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| | |-+  March 6, 2010 - Chair Peak Circumnav + Kaleetan
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Author Topic: March 6, 2010 - Chair Peak Circumnav + Kaleetan  (Read 1362 times)

Posts: 63

March 6, 2010 - Chair Peak Circumnav + Kaleetan
« on: 03/08/10, 09:45 AM »

Pete, Ross, Dan and I left the Mercer Island P&R at 6am Saturday morning to spend a day at Snoqualmie Pass that wound up being more of a lovely day in the mountains than a day of awesome skiing, but it really was a lovely day! We started up the road toward Source Lake at 7:30 under absolutely bluebird skies. We had an uneventful skin up to Bryant Col with one short section that we booted. The ski down to Melakwa Lake can best be described as firm... very firm. Thankfully it was firm and mostly smooth so still turnable, but I thanked my edges more than once.

We left the lake and started toward Melakwa Pass keeping an eye on Kaleetan's ridge to our left, trying to spy the chute that would get us up there. We found a narrow, debris choked gully that looked passable so we started up it. I think it was the first obvious gully that you come to. Booting up it was easy enough, but I couldn't help thinking how on earth I was going to get back down it on my skis. Ross decided he was not all that interested in booting up it so opted to lap the fan beneath the gully that was holding some decent corn snow and then basked on a sunny knoll down below. We told him wed be back in no more than two hours.

Pete, Dan and I gained the ridge and then had to drop a couple hundred feet on the other side to get to the south facing slope and shoulder that would take us up to Kaleetan's summit. We skinned up perfect corn and I started getting very excited for the descent. About 2/3's of the way up, Dan peeked over the edge and spied a much better looking descent than the nasty debris choked gully that had given me pause on the way up. But that meant likely foregoing all the corn wed just skinned up as we wouldnt have time to summit, lap the corn and get back down to meet Ross in the two hour window wed given. Curses! Oh well. We continued to the summit, booting up a couple of very firm, icy sections that you could just sink your toe into. I was happy to have my whippet and ice axe. There isnt really enough snow on top of Kaleetan to ski from the summit, per se, however Dan did leave his skis on for the descent and managed to side step over rocks and even take a couple of turns. Pete and I opted to boot back down instead.

The descent Dan had spied did in fact go. It was steep, but broad and had a lane of lightly crusted powder that allowed for some decent turns. We traversed left towards Melakwa Pass and got in a couple hundred feet of corn snow before we stopped and hollered down valley for Ross to come up and join us. The rest of the Circumnavigation provided varying degrees of breakable crust and slightly refrozen corn. Most of the turns down Roosevelt to Snow Lake were quite fun! A quick skate across the lake and then up and over Snow Lake Divide had us back at the car at 5:15.

Ill post pictures later.

Posts: 163

Re: March 6, 2010 - Chair Peak Circumnav + Kaleetan
« Reply #1 on: 03/08/10, 10:19 AM »

Cool. I was wondering what Kaleetan was like. I hiked up Granite on Friday and the upper part of Kaleetan didn't look great from a distance.
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