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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2009 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  November 2009 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  November 21, 2009, Mt. St. Helens, Worm Flows
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Author Topic: November 21, 2009, Mt. St. Helens, Worm Flows  (Read 1628 times)

Posts: 1

November 21, 2009, Mt. St. Helens, Worm Flows
« on: 11/23/09, 12:47 PM »

Here is my first trip report of TAY. Hope it's worth your time!

We headed up to St. Helens from Portland, departing the parking lot around 9:30. No car tracks in the road past the turnoff to Climber's Bivouac / Monitor Ridge. The parking lot at Marble Mountain Snow Park appeared to not have been plowed all year, which was fine with us, because nobody had yet remembered to procure a Washington Sno Park pass.

Hollywood Z and YT have been skiing around the Sierra and Tetons quite a bit, respectively, and each have a decent amount of Cascade experience from the last few years, as well. Accompanying us was experienced mountaineer / 1st time skier TheMexican. This gentleman threw himself into the idea of BC skiing with great gusto, studying Snow Sense and Martin Volken's book religiously over the last few months. We quizzed him on the way up, and were satisfied that his knowledge and quest for learning would keep us all comfortable. After a session teaching him the ways of the BCA Tracker, all that was left was to proceed cautiously, and continue education in the field in lieu of his impending official avvy training.

The snow falling from the clouds above was light, fluffy, and altogether rather un-South Cascades-like. A rather flat and uninspiring first couple miles up to timberline on a mountain with which we were all as-yet unfamiliar showed evidence of the incrdeible snowpack which was to come. Once above timberline, Hollywood and myself marveled at the perfect combination of pleasure and safety which we were climbing up. Pushing our poles every thirty feet or so on the way up, not once did I feel a crusty layer. It was soft for about 10 inches (!!!), then a comfort-inspiring graduation to hardpack that seemed to promise little harm to my new El Hombres. Even the cornices were fluffy, and windward sides of ridges had very mild crusts on top, with none below. We only made it about 1200 feet above timberline before the dark clouds rolled in, but it was enough to promise three different faces of real linked turns in 8-10" of the type of snow you're lucky to find in February, let alone November, this far south. TheMexican took his time getting his ski legs down, following ridge lines while Hollywood or myself took turns making turns while the other stayed close behind TheMexican, with the three of us always maintaining sight of each other and meeting up 100 yards or less downhill.

The socked-in weather ended up keeping us from going any higher than would have been wise with a 1st time skier. A seven mile round trip St. Helens excursion is a helluva way for this fellow to dive headlong into the skiing world, and he continually thanked us for encouraging him to take skiing up. At the end of the day, he admitted that maybe a couple resort days might be in order before taking on anything more exciting than that (the lines we found for him provided him with maybe four turns on 30+ slopes). I was more than happy to use a day this early in the winter not to pursue crazy lines for ego inflation, but to get a lovely workout in beautiful snow and walk away with no more than 13 perfect turns. The snow was good enough that I would have been happy with one turn in it. I hope to see a collision of stability and depth like that again this winter, but I won't hold my breath.

Once back at the truck enjoying beer and tunes, TheMexican remarked that it was easier going up than going down. I disagreed. But we all agreed that if this was a sign of things to come, happiness will be very easy to come by this winter.

{I realized too late that this is in the wrong forum. it should be in "November 2009 Backcountry Trip Reports"}
« Last Edit: 11/29/09, 05:33 PM by Charles » Logged

Posts: 191

Re: November 21, 2009, Mt. St. Helens, Worm Flows
« Reply #1 on: 11/23/09, 01:22 PM »

great tr ... entertaining to say the least esp fm my perspective as a newbie .. thx for taking the time .. looking forward to more ..
« Last Edit: 11/29/09, 05:34 PM by Charles » Logged

Posts: 292

Re: November 21, 2009, Mt. St. Helens, Worm Flows
« Reply #2 on: 11/28/09, 03:11 PM »

Thanks for your inspiring maybe I should head there too!!!!! Tough to leave when 2800' vert. is only 20 miles away.
« Last Edit: 11/29/09, 05:34 PM by Charles » Logged
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