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| | |-+  May 2, 2009, Silver Star Mtn, Silver Star Creek
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Author Topic: May 2, 2009, Silver Star Mtn, Silver Star Creek  (Read 1577 times)
bramski
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May 2, 2009, Silver Star Mtn, Silver Star Creek
« on: 05/03/09, 10:19 PM »

Scott and I had talked earlier in the week, as both of us had been chucked off of Silver Star several years back, and wanted to give it a second shot.  We'd heard reports of the snow melt out at the creek head, but weren't deterred, though we were prepared with other options around WA Pass.  We started out on the west side of SS creek around 7:15, and quickly switched to the east side after discovering a huge number of downed trees.  After about 500 hundred feet of awesome, obscenity conjuring post-holing in boots and dirt island hopping we found enough consistent snow to begin marginal skinning until we reached the more moderate part of the creek-side where snow became much more consistent.  As we predicted from the clear night, it was a fantastic blue-bird morning with great sites of fantastic feeling corn and the possibility of pow on the upper side of the mountain.  We skinned up the open slop on the east side of Vasilki Ridge towards the saddle and continued a traverse to where the tongue of the glacier should be directly below the col.

We could feel a slabby top 4 inches, so we dug a snow pit.  Though the snow was not as consolidated as we expected, a shovel propagation test yielded no significant results, so we skinned up the west side of the rock face below the west summit of silver star, which winded up being quite a challenging skin particularly with the avalanche debris and a relatively high angle slope.  When we reached the top of the rock formation, we sighted another party ahead of us, booting up from the col to the summit.  I heard cries from them of wanting snowshoes for this section as we got stoked for the 5500' of pow & corn we'd been skinning.  The last 1000' were slow going, and we struggled and eventually gave up on attempting to skin the last 500' which mostly consisted of a breakable crust lightly covering icy rocks, and ran into the party ahead of us on descent.  They reported that the col was crappy dirt and ice, and we graciously re-used their boot pack to the summit in a growing snowy whiteout.  The entire summit area is completely snowy, and some scrambling is required to head to the carefully stacked summit blocks.  There wasn't much view and the visibility was getting consistently worse so we booted back to the saddle below the summit and geared up for our descent.  The snow was heavy at times but we made some amazing turns on the upper mountain, and found a more moderate ski descent to the east of the rock band we'd skinned up, and found that visibility made slope angle judgment more difficult, and the snow was a bit crusty until we reached about 6600 feet where there was great corn and much improved visibility.

We found fantastic tree skiing between 6400 and the flats of the creek at 5000, and we made killer turns down a long narrow chute until we bottomed out.  We quickly came upon some other ski tracks and wondered if somebody had come in and skied the trees but not the upper mountain and followed much of their track, free-heeling without skins until some angle returned to the descent and we skied the remaining snow over the creek until Scott ( ahh thank heaven for a heavier skier than I to test the waters first) broke through to the creek and thankfully landed half his body on still consistent snow and only dangled his skis in the creek.  We gingerly skied the spotty snow as low as we could and then slush-stepped our way back to the car.  All in all just under a 12 hour day car to car.

The upper mountain and basin of the two ridges should be great skiing for weeks to come, though the creek is getting a bit sketchy (see pic below).  Great ski and summit overall, for those that aren't afraid of a little booting.


Scott looks at a beautiful day and our route.


I link some great turns on the upper mountain.


Scott breaks through the creek.



Scott's Pictures:
  http://picasaweb.google.com/scott.d.heinz/SilverStarSkiAscenet5209#

My Pictures:
  http://picasaweb.google.com/bramski/SilverstarViaSilverstarCreek#
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