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| | |-+  April 18, 2010: Washington Pass (Blue Lake TH)
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Author Topic: April 18, 2010: Washington Pass (Blue Lake TH)  (Read 3624 times)
sheispiste
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April 18, 2010: Washington Pass (Blue Lake TH)
« on: 04/22/10, 10:29 PM »

There was a thread not too long ago about why post or write a Trip Report. (I can't find it--ugh) Some bantered for the snow beta, some guys went gaga for, or against, gorilla beating-gloating, and others are fanatics for photographs (that I still can't manage to embed properly). I like writing a TR for the challenge to summarize the day of good company, glorious sunshine, and blessings of our bit of our magnificent planet into a bit of words and pictures. That said, what follows is merely a mélange of sweet talk, and good grace and a couple of sun soaked photo links. I love skiing. I love the mountains. I love the snow. Plus, I was due for a dose of vitamin D.

I’ve only been out to the Washington Pass area—gasp—three times in my tenure in the Pacific Northwest. Twice for larches in luscious color; this time to witness the marvel of the snowpack and the cacophony of silence and spring slides. 
Kevin and I left Seattle in an early morning fog, making bets that it would break by Arlington. Sun beckoned us to the pass and we found Jon, who drove in from Spokane, packing up his bivy at the overlook parking lot. Miles joined us from Everett—we were all packing a Nikon.

Hurray for the hootenanny! The first Sunday after the pass was opened, and the pull outs were packed with Subarus and smiles. One car pulled up with a license plate trim boasting of a small town in Connecticut, (near to where I’m from) and as I introduced myself to this guy, I discovered that he’s actually from my hometown and we graduated from the same high school. As he and his buddy post-holed in the skin track to climb—what, no skis!—and we played the small world game. Unfortunately, I tipped in a boot hole twice!

Those, and many more, boot pack tracks made for the only challenging part of the skin. Snow was firm and forgiving, unless there was little underfoot. At those times, and where the pitch was a bit steeper, it was slippery. However, time in the sun morphed that snow up quickly.

At the bench before Blue Lake Col, we lunched and watched a crew of folks ascend the steep staircase, or descend down the slope, including a dog! Reports from the south side indicated that the conditions were getting mushy in the spectacular sun. By the time Jon finished chatting it up with some serendipitous friends, we made way for a nearby knob to take in the broad views of Cutthroat, Golden Horn, and beyond. We had no objectives for the day other than to enjoy the snow, the sun, and the company. So we skied out much the way we came in. The layer of corn was nice, but on top of that a good 5 inches of mashed potatoes, requiring some serious back seat skiing on the gravy train.  Miles made many a leap!

Jon and Miles returned the next day to attempt the full Birthday Tour, but reported “it was dicey on the other side of the col- mashed potatoes on top of buried powder layer- miles sunk several feet cutting across and it collapsed about 6-8' in front of him! So we headed back down and skied that gully down to the hairpin.”  It appears that RobM found slightly better conditions this week.

Jon walked away from the weekend with a sweet tan line from his headband and clocked another year round the sun.  Happy Birthday friend! Ski ya soon!
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any day in the mountains is a good day in the mountains
Marcus
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Re: April 18, 2010: Washington Pass (Blue Lake TH)
« Reply #1 on: 04/23/10, 07:18 AM »

Nice Jess -- great TR.

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Monika
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Re: April 18, 2010: Washington Pass (Blue Lake TH)
« Reply #2 on: 04/23/10, 08:10 AM »

"There was a thread not too long ago about why post or write a Trip Report. (I can't find it--ugh) Some bantered for the snow beta, some guys went gaga for, or against, gorilla beating-gloating, and others are fanatics for photographs (that I still can't manage to embed properly)"

...yeah, some of my thoughts too sheispiste. 
Sunday Khanh and I were surprised no one had been up to the col since the last storm.  Who would have expected a starry night Saturday to make for ski crampon conditions getting up-- gave mine to Khanh and stomped up with my new fritschivolklkiku setup. Had terrific corn first tracks early in the morning.  Second time down, were joined by the beginning of the masses.  Took other runs later on different aspects holding good corn.  Khanh's first time to WA Pass and she was game for all.  gorgeous day out!


* KhanhWApass.jpg (172.34 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 1161 times.)

* col.jpg (191.38 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 1138 times.)
« Last Edit: 04/23/10, 11:22 AM by Monika » Logged
CookieMonster
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Re: April 18, 2010: Washington Pass (Blue Lake TH)
« Reply #3 on: 04/23/10, 11:57 AM »

Great trip report and beautiful pix.

How about that couloir visible across the valley in Monika's 2nd photo? Is that the east side of Silver Star?
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Monika
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Re: April 18, 2010: Washington Pass (Blue Lake TH)
« Reply #4 on: 04/23/10, 12:35 PM »

Great trip report and beautiful pix.

How about that couloir visible across the valley in Monika's 2nd photo? Is that the east side of Silver Star?

kangaroo ridge
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CookieMonster
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Re: April 18, 2010: Washington Pass (Blue Lake TH)
« Reply #5 on: 04/23/10, 12:41 PM »

Boing, Boing, Boing. I wish I could hop like a Kangaroo.

Thanks for the data.
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Kevin Steffa
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Re: April 18, 2010: Washington Pass (Blue Lake TH)
« Reply #6 on: 04/27/10, 11:29 PM »

Thanks for the report Jessica! Here is a link to my photos from our trip last week and our return this week for another round.

http://picasaweb.google.com/kevinsteffa/10_04_WaPass

- Kevin

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- Mossman
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