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2013 Backcountry Trip Reports => February 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports => Topic started by: John Morrow on 02/26/13, 05:35 PM



Title: Feb 26, 2013 Mt Catherine, again
Post by: John Morrow on 02/26/13, 05:35 PM
Well, thanks to those folks who extended offers to ski today.  I was in enough of a funk (somewhat woman induced in a way) that I got out of the house at the crack of noon.  Next time I'll tag along, thanks!

First off, whoever laid in the skin track to Nordic Pass from near where the radio tower cat track leaves the Nordic trails:  BRAVO to you Artiste!  I never put my skins back on during my return.  That is a first.  Yeah a bit of herringbone and side stepping but otherwise very efficient.  I never seem to create it right when we break the trail.  I departed that great skin track below the final Nordic Pass climb where I could traverse, level, to the base of the North Slope of Catherine.  I attempted to conserve as much descent snow by snaking a skin track up through the denser trees to the east edge of the slope and on to the summit.  If anybody wants, it is there for the taking.  Not having to break trail all the way from Grand Junction was much appreciated.
What you really need to know:
The best snow I felt all day was the 9" of new in the shade at the Silver Fir Parking Lot at 4:00PM.  I am not kidding you.

The sun only came out very briefly around 2:30PM and was slightly filtered with thin clouds so most the trees on south and west aspects kept much of their snow.  There are tree bombs in the woods but otherwise it is soft under the canopy.  I don't think a thin crust will form on those aspects but it might have been possible.

The reason the parking lot had the best snow: WIND.  To my surprise, the forest is not dense enough on the North Slope of Catherine to prevent the strong west winds of the Snoqualmie valley from ripping through Windy Pass and creating much wind packed firm pockets between sheltered powder troughs.  Find the shelter, find the goods--and it is really good.  The wind firmed powder was still turnable, just not no-fault sheer joy like the weekend.  It did, however, make for less laborsome trail breaking. 
From Grand Junction I opted for the lower Nordic Pass Trail along Hyak Lake for the return since I am bored of the Outback run at Central.  Go far right from the start to avoid getting constantly sucked back in to Hyak Creek.  I should know better--at least it was all downhill.  Just not the nice final turns I was hoping for.

Full set of Pics:  Great colors on the mountains!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/23557848@N03/sets/72157632865597173/


Title: Re: Feb 26, 2013 Mt Catherine, again
Post by: glenn_b on 02/26/13, 10:56 PM
Nice pics, John.  You enjoyed our track from Grand Junction to near the 1st switchback in the Radio Mtn cat track.  We skied that to the radio towers(inactive?) and their nice views.  We've got a Tuesday thing going until I undergo an ankle replacement(!) procedure in April.  Feel invited if you don't mind a couple of dogs.


Title: Re: Feb 26, 2013 Mt Catherine, again
Post by: Animal on 02/26/13, 11:01 PM
Nice photo looking North!  Looks like fun, much better han the office!


Title: Re: Feb 26, 2013 Mt Catherine, again
Post by: John Morrow on 02/27/13, 07:01 PM
Quote from: glenn_b on 02/26/13, 10:56 PM
Nice pics, John.  You enjoyed our track from Grand Junction to near the 1st switchback in the Radio Mtn cat track.  We skied that to the radio towers(inactive?) and their nice views.  We've got a Tuesday thing going until I undergo an ankle replacement(!) procedure in April.  Feel invited if you don't mind a couple of dogs.


Thanks for the track, Glenn.  Sorry to hear the ankle is finally going to need a big procedure.  Hopefully it will be stronger than you even remember it once being.  When I have a Tues free I'll seek you out.  Should I call the office on a Monday prior?
John


Quote from: Animal on 02/26/13, 11:01 PM
Nice photo looking North!  Looks like fun, much better han the office!


Hey, Kevin...definitely better than the office!


Title: Re: Feb 26, 2013 Mt Catherine, again
Post by: freeskier on 02/27/13, 11:13 PM
Hi John. We followed Glenn's track from GJ out to that first switchback at Radio Mt, (much appreciated btw...) then struck off through the forest for Nordic Pass trying to contour the most efficient track possible. If you ended up in ours, I'm glad if it served you well. I'm just sorry to not have met you as I've heard good things. As you mentioned, the wind-packed density of the snow made for good trail-breaking and we ascended the West Ridge with relative ease. My compadres were first-timers on Catherine, and we had spent the first part of the morning skiing Alpental so we didn't have the time to push on to the summit. Instead we jumped into a run I like to call "The Glory Chute" down to the base of the middle clearing then traversed back to our track for the exit. I think we may have come across Glenn and his partner just prior to GJ. The snow was unlike anything that I can remember skiing recently. Untracked, yet it had a dense creaminess to it. Obviously it had been wind-compacted as you said, but it was very pleasant and controllable......just no face-shots! I'm starting to understand why Eskimos have over 200 words for the word "snow". All in all a really nice day!
Hope to meet up with you some other time. And really nice pics btw. The visibility out there was fantastic.


Title: Re: Feb 26, 2013 Mt Catherine, again
Post by: ski2fly on 03/01/13, 06:31 PM
Great pics. Thanks for posting.


Title: Re: Feb 26, 2013 Mt Catherine, again
Post by: John Morrow on 03/02/13, 10:05 AM
Quote from: freeskier on 02/27/13, 11:13 PM
Hi John. We followed Glenn's track from GJ out to that first switchback at Radio Mt, (much appreciated btw...) then struck off through the forest for Nordic Pass trying to contour the most efficient track possible. If you ended up in ours, I'm glad if it served you well. I'm just sorry to not have met you as I've heard good things. As you mentioned, the wind-packed density of the snow made for good trail-breaking and we ascended the West Ridge with relative ease. My compadres were first-timers on Catherine, and we had spent the first part of the morning skiing Alpental so we didn't have the time to push on to the summit. Instead we jumped into a run I like to call "The Glory Chute" down to the base of the middle clearing then traversed back to our track for the exit. I think we may have come across Glenn and his partner just prior to GJ. The snow was unlike anything that I can remember skiing recently. Untracked, yet it had a dense creaminess to it. Obviously it had been wind-compacted as you said, but it was very pleasant and controllable......just no face-shots! I'm starting to understand why Eskimos have over 200 words for the word "snow". All in all a really nice day!
Hope to meet up with you some other time. And really nice pics btw. The visibility out there was fantastic.

That was as good a track I have ever used to get there!  Funny, I thought I  heard voices near the west ridge.  I need to find this "Glory Chute" you speak of.  Thanks for the info.  Too bad I missed you guys.  Thanks, too, for the good words. 
John


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