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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  July 2010 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  July 29, 2010, Fryingpan to Whitman Crest
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Author Topic: July 29, 2010, Fryingpan to Whitman Crest  (Read 1852 times)

Posts: 634

July 29, 2010, Fryingpan to Whitman Crest
« on: 07/29/10, 11:33 PM »

Seems like it has been a while since I have seen a Fryingpan report. And in fact, when I went up there today, I was struck by how little evidence of skier travel there is up there right now. Very few fossil tracks and I don't think any recent ones. I didn't even see that many goat tracks, actually.

Snowboarded today for a change of pace. My boarding skilz were decidedly rusty, hadn't rode the board since the lifts closed.

Patchy snow on the final ascent to Summerland that will be gone pretty soon, The meadows immediately near the shelter are green now, but with that flat look like they just emerged. And no real flowers. (Some decent flowers lower from the bridge up tho.) Bugs not bad, with the notable exception of this random spot in the forest on the way back where I got 5 bites in a couple minutes despite heading thru there at 3mph and quickly had to scramble up some repellent. WTF? It was like an ambush!

Took the Goat Cirque method of access (continue past shelter for 1/3 mile til the big horseshoe basin of the 'Goat Cirque'; climb it by easiest appearing snowslopes lookers left; run ridge til reach little meltpools at waterfall edges, then ascend lower Fryingpan on lookers right and continue on the main body toward Whitman Crest). Worked pretty well, just an inch or so of boot pen. I like going that way better than the tedium of booting Meany Crest. 6 hours to WC from car.

Schrund that often forms at Whitman Crest below the high point of crest not opened yet but looking close. Also two weird depressions near it that looked like small crevasses from distance but seemed filled in ?

Suncups not bad at all. A little bit of very low runneling in places but again not bad yet. The upper slope of Whitman Crest wasn't the best it's ever been, but the middle flatter stretch and the lower Fryingpan were both nice. The Goat Cirque cups were a little tricky in spots they didn't get as much sun, choppy and tight despite their small size, but on the steeper slopes that got sun everything was soft and good. Didn't do any of the steeper lines because they had gone into shade by the time I got back down there. With perhaps three total dismounts I rode from Crest to within about 200yrds of shelter, at that point where the trail crosses the stream. 70%+ on the JOM. If you went down the Meany Crest side could maybe eke out a little more vert but not much more.

Saw just two loner goats. And no iceworms, which sort of surprised me. Temps were just about right for making sure wasn't oversoftened in the late afternoon. Saw a few cumulus especially further east, and there were also some interestingly spontaneously formed cumulus clower to mountain, but nothing that came even close to living up to the Possible Thunderstorms forecast.

Posts: 1725

Re: July 29, 2010, Fryingpan to Whitman Crest
« Reply #1 on: 07/30/10, 11:34 AM »

Thanks for the report.  Think it will still be holding up in 1/2-1-1/2 weeks?  What about crossing the Whitman Crest?

There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
George Santayana

Posts: 634

Re: July 29, 2010, Fryingpan to Whitman Crest
« Reply #2 on: 07/30/10, 12:05 PM »

Thanks for the report.  Think it will still be holding up in 1/2-1-1/2 weeks?  What about crossing the Whitman Crest?
I'm no good at prognosticating suncup formation, but otherwise it sure seems to me like it's good for two weeks or more. I was tempted to save this trip for August myself, but got itchy. I've been up there later into August before, and still found great conditions on the parts that are the actual glacier, although the Goat Cirque area wasn't quite as fun that day, jarring cups. Pick a warm day; otherwise the surface of glacier itself takes surprisingly long to soften. It takes (me at least) ~4 hours to reach either the lower Fryingpan lobe or Meany Crest, and you might need to be mentally prepared for this point to be the first spot where you actually get to see snow that looks enjoyable to ski. But, as approach hikes go, Summerland et al is hard to beat for the non-ski aesthetics.
From the obvious saddle on Whitman Crest, snow that led onto the Whitman was a mere 50 vertical feet below. What I could see of the Whitman Glacier looked pretty nice. A little pockmarked higher on the headwall, and some very small (easy stepover) crevasses showing in spots, but still quite inviting in general. I might have a pix I can add later.
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