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Author Topic: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge  (Read 2275 times)
skierlyles
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11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« on: 11/19/08, 04:02 PM »

Since Tuesdays are such a fine day to ski, and an even better day to not
contribute to our failing economy (unless you count the petrol and coffee we
consumed) we decided to go hit Baker's Heliotrope Ridge. Joe Bell (snowbell)
and I met up in Seattle and drove monday night to catch extra z's , camp,
and ski the following morning. When planning an overnighter with Joe Bell,
it is neccessary to ensure there is no cuddling involved. Solution- bivy
bag! This did not dissuade Joe as he still offered to have a cuddle with me
in my bivy bag. He exclaims, "I get top!" No thanks, but I am flattered...
Tuesday morning has us a bit sluggish from the Scuttlebutts we consumed the
night before and before long we are off to the Wake and Bakery. Arriving, we
found it to be closed until Ullr gives Baker some snow, and some Baker
faithful to fill the place. Found espresso at the store across the street
and bagels! Score! Drive up was uneventful, unless you happen to be a
bushdriver like Scotty.

Found a crew of two in addition to Joe and me- then set off on the trail
towards Heliotrope.I wonder where those guys went? The drizzle started overnight, continued a bit at the
lot in the morning and seemed to subside as we climbed higher. This would
not prove to be ominous as you will soon see...The trail was an easier
approach when compared to the tree climbing, hugging, schwacking,
we experienced this late summer. As we gained the ridge I feared the weather
would consume us and the views along with it, but was
pleasantly surprised when we broke out of the trees and were greeted by
Baker herself. She lifted her skirt a bit as we coaxed our way up her leg
and gave us full on views of her majesty when we arrived at the campsites
along the ridge.

Snow was quite firm and we were able to approach shoe it most of the way
until we encountered continuous snow ( a bit above the usual camp spots).
Joe continued up with his approach shoe/ sneaker-pon' combo as I
transitioned to boots and crampons. My initial plan was to skirt the bottom
of the "snowfield" along the rockbands then gain the far looker's right
ridge (true heliotrope, as far as skiers are concerned) and continue up that
way. I took a look at the sun barely slipping in and out of the clouds, the aspect
we were on, the barely softening snow and warming temps, to make a decision to follow
Joe up the Coleman snowfield looker's right of the usual route ( I call it
this as there is no proper glacier here, but merely a stagnant piece of ice
with cracks). This was the only section that seemed to have gotten any sun
at all, as it barely peeks over the ridge (even at noon). There seems to be
a limited amount of skiable area in boilerplate, almost freezing conditions.
The snowfield does have cracks underneath the new deposit of snow which was
more recently consolidated to boilerplate.This had me a bit cautious at
first, but I soon saw the slope was in good shape. Patches of ice gleamed through at various spots proving the thin
bridges throughout. Eventually we gained our high point (the usual traverse
route across to the Heliotrope hump ridge) and snapped some great photos of
the Thunder and Coleman Glaciers.

I had recently purchased a pair of dynafiddles and dynafit skis. I resumed to
fiddle with the newfangled binding I had attempted to step into. Once in, (literally 10 tries later) I was off on the best turns of the day (top 100
feet or so) ,as it recieved more solar radiation and softened as nicely as
we could expect. The semi ripe corn up top had changed to harder and harder
degrees of firmness and despite this was quite smooth and skiable. Kudos to
my new ski setup- nice and stiff ski for carving up  even stiffer slopes
(thanks to you know who you are for selling them to me...). I toyed with
various shapes of turns and found the skis to be quite responsive and
pleasant to ski. Nearing the bottom of the slope I gave the skis a bit more
force and slowed them to a near halt when I inadvertantly crossed tips and
went carreening down the slope. Being so close to the rock bands I was
attempting to stop, and nearly did, when I fell and started gaining speed.
With the rocks quickly approaching. I lost a ski, turned my body around
 into a manageable position to stop, drove my ski pole tip into the snow and
managed to avoid a rock and two rock outcroppings on the way down before
finally coming to a stop unscathed. Joe quickly came down behind me, and
having lost me over the rollover probably feared injury. He made contact
with me, saw I was okay, found my ski and came down to greet me. Thanks Joe!
I, barely comprehending my almost imminent injury, thanked Joe for carrying
the ski down. This had me rattled, a bit sore, and wondering what more could
come of this day. We then decided to call the time we had remaining as
"bonus" and headed out after just one run. Snow firmness, my rattled state,
and Joe's desire to get home to see his family earlier rather than later had
us on the trail and outta there in no time.

We did enjoy ourselves, as Baker never fails to please.  We relished the
few turns we had, the views and majesty of the mountains on this day... and
I will relish everyday I have in the mountains.

Some stoke  http://picasaweb.google.com/christopherlyles/HeliotropeRidge02?authkey=OLYsK7-OAqg#


* PB170045.jpg (158.75 KB, 700x525 - viewed 986 times.)

* PB170058.jpg (149.14 KB, 700x525 - viewed 989 times.)

* PB170042.jpg (155.57 KB, 500x666 - viewed 959 times.)
« Last Edit: 11/26/08, 09:53 PM by skierlyles » Logged
Scotsman
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #1 on: 11/19/08, 08:14 PM »

Glad you had a good day boys and very happy to hear you are alright after your slide.
You two are going to be hard to keep up with now that you've both got new sets of dynafiddels..
I'll catch up at the transtions when you are dynafutzing!

Beautiful bluebird day but I am tired of beautiful bluebird days.Please make it snow, and hard!
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Crystal Whore
wolfs
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #2 on: 11/19/08, 09:02 PM »

An update from 11/19, or shall we say a conditions report/tale of woe.

I had every intention of getting to the fine conditions reported on Heliotrope in recent reports. Corn, powder, whatever. But either they weren't there, or at least I just plain couldn't get there. The problem today was the wind.

It was seriously brutal. I'd estimate peaks of gusts at 60-75mph and this was just on the climbers trail. I physically could not get up the hill with the skis attached to pack. at a particular point where the trail is on a narrow moraine spine just below the camps. I'd stand there trying to ride out the gusts and make forward progress until it just got ridiculous and unsafe. I ended up just ditching the whole pack in the krummholz and exploring above sans pack/skis just to see what I might be missing.

All snow was frozen pretty hard. Not ice hard but still too hard for enjoyable skiing, I would think. Tracks from previous days were frozen. This was the slopes just above camp. With that wind though I don't think anything would be soft even with sun on it. The night must have been very cold as well. Spindrift higher on the glacier indicated that was windy up there too (duh) so I didn't feel particularly bad about not exposing myself to it any further. Making any climbing progress, getting across the initial traverse, skiing with any grace, would all have been quite compromised by the damn wind.

Despite this it was a beautiful day for a hike. A hike that just happened to include packing a few heavy objects on my back that ended up seeing no use that day.

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skierlyles
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #3 on: 11/19/08, 09:16 PM »

Scotty- wish you could have joined us. Bring on the pow!

Wolfs- wow! looks like you had one heck of a day up there blowing in the wind. At least it's a beautiful place.
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Scotsman
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #4 on: 11/19/08, 09:56 PM »

An update from 11/19, or shall we say a conditions report/tale of woe.

Despite this it was a beautiful day for a hike. A hike that just happened to include packing a few heavy objects on my back that ended up seeing no use that day.

Wolfs you have my admiration and gratitude. This is the type of self-sacrifice that Urll has been demanding.
Thank you, because of your efforts I predict powder for you in two days!
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Poet Laureate of TAY.
Chairman and Founder of FOTAY( Friends of TAY)
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Crystal Whore
Rusty Knees
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #5 on: 11/19/08, 11:08 PM »

Nice pictures, Chris!

Sorry I didn't make it out with you guys, it looks like the rest of us missed a great trip, except for the fear of snow bell becuddlement, sleeping in a bivvy bag, icy snow, and dangerous headfirst slides...wait a minute,  maybe I didn't miss much.   Wink

Even with all that, I do wish I'd been able to say yes.  Good job getting what was there. 

Your fall sounds like the one you saw me take coming down off Pineapple basin last summer.  Glad you came out in good shape.  Did you hit the shrine on the way home?
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The best part of summer skiing is napping on a warm rock.
coyote
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #6 on: 11/20/08, 05:49 AM »

amongst many other great photos, i really like that #42 from the picasa web group. really cool! Smiley
and the birds, of course. what are they?
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Dave_R
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #7 on: 11/20/08, 06:45 AM »

Nice pictures.  Ptarmigan with their winter coats on - must be going to dump on us soon!  Grin
-Dave R
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Randy Beaver
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #8 on: 11/20/08, 09:02 AM »

After looking at the pics, many congrats on getting that high up in trail runners.

True grit!
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The mountain might get 'em, but the law never will
Mtraslin
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #9 on: 11/20/08, 11:07 AM »

Nice work guys!I went up the next day with my brother Andy and the gusts of wind were so bad we thought we would be blown back home.As far as the skiing went we skinned a few laps,and a few laps we had to boot crampon back up.We were thinking we should have brought up race gates and set up a world cup race course,because the ice was ridiculus.But getting fun high speed turns was fun anyway.Great weather,but the snow surface just did not get a chance to corn up!
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alecapone
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #10 on: 11/20/08, 12:51 PM »

oh fiddle futz.. Nice day. Way to scrath it!

I prefer the side by side bivy, it's more like team work. Top guy bottum guy is just too much of a dom thing.
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scott
NickD
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #11 on: 11/20/08, 06:33 PM »

"She lifted her skirt a bit as we coaxed our way up her leg
and gave us full on views of her majesty when we arrived at the campsites
along the ridge. "

Minor correction:
According to Nooksack legend, Koma Kulshan had two wives: Shuksan and Tahoma.  Tahoma got jealous of the prettier Shuksan and left the harem and moved about 200 miles south.
So I guess HE raised his kilt might better fit. Wink
Probably wearing a fresh pair of longjohns today!

Us deskjockeys do appreciate your scouting trip. Those suncups look awfully firm.
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Looking forward to the next ski trip.
Telemon
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #12 on: 11/20/08, 07:50 PM »

"She lifted her skirt a bit as we coaxed our way up her leg
and gave us full on views of her majesty when we arrived at the campsites
along the ridge. "

Minor correction:
According to Nooksack legend, Koma Kulshan had two wives: Shuksan and Tahoma.  Tahoma got jealous of the prettier Shuksan and left the harem and moved about 200 miles south.
The local First nations people have a different legend. Mt.Cheam (a 7,000' peak in the Fraser valley) is said to have accompanied Baker to his country, where they had three sons, Mt.Hood, Mt.Shasta and Mt.Shuksan. In both legends Baker is the biggest boy around these parts.
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skierlyles
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #13 on: 11/20/08, 07:52 PM »

"She lifted her skirt a bit as we coaxed our way up her leg
and gave us full on views of her majesty when we arrived at the campsites
along the ridge. "

Minor correction:
According to Nooksack legend, Koma Kulshan had two wives: Shuksan and Tahoma.  Tahoma got jealous of the prettier Shuksan and left the harem and moved about 200 miles south.
So I guess HE raised his kilt might better fit. Wink
Probably wearing a fresh pair of longjohns today!

Us deskjockeys do appreciate your scouting trip. Those suncups look awfully firm.

I always refer to my mountains as women, I climb atop them and enjoy their bounty. Thanks for the history behind the name though. Seems it would be more appropriate for a volcano with such a shape to be a woman in my humble opinion.

Chris
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Snow Bell
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Re: 11/18/08 Heliotrope Ridge
« Reply #14 on: 11/21/08, 02:41 PM »

Thanks for putting up the TR Chris.  You seem to have covered it all.  Thanks to you I must be well on my way to a solid reputation as a serial cuddler.  Who would one rather be held up with in an emergency bivy?  An inexperienced, reluctant cuddler?  I think not.  Be prepared.

The problem today was the wind.
It was seriously brutal. I'd estimate peaks of gusts at 60-75mph and this was just on the climbers trail. I physically could not get up the hill with the skis attached to pack. at a particular point where the trail is on a narrow moraine spine just below the camps. I'd stand there trying to ride out the gusts and make forward progress until it just got ridiculous and unsafe. I ended up just ditching the whole pack

Wow Wolfs, it must have really been HOWLING to get you to leave your PACK!  Wink

After looking at the pics, many congrats on getting that high up in trail runners.

True grit!

Yeah that's me; true grit.  Too bad my usual touring partners don't see it that way.  (Scotsman has an affectionate term for my sneaker-pon gator combo)  Truth be told I am quite supprised how well they work and how useful they have been.   I have used them a half dozen times and been very happy with their performance each and every outing.  Pretty soon we will all be using sneaker-pons and alpine gear! Grin

I prefer the side by side bivy, it's more like team work. Top guy bottum guy is just too much of a dom thing.

Yeah, we thought of that but we both had left side zips so it didn't work out.   Wink
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Life is going to slide by you one way or another
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