Turns All Year Trip Reports

2009 Backcountry Trip Reports => May 2009 Backcountry Trip Reports => Topic started by: Jim Oker on 05/18/09, 02:38 PM

Title: May 17, 2007, Snoqualmie Corn and Pollen on Corn
Post by: Jim Oker on 05/18/09, 02:38 PM
After seeing the still-mushy snowpack on the east side of the crest last weekend, followed by the late-in-week weekday reports here of mushopatamia at and near the crest, it was not hard for Yanna to convince me to do a bike ride Saturday. It was lovely, by the way.

However, I managed to convince her to get out for a lazy "tour" that the gimpy dog could join. I had driven over the pass for work on Friday, and noticed while passing Ski Acres (aka "Summit Central") that whereas everything up higher at the pass was looking bright white (i.e. relatively new snow), these lower ski slopes were looking a bit more grey, hopefully indicating they'd actually begun to corn up. So after sleeping in from a multi-party Saturday night, and after reading the Sunday Times out on the back deck with a long cup of coffee, we finally left home after noon, and pulled into the Silver Fir lot well after 1PM. I figured Alpental might still be too high, and Silver Fir has some nice if short shots near the top, and you can skin up through some spectacular woods, so you can get a semblance of a "backcountry" feeling during at least parts of the climbs.

We reached top at maybe 2:30, and spent a while eating and napping in the sun by the lift shack. We took a run on the intermediate trail that is on the Hyak side of the Silver Firt, and found that it was good. Ego corn from the top - no qualifiers needed. Until we hit the flats below, where we felt the trademark drag that can only be explained by pollen. So we stopped and skinned up for another lap, and indeed, our bases were partly covered in suprisingly thick pollen for how short a run we'd just taken.

Another fun climb through mostly deep woods with wonderfully cool air rushing down, and we tried a run on the other side of the lift - a slightly steeper pitch and again it was good. Until we hit the flats below. At this point, we debated another run, but our biking from the day before and the late hour had us feeling lazy, and we skated and glided back to the car. The pollen was assertive enough that by the last 10 yards, I could no longer get any glide, even when trying to skate.

The dog thoroughly enjoyed the outing and slept all the way home, and we got in just enough activity to get a nice dose of what our pal calls "the mountain buzz." Not bad for leaving home after noon.

So the two interesting bits of news from this lazy outing: there is nice consolidation on the lower slopes in the Snoqualmie area (we were just starting to get into a skiff of newer snow at top of the lift, and not enough there to spoil ego turns), and the pollen plague has begun, at least lower down, and was bad down there. My memory is that the pollen layer eventually becomes less of an issue - I'm guessing it "ages" a bit and becomes less sticky. Right now, it seems at its resinous peak.

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