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Author Topic: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009  (Read 8522 times)
ebeam
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Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« on: 02/21/09, 04:50 PM »

Since it was touring weather we decided to go visit our large furry white friends in their winter habitat. Our party of 5 (Connie, Joanie, Don, Shane, Eric) skinned from the upper Baker parking lot to Herman Saddle, passing all the normal skiing lines which are more tracked than I have ever seen them. The north facing runs off Table Mountain will have moguls if we don’t get new snow soon.
http://picasaweb.google.com/ebeam50/BarometerMt2209#5305396719183909090

Once at Herman Saddle, the girls decided to hang out there. With ample sunshine, down jackets, cell phone service, and a large bag of peanut M&Ms, we knew they would be fine for awhile.

We continued west down to the two northern-most chain lakes and then down further into the headwaters of Anderson Creek.
http://picasaweb.google.com/ebeam50/BarometerMt2209#5305396720152375762

Skiing was good – anything sunny was corn and anything shaded was old powder. We then skinned through forest (some of it old growth) to the ridge leading up the south side of Barometer Mt. Once on the ridge, several mountain goats greeted us. When the ridge got steeper and thin on snow, we booted up the winter goat path to the summit. We saw more goats further north and west of the summit in vast S and W facing open areas.
http://picasaweb.google.com/ebeam50/BarometerMt2209#5305396728828410594
http://picasaweb.google.com/ebeam50/BarometerMt2209#5305396732747492226
http://picasaweb.google.com/ebeam50/BarometerMt2209#5305396747676374226

Views from the summit were outstanding.
http://picasaweb.google.com/ebeam50/BarometerMt2209#5305396749521443378
http://picasaweb.google.com/ebeam50/BarometerMt2209#5305396764940926738
http://picasaweb.google.com/ebeam50/BarometerMt2209#5305396777937508514

The return ski down from Barometer included some fun turns but much of it was ridge and forest traversing which we decided to do in order to shorten the trip time. http://picasaweb.google.com/ebeam50/BarometerMt2209#5305396783418823458

Snow conditions ranged from boot top powder, to corn, to a weak crust that mostly exploded when you turned in it. In wind and sun sheltered areas, there was usually surface hoar. In some N and NE facing steeper wooded sections there was about 6 inches of old powder, then a very weak crust, followed by about 1 foot of facets. This was quite rotten stuff and difficult to travel uphill on. I wouldn’t want to encounter an open slope of it with any new snow loading.

We did the trip as an out and back which makes it about a 4000 vf tour.

Thanks for taking along your camera Shane.
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James Wells
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #1 on: 02/22/09, 10:30 AM »

This looks like a really fun tour, thanks for the TR.  Do you think that there is a possible to navigate a good route to drop down and catch 542 at some point farther west where some very smart planner has stashed a car?  This might require more snow than is present this winter.
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John Morrow
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #2 on: 02/22/09, 10:58 AM »

This looks like a really fun tour, thanks for the TR.  Do you think that there is a possible to navigate a good route to drop down and catch 542 at some point farther west where some very smart planner has stashed a car?  This might require more snow than is present this winter.

Great idea!  I've been hitting the aerial photos for that possibility myself.  Nothing shows outstanding to me but that doesn't mean it's not out there on the ground!  Maybe someone will divulge a secret of local knowledge!
J
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stoked
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #3 on: 02/22/09, 11:49 AM »

navigate a good route to drop down and catch 542 at some point farther west where some very smart planner has stashed a car?  This might require more snow than is present this winter.

There is such a route and not the one referred to as the Sweet, Sweet Death Couloir. From the picture labelled "looking north to Tomyhoi", you drop down north from the south summit and climb out onto a shoulder west of the north summit of Barometer. From there you can ski down the death couloir into Andersen Creek. The alternative I did last year was to continue north along the ridge from the north summit. Ski straight down to the valley bottom of Nooksack River. Pick up the Andersen Creek road and skate ski 2 km back to Hwy 542 and the Sno-Park. The descent from Barometer is 900 m (about 3000 feet). Mostly it's old growth but the last 150 meters vertical was tight second growth just before we hit the road. Last year we had a good snowpack and the day we skied it there was about a foot and a half of pow on top. Great run and pretty safe from avy. Not sure whether it'd be that great this year on account of the lack of snow.
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Telemon
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #4 on: 02/22/09, 11:54 AM »

We then skinned through forest (some of it old growth) to the ridge leading up the south side of Barometer Mt. Once on the ridge, several mountain goats greeted us. When the ridge got steeper and thin on snow, we booted up the winter goat path to the summit. We saw more goats further north and west of the summit in vast S and W facing open areas.



The goats that inhabit the area around Table Mt./Ptarmigan Ridge are known as the Barometer Mountain herd; you were lucky to see them at their home base. Several Augusts ago,I saw a grouping of 28 animals nearby at the base of the Scholes Glacier.
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Git down, Brothers and Sisters of the Church of the Telemark..What do you mean it is a turn not a religion?
ebeam
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #5 on: 02/22/09, 01:24 PM »

This looks like a really fun tour, thanks for the TR. Do you think that there is a possible to navigate a good route to drop down and catch 542 at some point farther west where some very smart planner has stashed a car? This might require more snow than is present this winter.

More snow would certainly help, but even with this year's snow, you could descend from Barometer east into the Anderson Creek valley, then pick up a forest road that outlets the hanging valley taking you back to the sno-park on 542. The lower end of the road is often XC groomed. You can also drop into the same valley from Mazama Bowl too (one of the backside areas off Herman), which is a much shorter trip.

I have heard about the route that John_Morrow described (see http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?PHPSESSID=b44b04560321ec3e4226c5d0fb3f3bf1&topic=4324.0), which sound awesome. From the top of Barometer, we could still see lots of slide alder and talus sticking out of the avalanche paths down low, so I wouldn't want to get too low in elevation without a road this year.


The goats that inhabit the area around Table Mt./Ptarmigan Ridge are known as the Barometer Mountain herd; you were lucky to see them at their home base. Several Augusts ago,I saw a grouping of 28 animals nearby at the base of the Scholes Glacier.

Yes, I would imagine the goats come from all around to winter on this mountain which offers so much snow free area. You can also XC ski up the Wells Creek road about 3 miles and see them on some cliffs on the NW side of Barometer. I have had them post holing my skin track!
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dberdinka
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #6 on: 02/23/09, 09:31 AM »

I've done a bunch of skiing out there in years past.  As mentioned the snowpack this year is not particularly friendly to some of the low elevation chutes in the area but the Anderson Creek Road should have adequate coverage and be groomed to boot. 

Maybe the easiest way off the summit of Barometer is to ski directly north of the summit.  First down a fine bowl then down through nice old growth forest.  At about 4200' traverse east.  Eventually you can drop down through tight forest to reach the very end of the Anderson Creek Road.   Not the greatest tour ever but doable this year.   Someone mentioned skiing straight down to the road.  I think that would require a much heavier snowpack than we currently have.

My favorite run in the area is "Clean Slate".  This is a great 3300' drop than containes good variety and frequently holds excellent snow.   Again, unfortunately,  this is not the year to ski it as the lower chute never filled completely in.

Last year I posted the following TR that provides the quickest access to the top of Clean Slate

Clean Slate via N Slate Mtn

Many other ways to get there obviously.  Someone already posted a link to the trip were we skied "Sweet, Sweet Death" off Barometer Mountain then did a rising traverse to ski the lower 2500' of "Clean Slate".  Another good and slightly easier option is to boot to the very top of Mount Herman (easily accessed from top of Mazama Bowl) then ski down the excellent NW bowls for about 2000' then do a short nearly level traverse into the lower part of "Clean Slate".

Shortly after the TR I linked to above, TobyT and I had a spectacular day traversing the summits of Herman, S Slate and N Slate and finishing via Clean Slate.  Lots of steep skiing on NE facing aspects with interesting skinning up bowls and ridgelines in between.  Didn't hurt that we had boot top blower all the way down to 2200' as well.  I think that was the finest tour I ever put together and the cumulation of many years exploring the Anderson Creek Drainage.

The following photos were all taken by TobyT. 

Below N Face of Herman



Larger Size
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3559/3303458403_66600d2f47_o.jpg


Skiing off summit of S Slate Mtn



Larger Size
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3512/3303458451_1618c4b338_o.jpg


Traversing Ridgeline to N Slate
Barometer Mtn in background.  Sweet Sweet Death is the obvious couloir.



Larger Size
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3628/3303458367_fee72055e8_o.jpg

** Modified for excessive use of word awesome
 
« Last Edit: 02/23/09, 12:31 PM by dberdinka » Logged
ebeam
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #7 on: 02/24/09, 02:26 PM »

dberdinka, thanks for the local wisdom, experience, and photos. I love the fact there are so many terrain options to explore in these areas.
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dberdinka
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #8 on: 02/24/09, 04:04 PM »

You're welcome.  Exploring the Barometer/Herman/Slate area has been a very rewarding experience over the last decade(?!).  There is an amazing amount of really good terrain back there, yet in the 20 or so trips I've made only once have I see other tracks or encountered other skiers.   Hopefully deep low elevation snowpacks are not completely a thing of the past and one day I'll chance upon a fat skin track to follow way back there.
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James Wells
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #9 on: 02/24/09, 09:22 PM »

Thanks for the excellent trip information.  What an awesome area!
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stoked
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #10 on: 03/25/09, 05:36 AM »

Has anyone got an update on this route since we got all this new snow (march 25th)? What about the bottom levels as you descend to 542? Sufficient snow coverage to ski?
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toby_tortorelli
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #11 on: 03/26/09, 05:59 PM »

Just happened across this post. The tour with Darin was spectacular and one which I hope to repeat with him. Also, I have dropped the West Face of Barometer Mtn. (can be seen from White Rock, BC.) amongst the old burn (3000' of open slopes/avy paths) to Wells Creek Rd. and a 4-5 mile glide back to Nooksack Falls and HWY 542. It was pretty cool crossing the Nooksack at 1800' elevation on skis. The picture is of MattC skiing Barometer with Wells Cr. below.


* P3120168.jpg (55.08 KB, 639x426 - viewed 627 times.)
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Telemon
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #12 on: 03/26/09, 11:07 PM »

I had a nice view of Barometer Mountains and environs today from Herman Saddle. I'll post a TR tomorrow.
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Git down, Brothers and Sisters of the Church of the Telemark..What do you mean it is a turn not a religion?
ebeam
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #13 on: 03/30/09, 02:01 PM »

Stoked,
I was near this area (Mazama Bowl, Chain Lakes) both Friday and Saturday. There wasn't enough new snow below ~3500ft from the earlier storm (~25th), and the storm predicted over the weekend (with a snow level down to 1000ft) didn't produce much snow at all, maybe 6-8inches. 

It would be a tough go to ski to the Mt Baker Highway right now.
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stoked
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Re: Barometer Mt (Baker Area) February 20, 2009
« Reply #14 on: 04/03/09, 07:15 PM »

Argh! Thanks, ebeam. I sort of figured it might be thin. We went to Frosty Mountain in Manning Park. Coverage was real good. Pics of earlier trip: Fun Manning Park
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