and had to make this super quick double turn," said Cummings. "Normally I would use mountain techniques but I wanted to try to stay fluid. That was the most rewarding part… Once I did it, it put me on the spine, it put me on the Dragon's Back and it felt epic, like alright, I'm home, like finally home after a crazy month-long trip."