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| |-+  May 2009 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 2, 2009 Four-Fifths of Cashmere
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Author Topic: May 2, 2009 Four-Fifths of Cashmere  (Read 1193 times)

Posts: 201

May 2, 2009 Four-Fifths of Cashmere
« on: 05/03/09, 08:29 AM »

ScottK and I looked at the marginal forecast and opted to head to the east side hoping to find some reasonable weather and ski Cashmere. When skis were on the feet... the trip was great. When the skis were on the pack... "unpleasant" was a word that came to mind often.

The road is clear of snow to the 8-Mile Creek TH where we arrived to find nary a trace of snow on the trail and started with skis and boots on our backs. We encountered the first patches of snow around the point where Pioneer Creek intersects the trail (~ 3,800 feet). Expecting to find tedious discontinuous snow all the way to Little Eightmile Lake, we opted to head up Pioneer Creek hoping to find snow up in the basin. Scott's hunch turned out to be correct as we found continuous snow and very pleasant skinning at 4,800 feet. The problem was that the trip up to that point was a decidedly unpleasant stretch of steep, loose terrain, occasional brush bashing and lots of blowdown. It did enter our mind at one point that we could turn around and be back for tip-off of the Bulls-Celts Game 7 but we opted to continue on.

Once we got above the mess, found the snow and put the skis on, things improved dramatically. We had a great skin up to the basin above Lake Caroline and below Windy Pass. In the basin, we found easy skinning on firm snow and nearly complete snow coverage with a very smooth surface. It would likely yield great corn conditions on a warm, sunny day but no corn appeared for us as by the time we hit the basin, the clouds were thickening, the snow started falling and the wind picked up. Realizing the summit was not going to be reasonable in the deteriorating conditions, we opted to ski up to the ridge between Windy Pass and the summit, topping out around 7,500 feet. Skinning near the top was tough as the traversing was on a very firm surface.

The ski down was pretty nice. One cm of new snow had fallen by the time we turned around making for nice turns, albeit a bit slow due to flat light and bad visibility. The turns were good all the way down to below Lake Caroline where we put on skins again to climb back to the pass above the Lake. From there, the first 500 feet down to Little Eight Mile Lake provided more great skiing on firm snow with a soft surface among the widely spaced trees. We decided to follow the snow down as far as we could and deviated from the snowshoe/hiker tracks we saw heading down the summer trail. That was a mistake, as the snow quickly became difficult-to-ski mush with lots of barely buried rocks. When we finally took the skis off, we were then left with another decidedly unpleasant brushbash, downed tree-fest getting back to the trail.

We finally picked up the trail that we took all the way out. Intermittent snow and dry trail down to the Lake. Snow was pretty continuous from 4,400 down to about 4,200 feet then discontinuous enough after that to make staying on skis infeasible. Walking in the snow was difficult as it was a complete mystery as to whether you would stay up on top or punch through, even when following in the other hiker's footsteps. We finally arrived back at the car at 6PM, 10 hours after starting and made a bee-line to the Heidelburger for a well-deserved gut bomb and shake.

* WelcomeBacktoSpringSkiing.jpg (103.75 KB, 640x480 - viewed 616 times.)

* ClimbingtotheRidge.jpg (45.78 KB, 640x480 - viewed 616 times.)

* ScottontheRidge.jpg (55 KB, 640x480 - viewed 623 times.)

Yet another trip I've skied up something I can't ski down!

Posts: 144

Re: May 2, 2009 Four-Fifths of Cashmere
« Reply #1 on: 05/03/09, 05:53 PM »

Nice job for a day trip guys!

Posts: 228

Re: May 2, 2009 Four-Fifths of Cashmere
« Reply #2 on: 05/04/09, 09:07 AM »

Nice effort Andy and Scott.  We ended up climbing in Leavenworth and bagged skiing altogether on Saturday.  Drove up to the end of the road and probably turned around where you were parked!  Headed that way next weekend.

mountains will add years to your life, and life to your years
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