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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2009 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  May 2009 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 20-21, 2009; Mt. Stuart - Cascadian Couloir
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Author Topic: May 20-21, 2009; Mt. Stuart - Cascadian Couloir  (Read 2867 times)

Posts: 366

May 20-21, 2009; Mt. Stuart - Cascadian Couloir
« on: 05/22/09, 02:56 PM »

Stellar weather and snow conditions combined nicely for a spectacular climb and corn snow utopia ski off Mt. Stuart's false summit and down the Cascadian Couloir!   

Drew, Cory, and myself set out from the Beverly Creek trailhead (road is snow-free to the trailhead) on Wednesday morning.  Beverly Creek trail was snow-free for about a mile (though shoes came off briefly to ford Bean Creek).  Began skinning near ~4,200-ft elevation, crossed over the pass into Turnpike Creek and descended to the Ingalls Creek valley.  The snowpack is melting off quickly below about 4,800 feet (some "portages" necessary lower in the Turnpike Creek valley).  The lower slopes of Stuart are now quite boney.  We set up camp in a clearing near the floor of Ingalls Creek, below the Cascadian Couloir.

With a 4 am camp depature time, we headed up the melted-out fan below the Cascadian Couloir by headlamp.  After a brief bush whack and ascending about 800 vertical feet, we reached a long snow ribbon which greatly sped up the ascent.  Began cramponing just below the entrance of the Cascadian Couloir.  A hard freeze overnight made for excellent cramponing for over 3,000 vertical feet up to the false summit.  The couloir entrance is nearly melted out and the gut of the lower couloir itself is getting boney in sections. 

At a prominent fork in the couloir near 6,800-feet we veered slightly left as the right fork was completely melted-out.  Found a route of continuous snow through the upper steepish section of the Cascadian and out onto Stuart's broad south slope for a fairly straight forward ascent up to the false summit. 

After about an hour-and-a-half hang out on a flat ridge-top bench near the false summit, the sun had softened the surface to perfect corn.  The turns off the top were fast and stellar and the corn kept getting better as we descended into the Cascadian.  Ecastic shouts of joy were promient throughout the descent. 

Avoided some of the rough-surface snow in the gut of the couloir skiing smooth snow on the western side of the gully.  A short series of jump turns on bumpy snow brought us through the couloir exit and onto smoother slopes on the fan below.  Snow cover ended abruptly about 600 vertical feet above our camp site.

The rush from the great ski made the loooooong slog out worthwhile, though we felt throughly wrecked reaching the car 14 hours after we had starting the couloir climb.

Significant snow meltage occurred in the Beverly Creek valley during our trip, as we shouldered the skis about a half-mile short of where we started skinning the day before.  The knee-deep ford through ice cold water of Bean Creek felt great on sore legs.

* DSC_2265Drew-charging-off-false-summit.jpg (92.56 KB, 800x532 - viewed 986 times.)

* DSC_2281Cory--MtStuart-south-slope.jpg (91.41 KB, 800x532 - viewed 982 times.)

* DSC_2306Drew--gut-of-Cascadian.jpg (111.47 KB, 800x532 - viewed 969 times.)
« Last Edit: 05/22/09, 03:01 PM by cascadesfreak » Logged
ron j

Posts: 2602

Re: May 20-21, 2009; Mt. Stuart - Cascadian Couloir
« Reply #1 on: 05/22/09, 05:42 PM »

Nice one, Chris,
Great timing.

"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston

Posts: 440

Re: May 20-21, 2009; Mt. Stuart - Cascadian Couloir
« Reply #2 on: 05/22/09, 08:25 PM »

Cool tour and photos!  The only time of the year when the Crapcadian is tolerable...
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