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Author Topic: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque  (Read 2528 times)
telemack
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Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« on: 11/30/08, 10:56 AM »

     Skierlyles, Snowbell and I camped by the Blue Lake trailhead Friday night.  Heay rain and mists gave way to slush and 32 deg. just as we parked.  Next AM we left the car in a slight drizzle, but heavier rain stayed away and we had mists and sucker-holes all day.  A guy named Carson with his dog caught us up and joined us for the first run.  The Blue Lake trail was barely skinnable in places, and we followed it past the climber's turnoff all the way to Blue Lake. 
     Behind the lake a steep-sided valley curved around left, with barely filled in gullies and couoirs on most aspects.  We went with the tried-and-true plan of "Let's just keep going up and see what it looks like".  The most stable slope was facing southish above and behind the lake, so we skinned that to a notch looking back over the north slopes of Blue Peak.  A nice sunny run on the most-covered aspects of the slope had us all smiling:  2-5' of wind-and-sun-impacted corn mixture. 
     Joe, Chris and I continued with the "Let's see how bad it looks up there" game, and we ended up booting  the couloir right at the back of the cirque, which topped out right across from Madison Avenue on the Birthday Tour about 300 vf below Blue Peak Col.  We jumped back into the 40 degree, 10'-wide gully, and all did a bit of hop-and-hope in the heavy mashed spuds that barely protected our bases from the talus.  We fanned out for one more mini-lap on different aspects of the basin, then scritched our way back via the trail.  There is not enough coverage yet to skin or ski direct to/from the parking lot.  It was raining by the time we hit Rainy Pass on the drive home.
     Fine tour, with better coverage and much more enjoyable weather and snow than the forecast had led us to expect.  The whole area above Blue Lake would be a huge avy trap with a full snowpack, but there was not enough to worry about yet.  Some big pinwheels came down in places, but our quick observations found no surface hoar; maybe it was destroyed by the recent showers?  With the moderate forecast coming up I'd guess there could be a couple more weeks of good options before the highway gets closed. 
« Last Edit: 11/30/08, 08:59 PM by telemack » Logged

There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
George Santayana
skierlyles
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #1 on: 11/30/08, 12:08 PM »

What Mack forgot to mention was that it was an awesome day out! We came in with minimal expectations and came out fully satiated.

mack dropping in on the first line
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZ7B8D06Usw

joe bell with second line
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Vcel8PImnc

joe starting it off in the chute further down-basin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmVQuRFRJyU


 joe finishing up the chute after the "hipcheck"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRpELn30qQ0

pictures of the day!!!
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/iGXGhTYgK3K7mqvrgYmWeQ?authkey=NG6tZirJ08c



* PB280017.jpg (162.67 KB, 600x800 - viewed 818 times.)

* PB280051.jpg (81 KB, 600x450 - viewed 804 times.)
« Last Edit: 11/30/08, 12:13 PM by skierlyles » Logged
Erick Heyl
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #2 on: 11/30/08, 12:16 PM »

Way to make the best of it,  I enjoyed the chute video of Joe.
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Back in the saddle again...
Lisa
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #3 on: 11/30/08, 04:46 PM »

Nice work Chris and others!   Smiley
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JW
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #4 on: 11/30/08, 07:52 PM »

Nice to see you shooting some vid there Chris! Way to get after what's out there.
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Scotsman
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #5 on: 11/30/08, 07:56 PM »

Jw, Jen and I are sitting on the ferry on the way back from Canada watching your videos. Nice work and surprisingly good conditions. Good call. Hopefully with some more snow we can hit it again next week!
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telemack
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #6 on: 11/30/08, 08:31 PM »

Which ferry???
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There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
George Santayana
Kyle Miller
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #7 on: 11/30/08, 08:33 PM »

We must have just missed you as we left Blue lake just after dark on friday.
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telemack
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #8 on: 11/30/08, 08:58 PM »

We must have just missed you as we left Blue lake just after dark on friday.
We didn't get to the trailhead until 11 PM.  Where were you riding?
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There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
George Santayana
Kyle Miller
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #9 on: 11/30/08, 09:02 PM »

As you first got to the lake it was the first chute on the right side that was filled in.
We left about 6:00pm
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In a perfect world, everybody would act with the correct etiquette and follow the rules. Human nature as it is= NOT GOING TO HAPPEN....no matter how many discussion on ski blogs/websites. Face reality............
telemack
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #10 on: 12/01/08, 09:30 AM »

Good line; we saw your sluffs and some tracks.  How high did you go---to the base of the dogleg up high?  Was that the same run jpslagle TRed on from Wednesday?
We skied the couloir all the way in the back, at the head of the main drainage opposite you.
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There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
George Santayana
Snow Bell
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #11 on: 12/01/08, 10:06 AM »

Yeah Kyle, nice line selection.  I saw from the head of the valley at least one set of tracks on the upper section just below the col.  Did you get more turns elsewhere?

Surprisingly there are many routes filled in enough to ski already.  The rain Friday night didn't help the consistency any but in should consolidate nicely and be ready to receive the next round.  (rock skis may still be in order)  My thanks again to Mack and Chris for a fun trip.   Maybe next time Chris won't use up his camera batteries on me falling down the hill and save them for my hero lines! Grin

Hopefully with some more snow we can hit it again next week!

Guess who is itching to go next weekend.
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Stugie
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #12 on: 12/01/08, 11:08 AM »

We dropped just the one couloir.  Posting a tr about our weekend of turns later tonight w/ pics.  It was good pow early Friday - we started out shortly before noon.  However, you could feel the snow getting heavier and the climate warming, so by the time we dropped down, it was mank.  We climbed up to the top at 7400' (myself about 75vf below) and dropped in.  There were previous tracks and a boot pack that led about 1/3 of the way up the couloir until we had to start breaking trail.  No rocks were hit though.
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skierlyles
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #13 on: 12/01/08, 12:13 PM »

For Mack- the first slope topped out at 7,300 feet and the top of the couloir was 7,400 according to my gps track map. Looking over the topos for this area makes me want to go back really soon.

Chris
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Rusty Knees
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #14 on: 12/01/08, 01:51 PM »

Pretty adventuresome, you guys!  I heard you were out somewhere.  Nice pictures and videos!  It's hard to believe you didn't rock your bases, judging only by looking at some of those pictures with rocks strewn about.  Compared to your trip, ours was a walk in the park... MRNP that is.
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telemack
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #15 on: 12/01/08, 02:37 PM »

I confess---we all hit rocks repeatedly.  We were just psyched enough that our memories blocked out the bad times.... Smiley
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There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
George Santayana
skierlyles
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #16 on: 12/01/08, 03:25 PM »

Pretty adventuresome, you guys!  I heard you were out somewhere.  Nice pictures and videos!  It's hard to believe you didn't rock your bases, judging only by looking at some of those pictures with rocks strewn about.  Compared to your trip, ours was a walk in the park... MRNP that is.

I also confess- I have three huge gouges on both skis! It was worth it though!
I plan on subjecting myself to more of the same.

Chris
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Kyle Miller
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Re: Nov. 29, 2008, WA Pass/Blue Lake cirque
« Reply #17 on: 12/01/08, 03:34 PM »

I guess I was the lucky one I didnt hit a single rock, But I did hike the entire trail back in the dark though.
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In a perfect world, everybody would act with the correct etiquette and follow the rules. Human nature as it is= NOT GOING TO HAPPEN....no matter how many discussion on ski blogs/websites. Face reality............
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