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| | |-+  June 27, 2009, Sherman and Grant Peaks
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Author Topic: June 27, 2009, Sherman and Grant Peaks  (Read 2061 times)
Lowell_Skoog
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June 27, 2009, Sherman and Grant Peaks
« on: 06/28/09, 11:15 AM »



Matt and John climb near Crag View. Sherman Peak rises above.


Having not skied for several weeks, I was happy when Matt and John allowed me to tag along with them on a ski climb of Mt Baker. We drove to the Schriebers Meadow trailhead Friday night and bivied. Around 5:30 Saturday morning we began hiking the Scott Paul trail. We found patchy snow after the trail turned the corner into the east fork of Sulphur Creek. When we reached the 4600ft saddle above Sandy Creek, the snow became continuous and we switched to skis.

We saw few skiers on the mountain. We encountered David N. breaking camp after a solo ski on Friday. Most of the people on the mountain were on foot, using the Railroad Grade approach. We climbed to Sherman Crater and huddled out of the wind, which was blowing steadily over 30 mph. We climbed Sherman Peak via the west ridge and enjoyed a blustery view from the top. We'd originally planned to ski the east side of Sherman Peak and climb the Boulder Glacier to the summit of Mt Baker. But the Boulder Glacier was more broken than I remembered from mid-June last year, so we descended the way we came.



Traversing above Sherman Crater.


We traversed around the rim of Sherman Crater to its west saddle, marveling at wispy banners of cloud that were forming over all the ridges and high points of the mountain. The clouds were driven by high winds and were constantly changing. They reminded me of the scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when spirits fly out of the treasure chest and turn into demons in flight. (I left home with two nearly-dead batteries in my camera, so I didn't get any pictures of them.) The other-worldly spectacle of the clouds was enhanced by the roar of steam vents beneath our feet as we balanced along the narrow crater rim.

We skinned up the Roman Wall to the summit of Mt Baker but didn't linger since the wind was relentless. On the descent we found good skiing on well consolidated summer snow. The snow was smooth above 7000ft, with suncups and runnels lower. We thought a 6000ft, south facing descent was quite satisfactory for late June. Due to family plans, this will probably be my last ski day of the season. It was a great one!



John skis Squak Glacier.

« Last Edit: 06/28/09, 11:43 AM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
skykilo
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Re: June 27, 2009, Sherman and Grant Peaks
« Reply #1 on: 06/28/09, 12:35 PM »

Congrats on getting out.  I hate missing out.
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Telemon
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Re: June 27, 2009, Sherman and Grant Peaks
« Reply #2 on: 06/29/09, 11:23 AM »

I am contemplating doing this same trip on July 1st under a bluebird sky. I am concerned about the condition of the snow bridges as I may not be able to organize a party of 3 or more, making any rescue attempts difficult. Do you think that it would be unwise to climb the upper Squak with only one partner?

Thanks,
Bob
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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?
Lowell_Skoog
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Re: June 27, 2009, Sherman and Grant Peaks
« Reply #3 on: 06/29/09, 01:26 PM »

I am contemplating doing this same trip on July 1st under a bluebird sky. I am concerned about the condition of the snow bridges as I may not be able to organize a party of 3 or more, making any rescue attempts difficult. Do you think that it would be unwise to climb the upper Squak with only one partner?

Everybody's risk assessment is different, but I don't think it would be unwise to go with a party of two on July 1. We crossed a few places where the snow surface was beginning to sag, showing that a crevasse would eventually open there.  But it didn't seem imminent. I think the key to safety is to get up and down the mountain before the snow gets really soft. We wore harnesses and carried a rope, but never tied into it. Roping up during the ascent would be a more conservative approach.
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ski_photomatt
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Re: June 27, 2009, Sherman and Grant Peaks
« Reply #4 on: 06/29/09, 03:39 PM »

Thanks for the TR, photos and turns Lowell.  Sherman Peak is a worthwhile side trip on the way to the summit and is very easily accessible from this side of the mountain.  Despite all the excellent corn skiing, the highlight for me was traversing the narrow snow ridge above the steam crater.  The view down into the crater was wild and the sound of the steam escaping was impressive, just like a gigantic espresso maker.  The thin clouds flowing over the ridges were also quite interesting.  They were very thin -- when skiing across the summit it seemed they were less then 20 ft deep -- and stretched out into long thin filaments.
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