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| |-+  May 2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 9, 2010, Mt Shuksan, Shannon ridge/Sulphide
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Author Topic: May 9, 2010, Mt Shuksan, Shannon ridge/Sulphide  (Read 3522 times)
mothership
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May 9, 2010, Mt Shuksan, Shannon ridge/Sulphide
« on: 05/11/10, 02:09 AM »

I'm always amazed at the variety of things that can go down on a ski trip. My first "alpine start" began very well; 1:15 woke up and packed the car to go pick up the rest of the crew. By 4:10 we were leaving a car with a flat tire at the Shannon ridge trail head packing skis and boots. A little more than 1 mile in there was a few inched of frozen snow on the trail and we skinned from there on. Most of the trail was good but the steeper sections in the old clear cut had icy tracks that were very hard to hold an edge on, but the snow was soft in the trees at sunrise. Following an old skin track up through the trees on the ridge was easy with plenty of snow all the way to the pass above Shannon ridge. After a slippery skin up to the pass we opted to traverse on the soft south facing slope and not follow the previous track that went up and over the ridge to the north. With an inch of wind blown snow in a hard skin track and a breakable crust in the "fresh" conditions were looking great but it was hot. After striping to base layers all around I noticed I had sheared the head on one of the mounting screws for my black diamond 01's. With our least experienced member getting tiered and nervous about skiing down we opted to have lunch and turn around at the bench below the Sulphide glacier ~6551ft. After taking in the amazing views for a bit it was time for the fun part! The snow was soft and just better than slush (nice, fast, soft and not too catchy). About 600 ft down i waited for a LONG time (new skiers need lots of encouragement and some examples to get going). With a little break and an easy traverse to the pass ahead (Picture 1) sad faces were getting brighter. The West faces between the pass and Shannon ridge were still crusty but smooth making for some very long right hand tele turns. Shannon ridge was soft the rest of the way down going from binding deep to boot deep. After i was sure that our novice skier was able to avoid trees i broke off from those two and headed down to get a start on changing the tire. skiing was great by baker standards (not too sticky, deep, wet and soft) making sure to get all the turns I could I jumped off every bump i could on the way to my shoes at ~3000ft. The hike down was warm with an inch or two of slush-mud on the trail for a ways. With street clothes on and some mud from a tire change it was time to head back safely to a mothers day dinner.

Conditions notes:
Road is good with many large pot holes on the baker lake road!
trail is in good shape with minimal snow until it wraps around the hill and heads north at ~3000ft. Very minimal snow on the trail from this point on with a few stream holes melted out. Then after the second switchback ~3500 a decent amount of snow starts(a few feet). coverage was good in the old growth but tree wells are getting wide and deep. Once the trees open near upper Shannon ridge there seems to be lots of snow. Above 5000ft most everything but cliff faces are snow covered. The Sulphide glacier looked well covered along the ridge and the summit pyramid looked great.

Don't forget its all about having fun and enjoying the trip. Happy turns!


* shannon_pass.JPG (49.99 KB, 800x449 - viewed 910 times.)

* sulphide_5-9-10.jpg (40.55 KB, 750x306 - viewed 937 times.)

* summit_pyramid_5-9-10.JPG (30.38 KB, 746x455 - viewed 934 times.)
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