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Author Topic: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck  (Read 5513 times)
Lisa
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June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« on: 07/02/08, 01:21 PM »

I really had hopes of skiing Three Fingers but after a call to the F.S. I was told that road 41 was impassable due to snow after 4 miles and the Squire Creek road was only drivable to Frog Lake.
I met Rob, (Randy Beaver) at my work over a week ago when he had called to rent some gear for the missing snowboarders search. 
Since we were out of rentals I told him I would bring my crampons and whippet into work the next day.  We met again last week to plan a ski trip. 
We decided to head to Mt. Pilchuck and have a look at Three Fingers.  We found the road snow free a couple hundred yards from the trailhead and passed a number of hikers on their way up and watched others glissading down.  A group of 5 sliding down in front of us without axes rather thrills of joy as they gained speed on the steep slope. 
When the last in the party took off we watched in horror as she went flying over a section of rock, I could see the fear in her eyes as she flew over just missing the rock protrusion tumbling out of control toward her friends.  Victor and I shook our heads in disbelief.  Luckily she was fine, only shaken up from the ‘what ifs’.

The snow was firmer than we anticipated with the hot temperatures. 
I chose to boot up the slope while Victor donned ski crampons and took off while I waited for Rob who was struggling with his skins.
I hydrated and took in the views with not a single cloud as far as I could see.  Against a brilliant blue sky, peaks of white rose from the lush landscape in every direction.
Nearing the lookout it really became hot with not a hint of wind to grace us.  As I neared the summit rocks I found a perfect one to lay on attempting to cool off while I waited for Rob since he had to pack up his snowboard before the traverse.

After lunch Victor and I dropped into Gunsight about 15 feet to assess the snow conditions which were firm corn, while Rob put together his split board.  Discovering he was missing a bolt on his binding Rob relayed his concerns and decided he would walk down as someone had just done maybe an hour before us.  I untied Victors ice axe from his pack for Robs use and Victor made turns down to some small shrubs peaking through the melting snowpack.  Rob began his descent with the axe in one hand and his snowboard horizontal on his pack. 
No sooner while we were waiting, Rob lost his footing and began sliding.  Quickly he gained speed, at first I thought it was intentional glissading but quickly saw he was out of control and could not arrest with the axe because of the positioning of his snowboard which would throw him on his back every time he attempted to arrest. 
As he slid by me gaining speed I felt helpless yelling, “use the axe” while Victor was yelling the same from a short distance below me. 
There was a section of meager shrubs that lay vertical beside Robs slide path.  He slid past the first and second shrub as he reached unsuccessfully in hopes to arrest his fall.
He then passed the third and fourth shrub while many things crossed my mind; but with a stroke of luck as he grabbed the last shrub he was able to drive the axe in the snow and arrest his fall.  Damn!  That was too close!  Victor quickly skied over to him as I skied down to them both.
Although shaken up and a little bloody on one leg from rock scratches, he was ok and damn lucky!  We told him to catch his breath and take a break.  While adrenaline had us all in its grip we regained our composure and began the descent.  Realizing Rob was now completely gripped, we talked him through the ugly fear we all have after such an ordeal and stayed with him as he began descending again this time hand over feet facing the slope. 

Once we reached the notch we took a long break and found a solution to Robs snowboard dilemma with a spare zip tie.
Now relaxed we enjoyed the rolling terrain and the final descent to the car where we shared some cold beers and lounged in the sun. 
We thought it would be fun to drive the now open Mountain Loop Hwy as none of us had been before.  This was really a gravel road that meandered through forest and had Rob reminding us of the movie Deliverance.  Great views of Big Four, Three Fingers and Whitehorse.

Photos can be found here:  http://picasaweb.google.com/victormesny/MountPilchuck


* MtPilchuck__47_Medium.jpg (48.42 KB, 398x600 - viewed 947 times.)

* MtPilchuck__63_Medium.jpg (69.41 KB, 800x531 - viewed 955 times.)

* MtPilchuck__64_Medium.jpg (61.18 KB, 800x531 - viewed 942 times.)
« Last Edit: 07/02/08, 01:33 PM by Lisa » Logged
Scotsman
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #1 on: 07/02/08, 01:40 PM »

Wow, glad everybody is Ok!
Good writing Lisa, you had me gripped!
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wolfs
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #2 on: 07/02/08, 02:36 PM »

Yow! Glad y'all alright.
The Mountain Loop, and in particular the town of Darrington, seem to remind many people of Deliverance and its mileiu. I used to work with a guy named Tab Tabscott who was a bluegrass picker and he wrote this hilarious song called "Shallow Grave in Darrington" that sums up the vibe perfectly  Grin
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David_Coleman
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #3 on: 07/02/08, 03:30 PM »

Lisa - That's too funny.  I was absolutely stuck on the idea of wanting to ski Three Fingers myself when Paul was in town.  Thankfully Andalkar had researched the road issue ahead of time, as I was quite busy with other things.  I had thought about Pilchuck as the alternative.  SE Chutes is one of my favorite/memorable ski descents, even though it's short, I love the location.

Nice turns!  Cool
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Keith_Henson
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #4 on: 07/02/08, 04:10 PM »

man does that look steep and gnar! Impressive.
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Keith A Henson, Puyallup
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Stugie
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #5 on: 07/02/08, 05:42 PM »

Nice work!
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"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev
shred
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #6 on: 07/02/08, 05:53 PM »

WOW!  The Gunsight is a lot tamer with edges under foot.
I once watched a dog pickle flip all the way down and over the lower rocks, the owner quickly followed pursuit and ended up doing the same thing. Luckily the only major injury was a fractured leg, suffered by the dog...  
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Lisa
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #7 on: 07/02/08, 09:45 PM »

Wow, glad everybody is Ok!
Good writing Lisa, you had me gripped!
Thanks Scotty, I work on my writing as I meet with some serious writers once a week and they really are good.  One has a PHD in literature and two others a Masters and another, Garth Stein just publised a novel called, The Art of Racing in the Rain, so when my feeble attempts are noticed it makes me feel good.  Thanks!

David, sounds like you guys had fun on Baker.  Yes, Pilchuck is very cool, it would be great to have in my backyard like jd and others.
See you guys next week!  Wink
« Last Edit: 07/02/08, 09:51 PM by Lisa » Logged
Scotsman
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #8 on: 07/03/08, 05:26 PM »

Now,
Lisa if you where taking  course on journalism and the importance of "headlines" you would have  renamed your report " Randy Beaver Grabs Bush". Would get a lot of hits with that title. Grin
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" Knows what he is talking about"
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Randy Beaver
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #9 on: 07/07/08, 10:01 AM »

Scotsman-I held back from gnawing it........

OR

"Dear TAY, I Never thought it would happen to me..." cue bass guitar.

Scary stuff, a great reminder of the infintesimal line between you and the mountain's grasp. The hunter became the hunted,
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The mountain might get 'em, but the law never will
NMaddox
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #10 on: 07/08/08, 07:47 AM »

The lower Gunsight looks gnar!  Those rocks mean a short carry to the lower snowfield?  I was meaning to get up there after work this week. 

How long is it going to be "do-able"? 

Way to stay safe!   The top portion of gunsight is always a bit harry with the exposure this late in the season.  Always nice when everyone comes back unharmed.



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JPH
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #11 on: 07/08/08, 07:57 AM »

I skied it Sunday.  There is a decent amount of downclimbing through rocks at the bottom of Gunsight before climbing out to the ridge.
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Lisa
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #12 on: 07/08/08, 09:39 PM »

WOW!  The Gunsight is a lot tamer with edges under foot.
I once watched a dog pickle flip all the way down and over the lower rocks, the owner quickly followed pursuit and ended up doing the same thing. Luckily the only major injury was a fractured leg, suffered by the dog... 

I agree, with edges under foot such descents are much nicer and one has more control.
How sad about the dog injury, (and the guy too).  I didn't know dogs would not be able to regain control, I guess I am fortunate my dog has not experienced such a tumble; although I did have to short rope her down the Roman Wall on Baker in late September when she was nine months old.

Now,
 Lisa if you where taking course on journalism and the importance of "headlines" you would have renamed your report " Randy Beaver Grabs Bush". Would get a lot of hits with that title. Grin

I will work on being more creative with titles Scotty, but feel regulated on date/location specifications per TAY requests.  Although your title does have a certain ring to it.   Wink
« Last Edit: 07/08/08, 09:43 PM by Lisa » Logged
shred
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Re: June 29th, 2008 Mt. Pilchuck
« Reply #13 on: 07/11/08, 08:35 PM »

  I didn't know dogs would not be able to regain control, I guess I am fortunate my dog has not experienced such a tumble; although I did have to short rope her down the Roman Wall on Baker in late September when she was nine months old.

Lisa~
        Your statement of short roping your dog, takes me back to the days when I would short rope my son down the Gunsight. Now he is a very strong and confident skier ( at the ripe old age of 11 ) and is fully capable of soloing that magnificent run!

Zach (son) skiing the Gunsight, 8 days prior to your guys trip.


* Zach_skis_Gunsight.jpg (166.07 KB, 800x600 - viewed 570 times.)
« Last Edit: 07/12/08, 07:21 AM by shred » Logged
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