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Author Topic: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10  (Read 5216 times)
CookieMonster
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Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« on: 04/12/10, 01:44 PM »

Synopsis: AleCapone, RedShift, and I toured a loop from the Stevens Pass parking to Yodelin and back to Stevens Pass.
More Pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/operativem/
Distance: 6.5 Miles
Vertical: 3300 feet

Leg 1: 1300 vertical, Stevens Pass Parking lot to Rock Garden and back down to col.
Leg 2: 1000 vertical, Valley bottom to unnamed high point.
Leg 3: 500 vertical, Col overlooking Tye Lake to unnamed high point.
Leg 4: 500 vertical, Cascade Tunnel Entrance to Stevens Pass Parking Lot

Terrain Rating: Leg 1, SIMPLE
Terrain Rating: Leg 2, CHALLENGING
Terrain Rating: Leg 3, CHALLENGING

Comments On Stability: Stability good throughout, except where surface snow was sun-affected.

Leg 1
Starting in clouds and cool conditions, we climbed from the Stevens Pass parking lot up to Skyline Lake and then up to the "rock garden". After taking a look around, and discussing options, we descended north through trees and settled powder to ~4400 feet. There were surprisingly few tracks in the valley itself, and we managed to enjoy completely untouched snow.

Leg 2
We climbed generally up and right to a col just below our next high point at ~5400 feet. We stopped at the col to take photos and discuss future lines. The sun slowly burned the clouds as we climbed, and by the time we reached the next high point, the skies were hot and blue. The appearance of the sun altered our plans.

Using AleCapone's excellent knowledge of the local terrain, we planned a ridge tour that would access a series of north-facing runs where good, stable snow would be available. From high point 2, AleCapone and RedShift descended north-northeast via an exposed entry to an old avalanche path. I took a slightly different route so that I could a.) tell them if their planned descent was safe, and b. ) photograph their descents.

Leg 3
From the second col overlooking Tye Lake, we climbed another 500 feet to our third high point. Apparently, this high point is above a run called "happy face", but none of us were quite sure where to find it. We wandered along the ridge for a while, examining possible descents. Eventually RedShift suggested that we backtrack the ridge and look a bit more carefully. He was right, and we easily located a good line.

After a quick lunch, we descended north toward Nason Creek. Throughout the day, it became apparent that conditions on south and west aspects were quickly deteriorating into a mix of soggy windslab, mashed potatoes, and wet styromfoam.

Were north faces now teetering on the brink of instability? Well, north facing slopes were still fairly cool, but several quick ski cuts by AleCapone and myself resolved our uncertainty. Unbelievably, we had almost dry or slightly damp powder for nearly 1000 vertical feet into the Nason Creek Valley.

The ski out through gorgeous old growth forest was pleasant, with intermittent views of Lichtenburg Mountain mixed with impressive explosions from tree bombs. Upon reaching Yodelin, AleCapone lead a quick side tour to the entrance of the abandoned Cascade Tunnel.

Of course, Yodelin is a couple miles from the Stevens Pass parking lot ... which ... meant... hitchhiking. Neither AleCapone nor myself look like the kind of people that any sensible person would stop and pick up. RedShift, on the other hand, looks very normal and friendly. Despite this, we were unable to secure a ride and were forced to walk back along Highway 2.

The walk back was actually great fun and suffering. Good times were had by all with sunny weather, great company, and good snow.

Our Route:


AleCapone:


RedShift:

« Last Edit: 04/12/10, 02:03 PM by CookieMonster » Logged

wolfs
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #1 on: 04/12/10, 02:01 PM »

AleCapone picture is one of the more amazing skiing pictures that don't include actual skier that I have ever seen. Looks like Hollywood-grade SFX.
Had you hit the tour LAST Saturday you could have availed yourself of the shuttle bus that was ferrying lift skiers up from the Yodelin lot (AND the Nordic lot).
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CookieMonster
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #2 on: 04/12/10, 02:22 PM »

Thanks for the kind words.

I usually take a couple hundred photos, with the hope that something turns out good.

During this trip, I took 219 photos, including about 50 action shots. The two skier photos above were the best action shots of the day. My Flickr account has some recent photos of a trip to Heliotrope Ridge ( pages 2 and 3 ) ... there are some really good shots of AleCapone in the powder. I took 225 photos during the Heliotrope Ridge trip, and about 25 turned out really well, including 10 or 15 of the ~100 action shots.

Unfortunately, most of the action shots from this tour didn't turn out very well ... my timing was clearly a bit off the mark.
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Zap
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #3 on: 04/12/10, 04:21 PM »

Excellent TR, map and photos.
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JibberD
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #4 on: 04/12/10, 08:51 PM »

Hey Cookie,

If it's okay with you, I've saved photo #2 of AleCapone's wake as my PC's background.

Too cool!
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-Doug O
JibberD
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #5 on: 04/12/10, 09:02 PM »

Ps, I did that tour with a herniated disk in my lumbar about 5 years ago. At the time I only knew my back was sore, but by the end of that tour I knew it was serious. Those flats at the end of the tour coming into the backdoor of Yodelin were rough. We couldn't decide whether to skin or ski and ended up doing a lot of sidestepping and backsliding in hopes we would find long lines to coast in ski mode. How did you do it?

I ended up having surgery to remove the herniation and have been good to go ever since. But haven't been back to this tour.

Thanks for the report, map and photos.
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-Doug O
sconey
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #6 on: 04/12/10, 09:05 PM »

Thanks again for the fun day.  There is so much to learn about touring.  I never knew you could snort powdered juice mix.  Yowee.  On a more serious note, did you have to blather about boot-packing that awesome stretch of hwy 2 ?  Now everyone's going to want to do it.  Another secret stash ruined, I tell ya...
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CookieMonster
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #7 on: 04/12/10, 09:27 PM »

Thanks for the kind words. Non-commercial use of that image is just fine. AleCapone was kind enough to forgo his usual sitting fee! The idea was, of course, to capture him in the shot, but my timing just didn't work out that way.

For Jibber: I can't imagine doing this tour with a herniated disk. For the record, we tried to coast as much as possible, but eventually skinned the last section to Yodelin. Maybe 1/2 mile.

RedShift: LOL, but I thought we agreed that the bootpack was the highlight and not to be missed? Don't give away my secrets about snorting instant coffee and dry drinking!

TAY Crowd: Don't skip the bootpack along Highway 2. It takes the edge off and puts the edge on all the same time.
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Don_B
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #8 on: 04/12/10, 09:47 PM »

very nice TR and pix. Thanks especially for the route Option 2. We've gazed longingly upon it from the endless traverse in the snow above, thinking if only we'd had some sweet young person along for hitching bait maybe we could go down there. Now we know.
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telemack
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #9 on: 04/12/10, 10:07 PM »

Last April Alecapone and I did some runs off the radio tower and Point 5400, then out the basin to Yodelin and SR 2 as well.  Cool stuff.
I had good luck with the hitch back to our car---after the skis and Alecapone were hidden behind a snowbank!   Roll Eyes
« Last Edit: 04/12/10, 10:11 PM by telemack » Logged

There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
George Santayana
JibberD
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #10 on: 04/13/10, 06:43 AM »

I had good luck with the hitch back to our car---after the skis and Alecapone were hidden behind a snowbank!   Roll Eyes

Are you saying you're a friendly-looking sasquatch compared to AleCapone?

Geez, what's this guy look like? I'm a little frightened! Wink
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-Doug O
John Morrow
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #11 on: 04/13/10, 06:58 AM »

very nice TR and pix. Thanks especially for the route Option 2. We've gazed longingly upon it from the endless traverse in the snow above, thinking if only we'd had some sweet young person along for hitching bait maybe we could go down there. Now we know.


Not to give anything away, Don, but park a 2nd car at Yodelin and that makes it very attainable along with cool things further on.  But I didn't say it.....
J
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alecapone
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #12 on: 04/13/10, 07:49 AM »

HAha... I'm not that bad! Just not well shaven.

Great day and write up CM. Thats the best pic of me without me ever! Went straight to my wall paper as well(replacing one from heliotrope). What would that type of snow be described as? 

John,

Sad part is we had two vehicles in the same lot since our meeting on the hill was unexpected.  We discussed a few shuttle options that we could have done with some prior planning.
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scott
jwplotz
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #13 on: 04/13/10, 01:31 PM »

I don't know...Scott is a little gruff, urban mid-west tough. Not sure I would pick him up!
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telemack
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #14 on: 04/14/10, 03:01 PM »

HAha... I'm not that bad! Just not well shaven.
What would that type of snow be described as? 
Alecapone is my bro and I'm honored to have his "shredded wood-chips" plume on my wallpaper. 
And I know I'm funny-looking, but I have a big smile  Cheesy  and one guy w/o boards is an easier stop decision than 2 with. 
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There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
George Santayana
CookieMonster
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Re: Heather Ridge Loop, 4/10/10
« Reply #15 on: 04/14/10, 06:49 PM »

What would that type of snow be described as?

AleCapone looks just fine, it was probably me who scared the drivers off.

The technical description for that type of snow is "decomposing and fragmented precipitation particles". I usually think of it as "tired snow" because it has little response when a dynamic load is applied. It just sits there and "takes it".
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