telemark skiingbackcountry skiingPacific NorthwestWashington and Oregonweather linksThe Yuki AwardsMt. Rainier and Mt. Adams
Turns All Year
www.turns-all-year.com
  Help | Search | Login | Register
Turns All Year Trip Reports
Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
06/22/17, 11:21 AM

Support Snohomish County's
Helicopter Rescue Team
 
Trip Reports Sponsor
American Alpine Institute
American Alpine Institute
Turns All Year Trip Reports
(1) Viewing these pages constitutes your acceptance of the Terms of Use.
(2) Disclaimer: the accuracy of information here is unknown, use at your own risk.
(3) Trip Report monthly boards: only actual trip report starts a new thread.
(4) Keep it civil and constructive - that is the norm here.
 
FOAC Snow
Info Exchange


NWAC Avalanche
Forecast
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  February 2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
:
« previous next »
Pages: [1] | Go Down Print
Author Topic: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak  (Read 29741 times)
andyrew
Member
Offline

Posts: 270


Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« on: 02/23/10, 02:44 PM »

Scottk, Stefan and I skied from the Gerdine-Cool Col at 9100 feet on Glacier Peak on Sunday.

A late start from Seattle Friday afternoon dashed our hopes of getting beyond the Mackinaw shelter that night.  The road and trail are in excellent shape, with only two easily-bypassed blowdowns and a shiny new bridge over Red Creek.  Views behind us to Sloan distracted us from the hard work of carrying skis and boots and winter gear along the dry trail.  Once we got to the shelter, we stayed up late attempting to keep the campfire burning, mistakenly believing the next day would be an easy one.



[Sloan Peak in the Afternoon, Fire! at Mackinaw Shelter]

Reaching continuous snow at 3600 feet the following morning was cause for celebration.  It was nearly 10AM, and the late winter sun warmed us as we changed into boots and crampons.  The sun was also rapidly warming the south-facing slope we needed to climb, we soon realized, as we occasionally sunk through the 190-pound crust and resorted to the time-tested "alpine wallow" to climb out of tree wells.  A better plan would have been to climb the west finger of the avalanche chute, which was mellower and had better coverage.  Or skin up the trail.

We finally made it to the bench at 4200 feet, changed to skins and nervously eyed the headwall above.  After some debate, we skinned east across the bench, including one sizable pile of fresh-looking  avy debris and aimed for a steep, treed rib that offered some protection before it petered out to open slopes until the angle lessened towards the top.  A more conservatively-vegetated option, but potentially quite circuitous, would be to head climbers left through steep timber towards Red Mountain.  Better yet to climb this slope with crampons while it is frozen solid.

We meandered along the ridge towards White Mountain, not quite sure how we were going to enter the White Chuck drainage, since the north side of the ridge was steep and corniced, until a promisingly-looking gap in the crenelations appeared.  The ramp, located at 6600 feet a bit west of the White Mountain, led to a series of bowls and benches.  We also met Andrew, who was traveling solo, and the four of us skied down into the White Chuck valley, at first on good settled powder, then a little breakable crust and various forms of wind-affect.  Andrew and us parted ways, and we made camp at 5600 feet just as night fell.



[First views of Glacier Peak, Dropping into the White Chuck valley]


The next morning we left camp at 7:30, and followed the drainages to Glacier Gap (the Suiattle-White Chuck Col), arriving at 11.  The summit was still a humbling-distance away. We followed the Gerdine ridge a ways, then dropped onto the Gerdine Glacier and made a rising traverse to the east.  We reached the Gerdine-Cool Col at 2PM with neither time nor energy to go any higher, yet awestruck by the views nearly 360 around us.  To the south lay Daniels, Hinman, Overcoat and Chimney and eventually Rainier.  To the west, the Olympics poked through.  To the southeast, the Dakobed, cloaked in white poked up craggily. 
We skied variable snow: from soft sastrugified windpack to shallow powder to gently-breakable crust, then reversed the long, rolling traverse back to camp.


[Still a long ways off]


[Ever upwards in the Gerdine ridge]

Monday morning, we struck camp and skinned back south towards the notch in White Mountain's corniced ridge, arriving at 11AM to slightly-undercooked corn.  We made a few turns here and there and mainly traversed west on the steep (45 degrees in places) slope on the tasty corn snow.  Below a couple hundred vertical feet of truly-atrocious breakable crust transitioned to stable, summertime corn, which we skied through increasingly-dense slide alder to 3300 feet, where we encountered the snow-covered trail.  Stefan and Scott opted to ski a little further and paid a modest penalty in the form of  some ski-jousting with the brush when the snow predictably ran out 150 vertical feet above the next switchback.  We guzzled water from the creek, ate our bit of food, hoisted our packs and hiked out.


[Slide alder slalom]

I am a little disappointed we didn't summit.  But the opportunity to be that deep into the cascades in winter only whet my appetite to return this spring to ski some more.


Logged
Marcus
Administrator
Offline

Posts: 2438


WWW
Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #1 on: 02/23/10, 02:53 PM »

Nice work making the most of the high pressure -- how cold did it get at night?  What was your sleep/camp arrangement?
Logged
andyrew
Member
Offline

Posts: 270


Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #2 on: 02/23/10, 03:05 PM »

I'd say just down into the lower 20s.  We brought a BD megamid, entrenched the floor and sealed the lower edges with snow.  This produced lots of frost on the inside, but since it was pretty calm we didn't end up with too much on our sleeping bags.  My bivy sack was useful to keep my bag dry, although Scott and Stefan were fine without.

This would be a pretty cruel arrangement in stormy weather.
Logged
JimH
Member
Offline

Posts: 255


Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #3 on: 02/23/10, 04:34 PM »

I'm still jealous, even if you didn't summit. Nice work guys.
Logged
Snow Bell
Member
Offline

Posts: 529


Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #4 on: 02/23/10, 05:34 PM »

Good effort guys.  Thanks for posting.
I was looking forward to seeing your report after I read your solicitation for partners.  I would have loved to tag along if I had been free.  Maybe this spring for round two...
Logged

Life is going to slide by you one way or another
ski_photomatt
Member
Offline

Posts: 352


Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #5 on: 02/24/10, 07:51 AM »

Thanks for the report and winter photos from this beautiful place!
Logged
Scottk
Member
Offline

Posts: 144


Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #6 on: 02/24/10, 09:52 AM »

I completed 2 backpack trips through the Glacier Peak area almost 30 years ago (yes, I was a child then).  Although it was always one of my favorite settings I haven't been back since.   To be in such a stunning alpine setting on a beautiful February weekend was truely a memerable experience.  Next time I would set up camp in the White Chuck basin (higher than we did) and plan on at least 4 days.  You are surrounded by excellant ski slopes and it's a more reasonable day to the summit.   As Andrew suggests, I would recommend climbing the slope to White Mountain ridge in the morning when the snow is still frozen.
Logged
kath
Member
Offline

Posts: 192


Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #7 on: 02/24/10, 07:15 PM »

sweet .. good to know conditions up that way .. great tr and pix
Logged
cumulus
Member
Offline

Posts: 424


Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #8 on: 02/25/10, 07:41 AM »

great TR Andrew! Thanks for the trip both of you! (from one who signed on at the eleventh hour...)

I put up some more pics at nwhikers, and expanded on some mountain nomenclature...
Logged

Stefan
JimD
Member
Offline

Posts: 233


WWW
Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #9 on: 02/25/10, 11:43 AM »

Sweet. Good use of the weather/conditions.
Logged
runningclouds
Member
Offline

Posts: 418


WWW
Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #10 on: 02/25/10, 06:38 PM »

Beautiful photos. Great trip report too.
Logged
androolus
Member
Offline

Posts: 220


Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #11 on: 03/08/10, 08:25 AM »

Thanks for the skin tracks. And thanks for the photos...I didn't bring a camera. So I guess I'm a skin track and a photo poacher. Woohoo.

When I followed your skin track on Sunday, I kept expecting to see your tent somewhere. Didn't realize that you camped 500 feet from my bivy site. I kept thinking that you went a really long way under moonlight. Duh. In retrospect, I thinking camping at the snout of the white chuck would have been best. Close enough to make a summit bid without having to get up at 3am. Plus there is a lot of terrain to ski there off the kololo peaks onto the white chuck.

Next El Nino, I'm going back.

Yeah and uh...looking at the Becky guide photo of the gerdine glacier, there seems to be some vertically oriented crevasses. Perhaps I was foolish to ski directly up that instead of staying to the ridge....hmmm.
« Last Edit: 03/08/10, 08:28 AM by androolus » Logged
Atraslin
Member
Offline

Posts: 138


Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #12 on: 05/15/10, 11:17 PM »

Cool I wonder what the conditions would be like now.
Logged
Mtraslin
Member
Offline

Posts: 177


Re: Feb 19-22, Gerdine Glacier, Glacier Peak
« Reply #13 on: 05/26/10, 07:24 PM »

Good one!

I tried last year ,thanks for the report.

I hope the weather gets better, I am looking for people who are heading that way in the near future....
Logged
Pages: [1] | Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Login with username, password and session length

Thank you to our sponsors!
click to visit our sponsor: Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
click to visit our sponsor: Marmot Mountain Works
Marmot Mountain Works
click to visit our sponsor: Second Ascent
Second Ascent
click to visit our sponsor: American Alpine Institute
American Alpine Institute
click to visit our sponsor: Pro Guiding Service
Pro Guiding Service
Contact turns-all-year.com

Turns All Year Trip Reports ©2001-2010 Turns All Year LLC. All Rights Reserved

The opinions expressed in posts are those of the poster and do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of Trip Reports administrators or Turns All Year LLC


Turns All Year Trip Reports | Powered by SMF 1.0.6.
© 2001-2005, Lewis Media. All Rights Reserved.