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Author Topic: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix  (Read 3867 times)
Kyle Miller
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The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« on: 05/12/09, 06:05 PM »

Sorry about the double posting but I didn't want to overdue the 3 photo limit  Grin

Mt Aix is the sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades relatively unknown but rivaled in size only by the massive Goat Rocks. Mt Aix is in what you would consider the middle of nowhere from Washington standards. The 90 mile summer drive is more then doubled when 410 closes down for winter leaving the area isolated and unused. From Crystal Mountain you can get a distant view of the massive alpine bowls of Aix and the Nelson Range that rise over 800 feet higher then the top of Crystal. Aix had become somewhat of an obsession for me over the years as I studied approaches and access issues of the mountain. Trying to get beta was all but impossible as trying to get any skiing info was dead end after dead end, The question kept coming up in my head “why isn’t anybody heading out to the Nelson Range”.

View of the Nelson range and Mt Aix from the top of the Silver King at Crystal Mountain. We skied the high point on the left side of the pic and the huge alpine bowl to its right

Thanks to Boot


The forecast was looking good with Mostly sunny skies on the Eastern side of the Cascades and according to the Forest service the road was plowed all the way to the Mt Aix trailhead Saturday was going to be the day. Friday night I met up with Ian and Jeff at the North Bend Safeway and made the 190 mile drive all the way around the Eastern side of the cascades then back into the Central cascades and camped a few miles from the trail head. The next morning we woke up under the early morning sun, stuffed our sleeping bags into the car and drove up towards the trailhead. The forest Service was wrong the road was not plowed to the Aix trailhead it was only plowed to Bumping Lake there were two options 1. Abort or 2 go for it but to me number one was not an option. The slog fest up the road was an uneventful 4 and a half miles getting deeper into the Nelson range before finally hitting the Mt Aix trailhead. Once we reached the trail we lost it within the first 5 minutes and proceeded to bushwhack up the semi densely forested slopes. The bushwhacking proceeded for a couple of brutal hours until we decided to make a downhill traverse into the beginning of the alpine.


Once in alpine travel was so much faster and efficient as the terrain mellowed out and you could actually the best areas to put in a skin track. We skinned up to a low saddle and finally got our first view of Mt Aix and the huge alpine bowls that surrounded it.
The whole area was a corn skiing heaven with enough room to fit all of the Ski resorts in Washington in the three alpine bowls surrounding Mt Aix. During the ridge scramble to the summit I had spotted a skiable line off the NW face of Mt Aix it was sketchy and looked like it was close to melting out but at the moment it was skiable. After nailing the summit and taking in some of the best views in Washington. We switched our gear over to downhill mode and one by one rode down the NW face for well over 2000 vert of alpine skiing.

The NW face of Mt Aix

Photo by Ian


Once arriving in Rattlesnake basin we switched back over to skinning mode and returned back to Nelson ridge for our final decent back to the car. Peak 7495 had caught my attention on the way up and was easily accessible with an additional 30 minute skin so Ian and I made the ascent while Jeff stayed behind and took in the views of bumping lake and Rainier. We noticed a small choking colouir that exited onto a huge alpine ramp “this was going to be the line”. I dropped in first not knowing how shallow the snowpack was and if I was going to hit a rock so I straight lined it and ripped down the massive Northern face. We met up with Jeff 2000 vert lower for the decent back down to the road and made the decision to follow the creek until it was impassable then boot pack the rest of the way. Luckily we were able to meet up with the trail and after countless switchbacks we were back to the road for the 4.5 mile slugfest back to the car. We made it back to the car around 8pm. As the first drops of rain started falling so we threw our gear into the car and made a quick getaway.

ripping down the massive Northern face of point 7495.

photo by Jeff

We dropped Jeff off at his car in Cle elum while Ian and I drove up the North fork of the Tenaway River to tackle our next beast Mt Stuart on Sunday. We made it to a camp ground around 11:00 p.m. and passed out until 5:30 a.m. and drove the additional 4 miles to the Beverly Creek trail head and started packing our gear. I started putting my skins on my split when all of a sudden SNAP and as soon as the trip began it was over.
In total the trip was around 20 miles


It is very possible that the NW face of Aix has never been snowboarded before if anyone has or knows someone whos done this line please let me know


I have already spoken with the Prior rep and will receive a new splitboard once the factory opens again on June 9th but until then. If anyone has a splitboard or some ski boots they could loan me (size 29.5) until I get my new board it would save me the hassle of the brutal snowboarding method of transportation know as boot packing.

Same TR with more Pics

Ians version of the trip
« Last Edit: 05/12/09, 06:11 PM by Kyle Miller » Logged

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............
Scotsman
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt
« Reply #1 on: 05/12/09, 06:44 PM »

Very impressive Kyle, congratulations!

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Salal
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt
« Reply #2 on: 05/12/09, 07:57 PM »

Double vision;) Nice write up Kyle. It appears from boots photo that we missed the best way down to the road off pt 7495
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jhamaker
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #3 on: 05/13/09, 07:04 AM »

Thanks for the TR.  I, too have had my eye on Mt. Aix.  So much to ski! 
4+mi rd ski - good to know.
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Andrew Carey
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt
« Reply #4 on: 05/13/09, 07:12 AM »

very, very, nice!
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Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
Marcus
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #5 on: 05/13/09, 08:38 AM »

Awesome Kyle, nice work...

I've got a pair of tele boots you could use, but they're probably way too small -- 27.0, I think.
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Scotsman
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #6 on: 05/13/09, 10:05 AM »

Kyle, I've  a pair of 28.5 Garmont ski Boots( Megarides, the blue ones) you can borrow if you like.
I'll also lend you a pair of skis and skins if you want to come to the Dark Side.
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trees4me
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #7 on: 05/13/09, 10:17 AM »

Way to get out there Kyle!  Sounds like a great trip to a infrequently skied range.

Too bad about the split...  but I'm sure there'll be some snow left for the new board in June   Grin

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chill people, skiing is fun
Kyle Miller
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #8 on: 05/13/09, 11:42 AM »

Kyle, I've  a pair of 28.5 Garmont ski Boots( Megarides, the blue ones) you can borrow if you like.
I'll also lend you a pair of skis and skins if you want to come to the Dark Side.

Thanks for all the kind words
Out of all the ski boots to try the Megarides are on the top of the list.
I dont know much about ski boot sizes but my feet are size 12.5/13
I must admit I would like to try out sking.
I just dont want to try sking on the lines I want to do  Grin
and I thought snowboarding was the Dark side. ( I guess Ive been wrong for all these years)
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Scotsman
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #9 on: 05/13/09, 03:22 PM »

I dont know much about ski boot sizes but my feet are size 12.5/13
and I thought snowboarding was the Dark side. ( I guess Ive been wrong for all these years)

With that size feet why do you need a snowboard. Wink Wink
I think 28.5 mondo is equivalent to a size 12 so they might be a bit small but you can try 'em if you want.
AT is the "dark side"- you've obviously never seen this video.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4729727588189988961
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trees4me
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #10 on: 05/13/09, 03:30 PM »

I've got some size 13 ski boots you can borrow, but they're at the opposite end of the spectrum of Megarides  Wink   

PM me if you're desperate...
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Joedabaker
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #11 on: 05/13/09, 05:23 PM »

I dont know much about ski boot sizes but my feet are size 12.5/13

and I thought snowboarding was the Dark side. ( I guess Ive been wrong for all these years)

You have the same size foot as me Kyle, 29-29.5 is your size depending on the width of your foot. I have a pair of Garmont G-Rides for you and we need to figure out the liners.

The Dark Side has an alluring vibe to it.

Next are skis, the Enlighten Side!
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skinup
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #12 on: 05/13/09, 05:52 PM »

I've got a 171 mtn gun that could use some more mileage this season. 

I've been mostly on my tele setup this winter, not sure why, as I love to snowboard.  I guess I discovered the beauty of my rockered armada jjs and haven't been able to put them down.  I can live without the split for the next month.

My very pregnant wife likely won't be using her old 159 sd freeride any time soon if you think shorter is better.

PM me if interested.  Willing to support the stoke.
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Kyle Miller
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #13 on: 05/13/09, 07:17 PM »

I am happy to say that Jon Garrison has saved me big time and let me borrow his Burton 168.
I must have a few Karma points stored away for this one.

On another note I'm still down to try skiing as long as someone is willing to split the hospital bill  Grin

Thanks again for everyones help it is GREATLY appreciated
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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............
sukiakiumo
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #14 on: 05/14/09, 11:48 AM »

It was a friggan great time even though there was a longer than expected approach. I'm glad Kyle suggested it. I'm super bummed about Kyles board and not getting up Stuart, but glad that people are helping him ride into the sunset/sunrise. Means there will be a 'next time' sometime soon?...
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Erick Heyl
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #15 on: 05/15/09, 09:26 PM »

This season was a bad one (days-wize)  for MOVENHIKE, that pic of "RIPPING THE NORTH FACE" feels like a 4th day for me,   THNX.
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Back in the saddle again...
telemack
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Re: The Sleeping Giant of the Central Cascades, Mt Aix
« Reply #16 on: 05/15/09, 10:00 PM »

AT is the "dark side"- you've obviously never seen this video.

Quote

At is only the dark side from the drop-knee perspective, yo.   Cool

Telemark:  Norwegian for, "Hey man, wait for me!"
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