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Author Topic: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds  (Read 79667 times)
Amar Andalkar
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May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« on: 05/31/11, 03:26 AM »

May 29, 2011, Mount Baker, Full Ski Ascent and Descent via Easton-Deming Glaciers

Summary: Completed a full ski ascent and descent of Mount Baker via the Easton Glacier route, right from the door of the car to the summit, requiring a bit over 8000 vertical feet and roughly 20 miles roundtrip of skinning and skiing right now. The road is free of snow and driveable to 2750 ft, within 2.7 miles of the Schriebers Meadow trailhead, then almost entirely snowcovered beyond that. The crevasse conditions on route are very good, we took the western variation which is actually mostly on the Deming Glacier, with only a few incipient cracks barely starting to show in the usual places from 9000-9400 ft. Snow conditions were excellent up high, smooth proto-corn and corn (some nice firnspiegel too) with no ice even on the summit dome. Snow stability on this moderate-angle route was excellent too as expected, nothing moved or slid at all during the day, except numerous distant avalanches dropping from the steep rocky faces of the Black Buttes. Just a beautiful day of sunshine and light winds up there, above a thick cloud deck which rose throughout the day from about 3800 ft up to 7500 ft. Another big win for the high-res UW weather model, which predicted the clear skies above the cloud deck with very good accuracy despite a marginal forecast from NWS.



On a side note, as usual several snowmobiles were illegally trespassing into the Mount Baker Wilderness (7-8 of them this day). I've grown sick and tired of seeing this behavior repeatedly on the south side of Baker (even on the north side sometimes), and I just couldn't stay silent anymore, so I confronted them (first time ever doing so for me). I forced several of them to stop and informed them as nicely as possible of their violation, at an elevation of 9000 ft and about 1000 ft inside the Wilderness boundary. This included blocking two of those heading uphill to force them to turn around and go back down (four others had already passed uphill just before). The tracks of the four snowmobiles that I did not stop on the uphill continued going to the gap looking into Sherman Crater at 9720 ft, which is about 1500 ft inside the Wilderness boundary. I confronted those four as they came back down a half-hour later -- they stopped directly on top of an obvious sag over a crevasse at 9000 ft, where climbers on foot had punched through earlier. After I informed them of their wilderness violation, their apparent leader refused to acknowledge it and vehemently denied that they were in the Wilderness. I offered to show them the boundary on the map, but also mentioned that they were stopped over an open crevasse. They were like "oh shit", then they gunned it and took off, except a single reasonable one who stopped just below the crevasse and walked back uphill to speak with me and look at the map.


Illegal snowmobilers inside the Mount Baker Wilderness, all of these snowmobiles are at least 1000 ft inside the Wilderness boundary.

The snowmobilers I confronted were of three mindsets: the totally ignorant ("I have no idea where the Wilderness boundary is"), the aggressively wrongheaded (insisting "we have every right to be here, this is legal" -- WRONG), and the lone reasonable person. He had unknowingly crossed the boundary with his group, agreed to look at my map showing the Wilderness boundary while I pointed out the landmarks delineating it, and was apologetic about having transgressed -- I appreciate his attitude greatly.


Map scanned from the official USFS Mount Baker Wilderness Map (2005) and annotated. The Wilderness boundary runs in a straight line from the cliffs which divide the Easton and Deming Glaciers up to the summit of Sherman Peak. This imaginary line is very easy to observe from any location above 7000 ft on the Easton or Deming, and any snowmobile seen to the west of this line is illegally trespassing.

Skiers and snowboarders (and law-abiding snowmobilers too), we need to unite and stand up for what is right, and put a stop to this continual criminal activity by those who feel entitled to trample the rights of all others and to violate the laws which we all must abide by. The wilderness incursions are habitual and ingrained in the snowmobile culture of this area. In the past I've seen as many as a few dozen snowmobiles simultaneously parked in the large flat area near 9500 ft (see map, it's over 600 ft inside the wilderness boundary), eating lunch and tossing beer cans in the snow. I called the Mount Baker Ranger District today to report this latest violation, and was told that a law enforcement officer would call me back later this week.

Anyway, the illegal snowmobiles couldn't put a damper on this magnificent day of skiing and sunshine, floating high on our island continent of snow rising above the sea of clouds.


(Photo by Dave Brown)


Details: Continuing the pattern of most of spring 2011 thus far in the Pacific Northwest, the weather forecast for the Washington Cascades looked marginal for the Memorial Day weekend: mostly cloudy with a chance of showers, snow level 6000 feet. But a weak upper-level ridge of high pressure was forecast for Sunday, and a careful look at the high-res UW weather model showed good things: a true free-air freezing level of 8000 ft above an inversion layer, with clouds in the Mount Baker area clearing out on Saturday evening and then rebuilding only on Sunday mid-afternoon, with very light winds aloft of barely 5-10 mph at 10000 ft. It was time to rally some ski partners -- several phone calls later, I had four: Dave and Stephanie Brown, Kat Cartmell (coming all the way from Leavenworth), and Dave Coleman (ski touring for the first time in over 11 weeks since suffering a severe ankle sprain). I figured that given the recent snowfall and weather, the south side of Baker was likely to have much better snow conditions than the north, with much more consolidation and significantly less avalanche danger, making it worth the longer approach on the snow-covered road: the most recent report I'd read from May 15 had it driveable within about 3 miles.


Climbing through the wispy edge of the cloud deck.

We headed up to Baker on Saturday evening, car camping where 1-2 ft of hardened snow blocked Forest Road 13 at 2750 ft (2.6 miles from the Road 12 junction, and 2.7 miles from the trailhead). We set the alarm for 3:30am, planning a 4:30am departure, and awoke to partly clear skies with a few stars visible. Skinned out just before 5am with skies now overcast, took an hour to reach the trailhead on the road (all on snow except a single ski-length bare patch), and then nearly another hour to break out above the cloud deck at about 3800 ft.


Stephanie skinning above the clouds (the cloud deck was tilted, not the camera).

Took a scenic detour near 4800 ft going up left and across the Railroad Grade moraine and the snowy meadows beyond, to admire the views southwest to the Twin Sisters and down into the gorge of the Deming Glacier from a nice viewpoint near 6000 ft, then aimed back northeast to rejoin the standard route near 6800 ft atop the cleaver dividing the Easton and Deming Glaciers. A pair of painful blisters from the long flat road approach were slowing one of our group greatly, and we stopped several times to apply and reapply first aid.


Looking southwest at Twin Sisters Mountain rising above the cloud deck.


Six-shot panorama of the Deming Glacier and its deep gorge from a viewpoint near 6000 ft.


Skinning up the moraine beside Easton Glacier near 6500 ft. Those are legal snowmobile tracks here.

Then a long slow skin up the Easton and Deming Glaciers towards the crater rim, with the illegal snowmobilers approaching just after noon, while I was several hundred yards ahead of the others -- the decision to confront and speak with them was mine alone, and I was alone when I did so, including standing directly in the path of two of them to prevent them from continuing uphill. The rest of the group could barely overhear portions of the conversation though, and they rejoined me soon afterward at the 9000 ft crevasse.


The sagging snow covers an obvious crevasse at 9000 ft. The spot where the skiers on foot punched through is at lower right, while our group detoured just about 30 ft left to avoid the hazard. This is the location where I confronted the illegal snowmobilers, about 1000 ft inside the wilderness boundary.

The only other skiers on the upper south side of Baker this day were a party of two, who had skinned up to 8700 ft, ditched their skis, and continued unroped on foot towards the summit (we saw them walking down, they didn't make it, turned around due to exhaustion). But at least one of them appeared to have punched a leg through into the crevasse at 9000 ft, so their decision to leave skis behind and walk on foot was clearly almost a fatal one. The crevasse they punched into had a very obvious sag, with much safer sag-less snow only 30 ft farther left, and even had old snowshoe tracks detouring over that way. However, the ski-less skiers on foot chose to blindly pay no heed to all of these clues and needlessly crossed the sag, with a near-tragic result. WTF?!? It's hard not to criticize such behavior -- come on people, glaciers are dangerous!! And though I may someday die on a glacier, perhaps even in an unroped crevasse fall, I know for sure that it won't be while crossing an obvious sag on foot on a clear day with safer ground only a few yards off to the side. You've got to treat the glacier with respect and caution, keep constantly vigilant for hidden hazards, and make proper routefinding decisions -- especially so if you choose to leave the rope and glacier gear behind in the cars as our group did this day.


Another thinly bridged crevasse near 9300 ft, with no sag to mark it, only a hole opened up by the illegal snowmobilers. This spot is also roughly 1000 ft inside the wilderness boundary.

The steeper roll from 9000 to 9400 ft is a typical spot for some crevasse hazard along this route variation, and an open hole in a snowmobile track verified that crevasses were lurking as expected here. A 10-15 mph NW breeze was keeping things cool, even chilly at times, along this stretch. Meanwhile, the cloud deck far below had risen to about 7500 ft, completely obscuring Twin Sisters Mountain, then dropped a bit to unveil the highest of those peaks once more. It was almost 2pm when we reached the crater rim at 9720 ft, finally gazing into the cauldron which had been steaming copiously all day as we climbed.


Kat at the rim of Sherman Crater, with Sherman Peak rising behind on the other side of the crater.

Dave Brown took over the lead and put in a nice skin track up the steep face of the Roman Wall, the smooth snow softened a few inches deep for ideal skinning conditions, with the soft layer well bonded and not sluffing at all. Clouds would occasionally flow over the summit dome and obscure the view, but then clear again minutes later.


Skinning up the summit dome above the Roman Wall, with Sherman Peak far below.

We had planned to go no higher than the summit dome and forgo the traverse over to Grant Peak, but the snow was nice and soft as we approached the dome and the cold breeze actually decreased to barely 5-10 mph, so I caught a second wind above 10600 ft and charged ahead to the true summit just after 3pm. The others soon followed. Quite a party going on up here, with a group of 9 arriving via Boulder Glacier (an unusual mix of skiers, splitboarders, and climbers on foot), plus several groups coming and going from the Coleman-Deming side.


Looking across the summit dome towards Grant Peak, the true summit.



Clouds continued to come and go, blowing over the summit dome from the northwest, so we quickly switched over and skied down just after 3:30pm. Nice soft snow across the edge of the summit dome, minimally wind-affected with no sastrugi or ice.


Nice soft snow on the summit dome above 10600 ft.

Then smooth proto-corn after rolling over onto the steeps of the Roman Wall, very fine turns and totally stable even in mid-afternoon.


Dave Coleman carving up the Roman Wall.


Admiring our ski tracks on the Roman Wall.

Much softer snow below 9400 ft, carving deep trenches as we skied, but at least the snow was not sticky at all. Decent skiing, not bad, still quite fun. We took a long break at 8700 ft, relaxing for an hour in the warm sunshine, melting a few liters of water on the Jetboil to replenish our minimal reserves. Lots of firnspiegel near this elevation.


Skiing past a cool crevasse near 8000 ft.

Then heading back down the slope after 5pm for some more fun turns, as we approached the edge of the cloud deck. We punched into it around 7100 ft, and visibility quickly dropped to 50 ft or less, maybe even 20 ft at times. We followed snowmobile tracks which provided much-needed depth perception, relying on my internal compass to choose between the countless intersecting tracks twisting and curving in every direction across and up and down the slope. The snow was extremely mushy here, with ski penetration of up to a foot during some turns (pole penetration mostly about 12-18"), but no sluffs were caused even on the various steeper rolls. Slow and challenging skiing, with extra caution to avoid injury due to twisting something in the deep mush, but at least the mush was consistent, not unpredictably sticky and grippy as it often is.


Dropping into the dense cloud deck at 7100 ft, the ghostly outline of the summit still barely visible above.

About 45 minutes of stop-and-go whiteout skiing before we finally dropped below the cloud deck at 4000 ft. Then suddenly racing fast and free down the heavily tracked slopes, overjoyed at the renewed gift of clear vision, back down to the flats and the formerly-groomed trail through Schriebers Meadow.


Dropping below the cloud deck.

The long slog out the mostly-flat rolling road turned out to be very painful for the feet at the end of such a big day, taking over 50 minutes to cover the 2.7 miles. Up down, up down, up down the roller coaster of snowmobile-created waves, on and on and on, until finally heading solidly downhill in the last half-mile to the cars. Plus the road now had several bare sections (including one about 30 ft long) which had melted out during the day. The road below 3000 ft may quickly become very discontinuous, so it may be best to wait on doing this route until the road is driveable to the 3.5 mile mark (about 1.8 miles from the trailhead).


This dirty patch had only a ski-length gap in the morning, now melted out to 30+ ft of bare road by day's end.

We were back to the cars just before 7:30pm, about 14.5 hours since we had left. A long and tiring day, over 8200 vert and 20 miles including our scenic detours, but SO NICE to spend most of the day in the sunshine far above the clouds and gloom. And wonderful to find such stable snow conditions, with excellent skiing up high, pretty good at mid-elevations, and tolerable mush lower down. The south side of the Great White Watcher was a great place to ski on the middle day of this holiday weekend.

« Last Edit: 06/01/11, 02:22 AM by Amar Andalkar » Logged

BrianT
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #1 on: 05/31/11, 06:31 AM »

Damn-it Amar,

You've single handily cost me over 1100 bucks, and you're going to cost me more with a trip report like this! You're the reason a dude in TX got into Skiing and more specifically, AT Skiing. Every time I see a TR of you and your pictures you make me wish I lived in WA (I'm working on that part).

On a side-note. Great shots as always, keep up the fantastic work and maybe one of these day i'll get a chance to actually ski with you if I ever get my ass up to WA.

-Brian
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Oyvind_Henningsen
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #2 on: 05/31/11, 08:33 AM »

Most excellent Amar, Kat, Dave C, Dave B, and Stephanie!!!!
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Lytt til erfarne fjellfolk!
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #3 on: 05/31/11, 10:10 AM »

Great trip selection for threading the weather window.  Big day.
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jhamaker
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #4 on: 05/31/11, 11:14 AM »

Thank you for taking the time out to educate the sled-heads.  I've found *education* is the key.  Be nice, leave a positive impression so folks *want* to change not rebel.
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old guy
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #5 on: 05/31/11, 11:52 AM »

Excellent trip report.  I was on the rescue yesterday and we went up to 7,900 to check crevasses.  Saw your tracks.  It was obvious your snow conditions were better on Monday then on Tuesday.  We had a death grip on our skis coming down.
I like your comments on the crevasses there are a lot of them lurking just under the surface so please don't just blindly travel the glaciers thinking everywhere is safe. 
I agree with your comments about the snowmobliers encroaching into the wilderness boundary and kudos for you to confront them on it.  But a note to skiers - there are some excellent environmentally minded snowmobilers out there.  We were working with a group of Skagit snowmobilers and I was impressed to see a couple of them stopping to pick up other people's trash.  Don't forget there are good and bad apples in every basket.  I have see a lot of skier's camps filled with trash so lets be careful not to sound like biggoted or arrogant ski mountaineers.
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Scotsman
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #6 on: 05/31/11, 06:31 PM »

The wilderness boundary lines obviously were demarcation lines marked on a map rather than accommodating the natural topography. They come to an apex on a steep slope.

Wouldn't it make more sense to rearrange the boundary lines so that the sledders had a natural flat place to stop such as where Amar has marked on his map ( and they seems to be stopping anyway) That way they can finish their legal trip at a place where it makes sense and provides a natural stopping point rather than a narrowing triangle.

Put the shoe on your other for a minute and consider this mental exercise...... if this boundary line applied to skiers not sledders...........you are skinning and there is a natural col or saddle ahead that would seem a natural turn around point to start your descent but because of a legal boundary that was set with no regard to topography you are legally required to stop and turn around before reaching the col or saddle.....how many skiers would not stop and continue to the col.... be honest with yourself.

I for one wouldn't mind giving up a thousand feet of wilderness to make the snowmobile legal area more sensible and enjoyable for them. I'm sure its not feasible and will never happen but it's nice to dream that practicality will one day override ideology. Sometimes we have to share.

Edit : Corrected Amar's name because he sent me a pm complaining I was spelling his name wrong and disrespecting him on purpose.
« Last Edit: 05/31/11, 09:02 PM by Scotsman » Logged

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Amar Andalkar
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #7 on: 05/31/11, 09:40 PM »

The wilderness boundary lines obviously were demarcation lines marked on a map rather than accommodating the natural topography. They come to an apex on a steep slope.

Wouldn't it make more sense to rearrange the boundary lines so that the sledders had a natural flat place to stop such as where Amar has marked on his map ( and they seems to be stopping anyway) That way they can finish their legal trip at a place where it makes sense and provides a natural stopping point rather than a narrowing triangle.

Put the shoe on your other for a minute and consider this mental exercise...... if this boundary line applied to skiers not sledders...........you are skinning and there is a natural col or saddle ahead that would seem a natural turn around point to start your descent but because of a legal boundary that was set with no regard to topography you are legally required to stop and turn around before reaching the col or saddle.....how many skiers would not stop and continue to the col.... be honest with yourself.

I for one wouldn't mind giving up a thousand feet of wilderness to make the snowmobile legal area more sensible and enjoyable for them. I'm sure its not feasible and will never happen but it's nice to dream that practicality will one day override ideology. Sometimes we have to share.

Edit : Corrected Amar's name because he sent me a pm complaining I was spelling his name wrong and disrespecting him on purpose.

I sent you a PM asking you if you were misspelling my name on purpose, which is a reasonable question given the roughly half-dozen times you've recently misspelled it in posts here. Anyway...

Really Scotsman, you're bending over backwards to accommodate this use needlessly. The snowmobilers already have countless flat spots to stop within the legal Baker NRA boundary, including a large flat area near 8900 ft which is just within the boundary. This is along the most natural snowmo corridor too, which follows the broad smooth section of glacier along the Easton-Squak border (on the map above, this is the path along which the 7400, 7600, 7800, 8000, 8200, 8400, 8600, 8800 contour numbers are written). You may not mind giving up wilderness left and right, but thankfully others do mind, and strongly so.

Thinking logically on the issue (this is NOT necessarily my personal opinion), the legal snowmobiling area on Baker is already much too large. This appears to have been a huge erroneous misguided giveaway to an inappropriate, highly-polluting, special-interest activity with a powerful political lobby when the Mount Baker Wilderness boundary was set in 1984. If any adjustments need to be made, it should be in the other direction. A much more logical place to draw the boundary would be perhaps along the 6000 ft contour, which is already marked in red on the official USFS Mount Baker Wilderness Map (see the full map) as the lower limit for camping outside designated campsites. This would make a logical upper limit for snowmobile use, as it would keep them safely off the crevassed portions of glaciers, while still providing plenty of open non-forested terrain for them. My observations over many years (including this trip) show that most are clearly unable to travel safely in glaciated terrain (other than by pure chance and luck), and there have been several snowmobiles which have fallen into crevasses on the south side of Baker over the years.

Scotsman, I would think that you'd be more concerned about the safety of snowmobilers, and so would be a strong advocate of keeping them safely off the glaciers. A machine weighing roughly 500-700 lbs (with a total weight of about 800-1000 lbs including the typical rider, their gear, and fuel) presents a huge risk of breaking through a snowbridge into a hidden crevasse.


Meanwhile, the USFS law enforcement officer has contacted me today by email, asking for photos, especially any which show readable snowmobile registration numbers (usually found on the side of the snowmobile body). Unfortunately and ironically, the only fully readable registration number in any of my numerous photos is on the snowmobile of the one reasonable person who took the time to stop and learn about the Wilderness boundary (I got a couple other partial numbers in photos when they were stopped atop the crevasse). That's just how it goes I guess, the more innocent offenders may get punished while the worse, more recalcitrant offenders go free, purely through the random chance of what my lens caught.

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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #8 on: 05/31/11, 09:56 PM »

Thinking logically on the issue (this is NOT necessarily my personal opinion), the legal snowmobiling area on Baker is already much too large. This appears to have been a huge erroneous misguided giveaway to an inappropriate, highly-polluting, special-interest activity with a powerful political lobby when the Mount Baker Wilderness boundary was set in 1984. If any adjustments need to be made, it should be in the other direction.

+1

This might not be your personal opinion, but it IS mine. Snowmobiling on Mt Baker is a travesty.

Great report. Nice call on the weather.
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Scotsman
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #9 on: 05/31/11, 10:23 PM »

Well as Lou Dawson says in his Wild Snow blog when commenting on the criticism  to his son Louie's snow mobile assisted skiing on Mt Baker.
Quote}
But I’d agree with anyone that shared use is something we’ll be refining over coming years. Meanwhile, with the vast quantities of legal Wilderness we have, we already have plenty of un-shared use and I for one appreciate it — as I do the areas where we can share, and sled, and drive, etc. etc… End Quote.

If it's OK with Lou...it's Ok with me Wink
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mick_scott
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #10 on: 06/01/11, 01:41 AM »

+1

This might not be your personal opinion, but it IS mine. Snowmobiling on Mt Baker is a travesty.




+2
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #11 on: 06/01/11, 05:56 AM »

Well as Lou Dawson says in his Wild Snow blog when commenting on the criticism  to his son Louie's snow mobile assisted skiing on Mt Baker.
Quote}
But I’d agree with anyone that shared use is something we’ll be refining over coming years. Meanwhile, with the vast quantities of legal Wilderness we have, we already have plenty of un-shared use and I for one appreciate it — as I do the areas where we can share, and sled, and drive, etc. etc… End Quote.

If it's OK with Lou...it's Ok with me Wink

I'm not sure what Lou Dawson says is relevant and I don't care. The Seattle area passive/aggresive behavior seems to be rubbing off on you Chris.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #12 on: 06/01/11, 06:58 AM »

Wow! As always Amar great trip and photos. We tried this exact route last Saturday in pretty poor weather; turned around at 8200 in a complete white out. Glad to see someone got the goods.

The road is definitely an added challenge to this route, with over 2 miles of flat, mushy snow to skin/ski down after the long hike.
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ryanl
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #13 on: 06/01/11, 07:35 AM »

Great trip Amar, Daves, Stephanie and Kat! And nice write up Amar- lots of respect for your thoughts and the way you express them.
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Chuck C
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #14 on: 06/01/11, 08:13 AM »



This might not be your personal opinion, but it IS mine. Snowmobiling on Mt Baker is a travesty.




You can add St Helens to that travesty list as well.
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Dustin_B
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #15 on: 06/01/11, 08:56 AM »

You can add St Helens to that travesty list as well.

Speaking of which, when I skied St Helens several weeks ago we saw a group of around a dozen snomos inside the snomo free wedge on the south side. My buddy and I confronted this group and talked to a couple of them. We encountered the totally ignorant attitude (and the rest didn't stop). "I'm just following my buddies." "We're just crossing through." "We were told to steer clear of skiers and be respectful of them." (which they were not). All direct quotes.

I did however take several photos of the violators (and the surrounding terrain as land marks) hoping we would see a ranger along the way. We did not. I'm assuming the registration number on snomos is rather small and my shots from 30 feet away wouldn't do much to identify them.

But to not make this post a complete thread drift from Amar's trip report.... Awesome pics as usual. That is a big day! And agreed with the above posters about education to snowmoers. We tried this approach, although I don't feel we actually changed any behavior.



* helens_snomo_1.jpg (122.5 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 3208 times.)
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #16 on: 06/01/11, 02:54 PM »

Nice! great to hear Dave's back on skis again!
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ashcan
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #17 on: 06/01/11, 04:59 PM »

+1

This might not be your personal opinion, but it IS mine. Snowmobiling on Mt Baker is a travesty.



+ Another



Meanwhile, the USFS law enforcement officer has contacted me today by email, asking for photos, especially any which show readable snowmobile registration numbers (usually found on the side of the snowmobile body).


Thanks Amar, I'll keep this mind.
Great trip report too.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #18 on: 06/01/11, 06:23 PM »

Amar,
Great tr and pics and thank you for confronting the sledders. This is not an isolated occurrence and happens all over the state. A grave travesty that they are allowed on Mt. Baker, St. Helens, Adams, etc.
This is just going to cause the ultimate regulation of where they will be allowed to go in the future. I just don't understand why the law breakers continue to do this year after year and the legal sledders don't put a stop to it themselves before the Forest Service does.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #19 on: 06/01/11, 06:52 PM »

Thanks Amar for another absolutely  fantastic trip report and photos!!

Got to get my self up north and do the big B..

I'm thinking that the bad apples might be outnumbering the good ones, at least down here in Central Oregon ( the good ones must feel outnumbered hence not stepping up to the plate..).

Was skiing Bach yesterday and heaps of ripped up future corn from the bad apples (must be the folks saving spots at Dutchman Parking for their 4 day snomoe shindig).

+++++!
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Paul_Russell
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #20 on: 06/01/11, 10:14 PM »

Thanks for the great report Amar.  I am in complete agreement with restricting the access area for snowmobilers on the Easton glacier.  Several years ago, I was involved in an incident on the Easton where a snowmobiler had fallen into a crevasse with his machine, and we rescued him on our descent.  As you noted, snowmobilers are ill equipped for glacier travel and are at considerable risk of breaking through snow bridges with their weight.   We were the last skiers on the mountain that day, and he would not have likely survived.  While I personally agree it is a travesty to have snowmobilers in that area, it is also a significant safety and liability concern.  I recall that the snowmobiler had their insurance company involved and wanted to recover the machine.

http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=1439.0
« Last Edit: 06/02/11, 06:33 AM by Paul_Russell » Logged
Atraslin
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #21 on: 06/02/11, 11:58 AM »

What an in depth report.

Can you explain what proto
Corn is.


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daveb
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #22 on: 06/02/11, 03:13 PM »

Great TR Amar and fully accurate account of my observations as well.  Thanks for your articulate account of the day.  Glad I got that photo of you skiing the Roman Wall above the clouds and Black Buttes!
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jjnorm
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #23 on: 06/02/11, 04:15 PM »

Great TR, and thank you for confronting our motorized counterparts, its a long way to climb only to have to cough on engine exhaust and listen to noise pollution.
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Scotsman
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #24 on: 06/02/11, 05:03 PM »


Can you explain what proto
Corn is.



proto-
combining form 

Original; primitive
- prototherian
- prototype

First; anterior; relating to a precursor
- protomartyr
- protozoan

Core skier talk for snow that is on its way to becoming corn but is not yet corn!
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #25 on: 06/02/11, 05:35 PM »

its a long way to climb only to have to cough on engine exhaust and listen to noise pollution.

I realize I am the only dissenting poster in this thread , but no matter...
If I really wanted to avoid engine exhaust and noise pollution ( which I completely understand) I personally would stay away from a route where snowmobiles were legally allowed and probably going to be, especially in the height of snowmobile season. It's a big mountain, go another route or another mountain if they bother you that much while still retaining your right to lobby against them and change the access rules.

Seems to me there is a movement amongst BC skiers to "mix it up" with them and actively seek confrontation. Not sure that is the right approach IMHO. Both parties are going to have to work this out in a respectful manner. Vigilantism is not going to help matters and is as ridiculous as the Minutemen on the AZ/Mex border patrolling with their pseudo military getups and attitude and then boasting on their hateful Munutemen blogs about how many Mexicans they confronted and reported to ICE.

Its certainly going to be difficult for Bc skiers to negotiate with snowmobilers if they call their present access rights a" travesty" ( fighting words doctrine)and in some cases not even recognize their right to exist and have some access to good terrain.

It's like asking an Israeli to negotiate with a group who refuses to accept their right to exist and preaches their destruction, or the Palestinian who can't get the Israeli settler with an AK47 in the Golan Heights to recognize that that was their land as well .  Impasse..and hatred between both groups.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #26 on: 06/02/11, 09:32 PM »

Nice Trip Report Amar. Amar, Stephanie Brown, Dave Coleman and Dave Brown , what a great time skiing with you all! So FUN!

To Scotsman: The snowmoers were far out of thier legal boundary, when they were in their legal boundary, there was no complaints or confrontation.
By your argument, we should not ski anywhere in the wilderness at all without expecting 2-stroke fumes. You are wrong.

I like snomo skiing, but not when it is illegal, and not when it opens dangerous cracks and most importantly, GOUGES THE CORN!
I think Amar's main objective is to educate these guys where the boundary actually exists, because they did not know. Good on him, it takes guts.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #27 on: 06/02/11, 09:45 PM »

For me the travesty is to pretend that Mt Baker is wilderness when a big slice of it has been handed over to machines. Giving machines free reign on the south side of the mountain is a blight, in my view. Mt Baker is the grandest and most historic mountain in the North Cascades. It should have been set aside as wilderness in total. Some day I hope it will be.

Skiers who feel as I do should absolutely not stop going to the south side of the mountain. Be civil to snowmobilers, but don't give up the mountain to them. Keep them honest, as Amar has done.

I'm not anti-snowmobile. I think they're fine in some places, but I think they don't belong in other places. Mt Baker is one of the places I think they don't belong. Their presence severely degrades the mountain for others.

Here's a picture of a snowmobile on the Deming Glacier on May 23, 1982, during my first ski summit of the mountain with my brother Carl:



Here's a shot looking up at the summit crater that same day:



You could argue that since snowmobiles have been on the mountain since before the wilderness was established they should be grandfathered in. I don't agree. People used to helicopter ski on Mt Baker before the wilderness was established (including me) but that's not allowed anymore. I don't think snowmobiling should be either.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #28 on: 06/02/11, 09:56 PM »

Nice definition of proto-corn, Scotsman. And I may even agree with some of your points in the post after that, too.

Personally, I realize that I'll encounter snowmobiles anytime I venture up the south side of Baker while it is open to snowmobiling (over 2 ft of snowpack at Schriebers Meadow). I guess I don't mind them too much compared to some people (obviously I don't like snowmo exhaust, but it's no worse than being near a Metro bus starting up from a stop). It's just something that one must currently deal with to access that side of the mountain most of the year. I like the south side and its direct fall-line skiing enough to still go there (from summit dome to meadows, 7000+ vert of direct fall line). My main objections have always been to snowmobilers' illegal dumping of trash everywhere (beer cans, empty cases, broken snowmobile parts, etc) and illegally trespassing into the Wilderness, along with buzzing excessively close to skiers and pedestrians at high speed as a form of overt intimidation.

I do have to agree with Lowell though: I think the south side of Baker would be a LOT nicer in winter and spring if snowmobiles weren't around. I would probably be in favor of restricting them to lower elevations, say below 6000 ft or some other reasonable cutoff that would still allow them to have their fun without overly intruding into the wild and special area higher up.

Snowmobile investigation update: I emailed the map from this TR and several high-resolution photos, along with a description of what occurred, to the USFS law enforcement officer (and to the 3 other USFS employees whom he had cc'ed in his email to me). The next steps are now solidly in their hands.

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ruffryder
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #29 on: 06/03/11, 08:24 AM »

We encountered the totally ignorant attitude (and the rest didn't stop). "I'm just following my buddies." "We're just crossing through." "We were told to steer clear of skiers and be respectful of them." (which they were not). All direct quotes.
Did you have a map to show them and help inform them?
« Last Edit: 06/03/11, 08:45 AM by ruffryder » Logged
sizzling carbides
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #30 on: 06/03/11, 08:33 AM »

obviously I don't like snowmo exhaust, but it's no worse than being near a Metro bus starting up from a stop).
 My main objections have always been to snowmobilers' illegal dumping of trash everywhere (beer cans, empty cases, broken snowmobile parts, etc) and illegally trespassing into the Wilderness, along with buzzing excessively close to skiers and pedestrians at high speed as a form of overt intimidation.

I do have to agree with Lowell though: I think the south side of Baker would be a LOT nicer in winter and spring if snowmobiles weren't around. I would probably be in favor of restricting them to lower elevations, say below 6000 ft or some other reasonable cutoff that would still allow them to have their fun without overly intruding into the wild and special area higher up.


Mountain exhaust is pretty strong up there too. I think that BP is the #1 polluter in Whatcom Co. and Sherman Crater is #2.

Amar, I personally saw and picked up various SKIER TRASH (shovel blade, nalgene bottle, wrappers, socks, undergarments, flagging tape, misc. paper products) all along a ski route within a park boundary last weekend. And the TH was a total mess. I also pick up trash at the migrating TH's that I frequent during winter and spring which is left behind by sledders AND skiers.

In the winter, I access and ski the South side of Baker enough to know that skiers are rarely accessing that route unless they have a sled. In fact, this user issue seems to arise every year at the same time, which is when there is reasonable enough access to skin from the car. Please don't put on like you frequent the area throughout a typical winter.

Ironically and unfortunately, during this short period of time when user groups are clashing, it is at the height of Wilderness Boundary poaches by sledders. Deep snowpack, easier travel, nice weather, people coming from all over because this is one of the last places to sled in the State, who don't know where the boundaries are. A little snowmobiler education, maybe a large map at the Creek crossing could have been your first thoughts. Instead, your expressed thoughts are to restrict the freedoms of others for your benefit.

This winter I was on Baker skiing alone, just me, my skis, and my sled. Then out of nowhere, a plane buzzed me up in that area I consider sacred, wild and special, the SKY. (sorry, had to do it).
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ruffryder
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #31 on: 06/03/11, 08:34 AM »

My main objections have always been to snowmobilers' illegal dumping of trash everywhere (beer cans, empty cases, broken snowmobile parts, etc) and illegally trespassing into the Wilderness,
very good points, especially the trash.  I HATE PEOPLE LITTERING.  God damn it pisses me off.  Seriously, pack your fricken trash out.

along with buzzing excessively close to skiers and pedestrians at high speed as a form of overt intimidation.
Have you ever ridden a snowmobile?  Just curious.

Mt. Baker is a different form of riding as you are always on a fall line and the mountain is always pulling you down the mountain.  Sometimes it is difficult to change direction on the hill after you have started, without being forced to go back down again.  Just some thoughts, as what you might think about as intimidation might be a snowmobiler going "Where did this guy come from? Where did my friends go?  I hope they don't leave me.  How am I going to get by this guy and not screw up? I don't want to get sucked down into that hole.  I can't go to slowly either as I won't be able to get up the hill and have to go near the guy again and bother him."

Just a different perspective.  Like in skiing, not everyone is a pro.
« Last Edit: 06/03/11, 08:43 AM by ruffryder » Logged
Amar Andalkar
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #32 on: 06/03/11, 09:15 AM »

Have you ever ridden a snowmobile?  Just curious.

Mt. Baker is a different form of riding as you are always on a fall line and the mountain is always pulling you down the mountain.  Sometimes it is difficult to change direction on the hill after you have started, without being forced to go back down again.  Just some thoughts, as what you might think about as intimidation might be a snowmobiler going "Where did this guy come from? Where did my friends go?  I hope they don't leave me.  How am I going to get by this guy and not screw up? I don't want to get sucked down into that hole.  I can't go to slowly either as I won't be able to get up the hill and have to go near the guy again and bother him."

Just a different perspective.  Like in skiing, not everyone is a pro.

I've ridden on a snowmobile once, as a passenger, in March of this year: March 7, 2011, MRNP, Sarvant Glacier, Tamanos Mtn

I have no snowmobile hate. I have even considered purchasing a snowmobile for the last several years, but the main issue is that I have no free space to store it (I live in a condo, and have a single parking spot). Once that is solved, I would probably acquire one, to use primarily for long road approaches, as I have no interest in recreational snowmobiling.

The "buzzing excessively close to skiers and pedestrians at high speed as a form of overt intimidation" occurs primarily along the road, and I've also experienced it on several other forest roads in WA and OR. It is just common courtesy to slow down as you pass pedestrians or skiers to avoid scaring or spraying them (just as you'd slow a car when passing pedestrians on a gravel or dirt road), and most do slow or pass reasonably, except the few obnoxious jackasses who intentionally hit the gas.


Please don't put on like you frequent the area throughout a typical winter.

Not sure why you think I'm claiming that. I'll go into the south side in winter if road conditions allow, like a summit ski descent last March when the road was open closer to the trailhead than it is now.

A little snowmobiler education, maybe a large map at the Creek crossing could have been your first thoughts. Instead, your expressed thoughts are to restrict the freedoms of others for your benefit.

Actually, that was one of my first thoughts, that the USFS should put up a large map at the creek crossing showing the wilderness boundary. My next thought was that it would probably get vandalized and shot to pieces in no time, given its location at the trailhead.

My attempts at snowmobiler education (trying to show them the boundary on the map and point out the landmarks delineating it) worked with only 1 out of 6 snowmobilers in this case -- clearly not a good reflection on snowmobilers' willingness to learn.

My thoughts are absolutely not to restrict anyone's freedom for MY benefit, but restricting certain people's freedom for everyone's overall benefit is necessary in any organized society.

« Last Edit: 06/03/11, 09:31 AM by Amar Andalkar » Logged

ruffryder
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #33 on: 06/03/11, 09:56 AM »

but restricting certain people's freedom for everyone's overall benefit is necessary in any organized society.
How many people use the south side of Mt. Baker for snowmobiling vs skiing in the winter?

What is your definition of everyone?
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #34 on: 06/03/11, 12:00 PM »

I second Lowell's comments. I also appreciate Amar for making a point of informing the boundary to the sledders he encountered.  Now he gets to have people start attacking him for his "attitude" and hinted elitism for simply wanting people to abide by the law.  A couple of points I would like to make here:

Making vieled attackes and meaningless arguments doesn't take away from the flagrant violation of a wilderness area.  I don't find comments about planes to be cute and relevant.

In 30 plus years I have yet to see a skier generated pile of trash in the mountains.  I must be going to the wrong places.  But I predict with 100 percent certainty that on my annual trip up the Easton in a few weeks I will find lots of snowmobile generated trash--both in the parking lot and on the upper mountain.


Poaching is a  problem on Mt. Baker.   I watched three sleds high up on the Easton past the boundary on April 22 while summiting Baker.  On the North side, snowboarders and skiers are ignoring the boundary near Heliotrope throughtout the winter.

Great trip report Amar. 


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yammadog
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #35 on: 06/03/11, 01:19 PM »


Skiers who feel as I do should absolutely not stop going to the south side of the mountain. Be civil to snowmobilers, but don't give up the mountain to them. Keep them honest, as Amar has done.


Lowell is dead on in the idea of keeping sledders honest! We have been working hard on our side of the line to call out violators and make these types of encounters history. Outside of emergency situations there is no reason for sledders to be in wilderness. And outside of ignorance, which we are trying to change, then the violators should be held accountable to the n'th degree of the law.

Whether or not we agree on where sleds should or shouldn't be allowed, once the line is established then it should be followed.

Baker is a grand place to ride and I get up there several times a year, but I've not been above to the crevass areas since a friend fell thru, luckily he's alive, but to me, once was enough and  the risk is too high.

Great TR and picts.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #36 on: 06/03/11, 01:30 PM »

Snowmobiles around Mt Baker should be restricted to the roads.  If you can drive to a place in summer, I don't have a problem with snowmobiles going there in winter.  Conversely, if you can't drive there in summer, I don't think you should be snowmobiling there in winter.  I won't argue that this rule needs to apply everywhere, but I think it should apply around Mt Baker.

Arguments about "restricting other people's freedom" don't impress me.  Maybe I'd like to fish the Nooksack River using dynamite.  Should I be free to do that?  I don't think so.  There's no fundamental right to drive machines in the mountains.
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sizzling carbides
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #37 on: 06/03/11, 02:03 PM »

Snowmobiles around Mt Baker should be restricted to the roads.  If you can drive to a place in summer, I don't have a problem with snowmobiles going there in winter.  Conversely, if you can't drive there in summer, I don't think you should be snowmobiling there in winter.  I won't argue that this rule needs to apply everywhere, but I think it should apply around Mt Baker.

Arguments about "restricting other people's freedom" don't impress me.  Maybe I'd like to fish the Nooksack River using dynamite.  Should I be free to do that?  I don't think so.  There's no fundamental right to drive machines in the mountains.
Lowell, if it is within the law, then it seems to me to be OK. What about that don't you get? If it was legal to fish with dynamite, then it would be OK for people to choose to fish that way.
The vehicle you question having the "right" to be in the mountains is called a "snowmobile". These travel on snow. These snowmobiles come in certain models called "mountain sleds". These models are meant to be used in the mountains.
You implied that Mt. Baker is more sacred than other mtn's. and that you would be OK with snowmobiles going off of the road elsewhere, but not at Mt. Baker. To me, this is just ridiculous. Is it because you skied a nice line there??? Because it's the highest peak in the vicinity?Huh Because it has "history"Huh
Arguments to restrict peoples freedom to do what is legal to do don't impress me. To cut back the boundary would restrict the freedom to ride a mountain snowmobile on a mountain, which has been OK as per the law since the 80's.

Skier trash is everywhere Gregg. Come visit my garbage can and I can show you.
My points were perceived by myself as relevant, that is why I took the time to post them. Sorry if I don't think like you do. Nothing was meant as an attack.

« Last Edit: 06/03/11, 02:23 PM by sizzling carbides » Logged
yammadog
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #38 on: 06/03/11, 02:49 PM »

Snowmobiles around Mt Baker should be restricted to the roads.  If you can drive to a place in summer, I don't have a problem with snowmobiles going there in winter.  Conversely, if you can't drive there in summer, I don't think you should be snowmobiling there in winter.  I won't argue that this rule needs to apply everywhere, but I think it should apply around Mt Baker.


We can certainly agree to disagree...but just for fun, let's apply your logic to skiers. Mt. Rainier...hike on the trail in the summer, ski the trail in the winter.....oh, btw, no sleds at all on rainier, a majority of baker, adams and st. helens...heck let's just say most of the alpine areas of washington. As for the roads, those are even being locked up and claimed as defacto wilderness....so then, no sleds on those either?

The problem with zealous opinion is just that....no room for improvement, which leaves no room for anyone but yourself.

I think focusing on respecting others and the areas we recreate in are the topics that need to be addressed and will help in the elimination of "conflicts".

Sorry to pull this further off track. How much snow was at the bathrooms at the turn off for scheibers?

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ebeam
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #39 on: 06/03/11, 03:37 PM »

This has been an interesting and useful TR - the actual trip and the sled discussion.

I appreciate some of the sledders describing how sled travel actually works. That helps me to understand certain behaviors and hopefully helps me not to jump to conclusions about intent (e.g., intimidation or not). Sledders and skiers often do have different perspectives and that can block solutions to conflicts if we don't understand each other. I also caution whether you can have real communication through a forum such as this. In person is much better.

To me, the main issue regarding sleds on Baker (or any boundary line issue for different user groups) has to do with following the existing rules. I've climbed Baker 3 times this winter/spring and have observed sled poaching only once (north side). Last year, with the lack of low elevation snow, I was up on Baker many more times during mid-winter because access was so easy and sled poaching seemed common in the Heliotrope area. My personal opinion is that respecting the wilderness boundary is a problem.

Better education of boundaries per uses will solve the problem for those people wanting to follow the rules. And, my experience suggests most people fit that category. Nothing but stronger enforcement (and natural consequences) stops people that disregard the rules. We should follow Amar's example and try to educate - don't avoid the issue when the opportunity presents itself.

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ruffryder
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #40 on: 06/03/11, 03:47 PM »

Better education of boundaries per uses will solve the problem for those people wanting to follow the rules. And, my experience suggests most people fit that category.

I would add that making these issues known to the rest of the sledding groups would be a help as well.  I have done quite a bit of riding on Mt. Baker, and did not know a bunch of the information that has been listed here.  I don't ride up by the top at all, mostly stay down in the middle areas.

Anyone have more specific information on the Heliotrope area?  Maybe start a new thread and we will make sure snowmobilers are aware of the specific issues.  I have heard of Heliotrope, but I am not sure where it is, and did not know that snowmobilers try to access this area.

Something to remember is that wilderness poachers don't preach about their actions, so unless other snowmobilers see it, it is difficult to find out.
« Last Edit: 06/03/11, 04:06 PM by ruffryder » Logged
Ross Bretherton
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #41 on: 06/03/11, 05:17 PM »

http://www.snowestonline.com/forum/showthread.php?t=270253

Just in case you wanted to know what the snowmobilers think...

"Don't engage skiers. They only want to rat you out."

"As far as I'm concerned, until I see a land use sticker on their skis that they pay for, like I have to, they don't have room for complaints."

Is this the impression we want to be making on them? It's obvious that the boundary is unclear to them, and though it IS 100% illegal, it would be nice if we would both be a bit more understanding. I don't see an ambiguous boundary, I see a culture clash.

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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #42 on: 06/03/11, 05:40 PM »

Lowell, if it is within the law, then it seems to me to be OK. What about that don't you get?

I respect the right of snowmobilers to use the south slopes of Mt Baker as allowed by the law. I have no interest in trying to convince them to do otherwise. By all means, enjoy yourselves (legally).

What I was trying to say is that I disagree with the law. I think it was a mistake to take a slice out of the Mt Baker wilderness when it was established in 1984. I think the non-wilderness slice should be converted to wilderness. Imagine a similar slice chopped out of Mt Rainier National Park that included the Muir snowfield, the Interglacier, or Spray Park. I would consider that a mistake that needs to be fixed. That's the way I feel about the slice taken out of Mt Baker.

Some day I expect this issue to be revisited by Congress. I'm just declaring where I stand on it.
« Last Edit: 06/03/11, 08:09 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
jwplotz
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #43 on: 06/04/11, 08:09 PM »

Why aren't there wilderness incursions by dirt bike riders up to Colchuck Lake or Mt. Stuart, with them claiming they had no idea dirtbikes weren't allowed back there? My guess would be there's a hell of a lot less tolerance for something like that, on both sides of the coin.

Why is it incumbant on the skier to, "educate the sledders" about wilderness boundaries?
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1200cc
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #44 on: 06/06/11, 02:21 PM »

"Snowmobiling is a travesty on Mt. Baker"... Well I will remember that next time I am called to Mt. Baker to rescue a skier or hiker. I respect all users and have not had the same respect given back to me. It is always nice to have ski poles and other things thrown at you as you ride up the trail at Baker. I recently finished my undergrad degree at EWU as a Recreation Management student. While in the program I met many skiers, climbers, and hikers that had the same views as many of you. We all worked together to educate ourselves about each other. So i ask why are you all so judgmental of anyone about snowmobilers? 

A couple years ago I went on a body recovery of a hiker on Mt. Baker, he was smashed by a rock. When our groups of snowmobilers arrived to recover the body from the scene we were met with friendly faces glad to see someone had come to help. The hikers left the scene and those of us snowmobilers stayed. I personally spent 2 straight days on the mountain working to remove rocks that covered the body of the hiker. After 2 days we got him free and gave closure to his friends and family. For 2 days that group of SNOWMOBILERS worked to get that man out spending our own money and using personally equipment to retrieve his body. We really aren’t as bad of people as you make us out to be. Why don’t we deserve the same right to recreation as you all enjoy?

I agree with you 100% education is the best way, but we all need to educate ourselves. This is not a one-way street; we are not the only ones who need education you all do to. Learn to respect other users and work with them because a large majority of us will come to your rescue when you need us. Just as my peers taught me about skiing, climbing and hiking I explained to them how to interact with snowmobilers.

Also, snowmobilers have small areas we have to share with all user groups. Non-Motorized users have whole mountains and areas to themselves. If you hate us so much go somewhere else so our awful sport doesn't bother you.

Scotsman you are someone I would like to connect with and work together to bring both sides together. We all in someway will count on the other side to help us someday. Even after having things thrown at me for being on the trail at the same time as a group of hikers, I have and still will come to the rescue of any hiker, climber, or skier on the mountain.

I'm sure that all means nothing to those of you who hate all motorized users, but at least I attempted to reach out to you. I would be willing to work with anyone to better our relationships so we can all enjoy our sports.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #45 on: 06/06/11, 04:43 PM »


I think you are dead on in that statement and I've brought it up before on this website and had the idea poo-pooed.
I do see it partially as a culture clash.

American society may not have have a class system based upon your station at birth like the British but Americans do have a class system based upon culture whether or not they like to admit it or not. Let's be frank.

The vast majority of BC skiers in the PNW are liberal leaning urbanites( NTTAWWT) who consider the mountains and especially the alpine regions as spirituous places and are usually proponents of non-motorized mountain travel ( against  snowmobiles, dirt bikes etc) Many consider recreational snowmobiling " blue collar" and" redneck".

Many BC skiers( not all..... generalizing) will defend their positions by saying they have nothing against snowmobiles and would even use one  for valley approaches  or see no problem as long as they are confined to logging roads and never used in the alpine. To these people snowmobiles are OK as long as they are confined to use as a utility transportation vehicle. Snowmobiling for pleasure and for recreational use as opposed to utilitarian use, is still considered beyond the pale. For these people, the alpine areas are cathedrals of peace and quiet and should all be wilderness. The John Muir ethos.
Hence the video of somebody snowmobiling up a colouir in the alpine is just sacrilege.

I don't share that view and believe that if your are going to exclude snowmobiles by wilderness designation in huge areas of the sate then you should at least to be fair, allow some access to good alpine terrain and a high mountain ascent like Baker. The mountains are for everybody not just the non-motorized and they have no inherent spirituality other than that afforded to them by humans who feel that way.

There is a basic issue of fairness here. Wilderness designation excludes snowmobilers but skiers can use the areas designated as legal for snowmobilers even if they don't like the exhaust and noise..... they still can. You can't expect to negotiate with another user group and reach a compromise unless you have some respect for their right to exist and their right to enjoy some of the same experiences you value so highly.

214 skiers in a line on Saturday, skinning up to the plywood shacks containing barrels of excrement at Camp Muir after driving their Subarus to Paradise. Groups of 30 aspiring mountaineers on the Kautz approach as photographed elsewhere on this website .
We all want to enjoy the mountains. The 214 skinners on Sat and the 30 aspiring mountaineers ............. AND the snowmobilers.


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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #46 on: 06/06/11, 05:13 PM »

I'm sure that all means nothing to those of you who hate all motorized users, but at least I attempted to reach out to you. I would be willing to work with anyone to better our relationships so we can all enjoy our sports.

I've never disparaged snowmobilers as people.  My comments have focused on snowmobiling (the activity) at this location, not on the people who participate in it.

The part of 1200cc's post pertaining to rescue was engaging but irrelevant.  Snowmobilers are to be commended for coming to the aid of skiers and hikers.  And skiers and hikers are to be commended for coming to the aid of snowmobilers.  (Read Paul Russell's post in this thread.)

But this has nothing to do with whether Mt Baker should be open to recreational snowmobiling.  Helicopters are used for rescue all the time. Does that mean we should open Mt Baker to heli-skiing?  Accidents happen frequently on the Muir Snowfield on Mt Rainier. Does that mean we should open the Muir Snowfield to recreational machines?  If we really want to support rescues, shouldn't we just build roads everywhere?  Rescue is a red herring. 
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #47 on: 06/06/11, 09:13 PM »

I think that some folks in the snomo community and Scotsman are missing the point. We (the liberal leaning urbanites) are not anti-snowmobile, we're pro-wilderness. Only 2.7% of the contiguous U.S. has been designated as wilderness. That leaves quite a bit a space for people to pursue motorized recreational activities and not very much space for the growing number of people who want to get a break from the "developed" world.

I would argue that wilderness is not an elitist aesthetic but a unique and basic American value. The mountains are for everybody, just not everybody and their machines.

I also want to note that when I was involved with the Alpine Safety Awareness Program, we were one of the first organizations to reach out and train the snomo community about avalanche safety. So I feel it inaccurate to portray this as some kind of culture war. For me, it's simply a wilderness issue.


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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #48 on: 06/06/11, 10:45 PM »

 I have no problem with the concept of wilderness and that snowmobilles aren't allowed in wilderness although I do think boundary lines should take the terrain into account.

But you want more wilderness and existing legal snowmobile areas changed to wilderness.
You want buffer zones between wilderness and existing legal snowmobile areas thereby restricting them further.
You want snowmobiling banned in the alpine on Baker, St Helens and Mt Adams because it's a travesty.
You want snowmobilers to stay on logging roads and not allowed into the alpine.
You want snowmobilers restricted to  the same area as summer motorized accessible areas.
You want currently legal areas near major population areas changed in designation so ski tourers can get untracked pow.

Yea suuurrrre, its not a cultural issue.....!!!!! It's about the culture of non-motorized recreation versus motorized and the fact that many BC tourers want it all and aren't willing to share any part of the alpine or summits or bowls and look down their noses at recreational snowmobilers and characterize them as beer swilling, litter dropping, uncouth polluters.

You basically want a form of cultural apartheid based upon the means by which access is gained ...the use of human power versus mechanical. You want the "homelands "of the snowmobiler to be restricted to smaller and smaller areas while saving the aesthetic and spectacular terrain  and high peaks for the sole use of yourselves and your aesthetic.

There is still a lot of areas in WA where you can escape and be completely free of snowmobile influence, it isn't hard ....trust me.
There are also areas where compromise is necessary based upon the growing use by both parties.
How can you expect to reach a compromise with snowmobilers in these areas when you can't even cede them the right to some good alpine terrain with spectacular scenery and even a high summit or two.




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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #49 on: 06/07/11, 07:56 AM »

Only 2.7% of the contiguous U.S. has been designated as wilderness.
 

Just so your aware snowmobiles are not allowed in all NON Wilderness areas. You stated this to sound like there is only 2.7% of land that we can not use? Your groups have a much larger percent of open area to use than snowmobilers.

My point with the rescue story is hiker will throw things at you and try to get you banned from areas but as soon as they need you they except you! I have never seen a hiker show up to help a snowmobiler,  but we always goto the rescue of hikers, and skiers.

Wilderness is a good thing in moderation, some areas that are given wilderness distinction should not be wilderness. We do need to preserve our wild lands,  but more than just motorized users are stopped from using wilderness areas. Many non motorized user such as bikers, and handicapped population that use special equipment to access the backcountry cannot legally access wilderness area because there equipment is to mechanized.

This debate will go on and most bad apples in both users groups will clash, but we can all work together to try to educate our friends and fellow users who don't understand.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #50 on: 06/07/11, 09:12 AM »

There is a basic issue of fairness here.

I agree.

You mentioned 200+ people lined up on the Muir Snowfield last weekend, all of them climbing under their own power.  No machines.  As we all know, this is routine.  Just another sunny day on Mt Rainier.

Imagine all those people riding snowmobiles.  Heck, imagine just ten percent of those people riding snowmobiles.  It would have been a mess.  When you see the Muir Snowfield on a sunny day in June you realize how vastly outnumbered snowmobilers are in Washington's mountains.

Now consider Mt Baker's non-wilderness wedge, an area roughly the size of the Nisqually, Muir, Paradise and Cowlitz Glaciers on Mt Rainier combined.  Twenty snowmobiles can cover more acreage on Mt Baker in a single day than 200+ hikers on Mt Rainier.  And because of this fact, many hikers and skiers stay away from Mt Baker in spring.  It's unfair.  You could even say it's a travesty.

Snowmobilers have the same access rights to alpine summits as everyone else.  Just leave the machine below and walk up.  Machines, on the other hand, don't have rights.  Basic fairness says that the interests of a machine-using minority should not trump the interests of the non-motorized majority. The alpine zone of Mt Baker should be non-motorized.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #51 on: 06/07/11, 11:28 AM »

I have never seen a hiker show up to help a snowmobiler,  but we always goto the rescue of hikers, and skiers.
See the below story (which Paul Russell posted in reply #4 of this thread):
http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=1439.0
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #52 on: 06/08/11, 12:33 PM »

I agree.

You mentioned 200+ people lined up on the Muir Snowfield last weekend, all of them climbing under their own power.  No machines.  As we all know, this is routine.  Just another sunny day on Mt Rainier.

Imagine all those people riding snowmobiles.  Heck, imagine just ten percent of those people riding snowmobiles.  It would have been a mess.  When you see the Muir Snowfield on a sunny day in June you realize how vastly outnumbered snowmobilers are in Washington's mountains.

Now consider Mt Baker's non-wilderness wedge, an area roughly the size of the Nisqually, Muir, Paradise and Cowlitz Glaciers on Mt Rainier combined.  Twenty snowmobiles can cover more acreage on Mt Baker in a single day than 200+ hikers on Mt Rainier.  And because of this fact, many hikers and skiers stay away from Mt Baker in spring.  It's unfair.  You could even say it's a travesty.

Snowmobilers have the same access rights to alpine summits as everyone else.  Just leave the machine below and walk up.  Machines, on the other hand, don't have rights.  Basic fairness says that the interests of a machine-using minority should not trump the interests of the non-motorized majority. The alpine zone of Mt Baker should be non-motorized.


I don't agree.
 It's a compromise.. although not ideal for you and people with the same ideology regarding snowmobiles.... the Baker wedge provides snowmobilers with a short window to access some spectacular terrain. Given the fact that from the summit of Baker the eyes can see vast areas of the north cascades that are not legally available to snowmobilers.. its seems a fair compromise.

Like most debates in America at this time.. it's turned into an ideological battle for some BC skiers who hate the very thought of any motorized transport in the alpine zones and wish they could regulate them into non-existence. That isn't going to happen... and instead of ideology... the answer is pragmatism.

The real issue here is snowmobile/ skier use and interaction in the hot spots that usually revolve around areas of EASY ACCESS( close to population centers and good TH).

As can be seen day after day from TR's on TAY, avoiding snowmobile interaction is easily possible in the PNW and the vast majority of tourers never see or hear a snowmobile and a lot of the time, hardly another soul.

It's the areas of EASY ACCESS( close to population centers and good TH) to the alpine for both snowmobilers and skiers where problems are occurring. Both want to use these areas because of the easy access to spectacular terrain. In these areas, some segregation is going to have to occur and compromise be made. It is IMHO going to be more and more difficult to reach a decent compromise between users groups( which I think is still the best way) if BC skiers keep up this ideological based attitude that snowmobiles shouldn't be allowed in the vast majority of the mountains, alpine areas and high volcano's such as the Baker wedge.

 Strict adherence to ones  ideology doesn't usually solve problems...( look at world and /or politics in the country for examples)... pragmatism and compromise usually does.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #53 on: 06/08/11, 02:17 PM »

Scotsman, the issue is how one activity reduces the value of the experience of other activities.  Noise, tracks that reduce ski safety and diminish the resource, and impacts on wildlife, are examples of why some skiers may not want to share terrain.  With many more non-motorized winter users than motorized ones, the onus for the snowmobile community to address bad behavior within its ranks will be imperative if they don't want to get excluded from winter recreation in these popular areas.

Separation of user groups on a wider landscape basis will be the likely outcome of the current difficulties.  Mt. Baker will get revisited at sometime in regards to the "wedge."
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #54 on: 06/08/11, 03:16 PM »

I don't agree.
 It's a compromise.. although not ideal for you and people with the same ideology regarding snowmobiles.... the Baker wedge provides snowmobilers with a short window to access some spectacular terrain. Given the fact that from the summit of Baker the eyes can see vast areas of the north cascades that are not legally available to snowmobilers.. its seems a fair compromise.
Snowmobile users can go into the vast areas of the North Cascades National Park and other Wilderness areas. They just have to do it with human power and no wheels. I don't like the argument that snowmobilers are excluded from wilderness, they're not, their sleds are. I used to think MTBs should be allowed in Wilderness Areas, I've kind of changed that opinion. While a lot of trails are suitable, most wouldn't be good shared use trails and would be quickly degraded if open to MTBs. I also don't think horses should be allowed if not historically used in certain areas, the damage from horse traffic is far worse that MTBs. Snowmobiles in regard to WMC's proposals and their current use on the OWNF are unregulated outside Wilderness except in a few small areas, this needs to be addressed. I think for the most part this is not about getting a "fair share" but good land stewardship.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #55 on: 06/08/11, 04:06 PM »

Scotsman, the issue is how one activity reduces the value of the experience of other activities.  Noise, tracks that reduce ski safety and diminish the resource, and impacts on wildlife, are examples of why some skiers may not want to share terrain.  With many more non-motorized winter users than motorized ones, the onus for the snowmobile community to address bad behavior within its ranks will be imperative if they don't want to get excluded from winter recreation in these popular areas.

Separation of user groups on a wider landscape basis will be the likely outcome of the current difficulties.  Mt. Baker will get revisited at sometime in regards to the "wedge."

there is already plenty of separation.....4.5 million acres of seperated landscape identified as wilderness in Washington. this does not take in to account the non-wilderness areas that are restricted to snowmobiles. And I can pretty much guarantee that there is no were close to 4.5 million acreas of rideable snowmobile terrain.

In no way do I approve of anyone crossing in to wilderness boundary on a sled, I think exceptions for emergencies should be considered. But I agree to disagree on creating more area for non-motorized use only, and  that some portion of Baker be available to motorized recreation as it is now, where more than 3/4 of it is off limits. All of rainier, most of st. helens and adams too.

As stated before, I think access to areas for non-motorized users is a beginning answer to the "conflicts" of user groups. Now, how to figure out how to get the roads groomed and parking managed by funds from non-motorized users.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #56 on: 06/08/11, 04:50 PM »

 "Park Butte LO & Rage Against the Machine(s), June 3-5, 2011"

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7991439

"All hell broke loose by 10:30 as machines crossed the Wilderness boundary    300m away to park just below the LO. One would have parked right up to the railing had I not been sitting on the snow reading (almost runn’d me over).  This went on till 5p, nonstop, posse after posse riding up, smokes & beers…  "

" for 40 hours of silence and fresh air all I had to endure was 6.5 hours of shrieking machines and 2 stroke exhaust  ; not much worse ( but worse none-the-less) than hanging out on a downtown Seattle street corner at rush-hour.  Throw in the spectacular accommodations and call it a deal I say!  "
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #57 on: 06/08/11, 04:59 PM »

"Park Butte LO & Rage Against the Machine(s), June 3-5, 2011"

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7991439

"All hell broke loose by 10:30 as machines crossed the Wilderness boundary    300m away to park just below the LO. One would have parked right up to the railing had I not been sitting on the snow reading (almost runn’d me over).  This went on till 5p, nonstop, posse after posse riding up, smokes & beers…  "

" for 40 hours of silence and fresh air all I had to endure was 6.5 hours of shrieking machines and 2 stroke exhaust  ; not much worse ( but worse none-the-less) than hanging out on a downtown Seattle street corner at rush-hour.  Throw in the spectacular accommodations and call it a deal I say!  "


From the same post that Randonee posted above.
quote}
Nice folks though; I enjoyed chatting with most of them.  I learned a lot about their machines (2 stroke, 4 stroke, turbo, 5000-$20,000 machines) and why it is such a special area to ride} end quote.

And
Quote}So Park Butte was it for me, right in the middle sno-mo country.  I resolved to be at peace with the bargain; for a sunny weekend on a summit I would just have to suck some fumes and trade away any expectation of quiet.  } end Quote

Seemed he knew what to expect  but wanted to do it anyway and then complain about it.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #58 on: 06/08/11, 05:05 PM »

 to park just below the LO.
Parking "just below the lookout" is where you would expect a boundary abiding snowmobiler to park, since the boundary is less that 200' from the porch of the lookout. Maybe the hiker didn't quite know where the boundary was. Doesn't sound like a violation to me, but maybe the WMC should contact the hiker and let him/her know to take pics with more substantial evidence. Otherwise, it's just hearsay. Quibbling about 200'  Cry makes me sad.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #59 on: 06/08/11, 05:15 PM »

quote}
Nice folks though; I enjoyed chatting with most of them.  I learned a lot about their machines (2 stroke, 4 stroke, turbo, 5000-$20,000 machines) and why it is such a special area to ride} end quote.

And
Quote}So Park Butte was it for me, right in the middle sno-mo country.  I resolved to be at peace with the bargain; for a sunny weekend on a summit I would just have to suck some fumes and trade away any expectation of quiet.  } end Quote

Seemed he knew what to expect  but wanted to do it anyway and then complain about it.

Yes, snowmobile enthusiasts are mostly regular folks, the folks I meet face to face are good folks.  I have ridden snowmobiles since 1980 and owned my own since '89. Some of the posters arguing points are, well, hmmm.

The guy was talking about the quality of his experience while snowmobiles were around and contrasting it to when snowmobiles were not around.  http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7991439

So the discussion is about having more areas where non-motorized Forest users get away from snowmobiles. That goal does not ban snowmobile recreation, the recreational resource needs management, and current non-motorized areas need Enforcement. And the point of that post is an example of impacts on other people of snowmobile riding.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #60 on: 06/08/11, 05:28 PM »

Yes, snowmobile enthusiasts are mostly regular folks, the folks I meet face to face are good folks.  I have ridden snowmobiles since 1980 and owned my own since '89. Some of the posters arguing points are, well, hmmm.

The guy was talking about the quality of his experience while snowmobiles were around and contrasting it to when snowmobiles were not around.  http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7991439

So the discussion is about having more areas where non-motorized Forest users get away from snowmobiles. That goal does not ban snowmobile recreation, the recreational resource needs management, and current non-motorized areas need Enforcement. And the point of that post is an example of impacts on other people of snowmobile riding.

Well I agree is does have some relevance to the original thread. In both cases people went to areas where they knew snowmobiles were going to be and then complained about it when they could have chosen to avoid them.
As you yourself has said in the past:

Quote{At times it would appear that some self powered bc users assume a selfish, superior, arrogant attitude. A disrespectful bc skier is no less annoying that a disrespectful snowmobiler. The joy of being self powered is that one can travel away from snowmobiles, other people, noise, etc.- I can easily travel out of hearing range of all the whiners rather quickly. End quote

BTW, welcome back to TAY.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #61 on: 06/08/11, 05:30 PM »

Parking "just below the lookout" is where you would expect a boundary abiding snowmobiler to park, since the boundary is less that 200' from the porch of the lookout. Maybe the hiker didn't quite know where the boundary was. Doesn't sound like a violation to me, but maybe the WMC should contact the hiker and let him/her know to take pics with more substantial evidence. Otherwise, it's just hearsay. Quibbling about 200'  Cry makes me sad.
So it's OK to violate the Wilderness boundary because it's only a few hundred feet? He said they were 300 meters inside the boundary btw. This is the kind of attitude that will eventually get snow mobiles banned from most of the forest. Like the guys sitting atop the ridge on the boundary to ALW, "No one is here, it won't hurt to high mark this bowl a few dozen times". IME it's not a few bad apples that violate Wilderness boundaries, it's a handful of law abiders getting the shaft from their(majority) outlaw brothers.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #62 on: 06/08/11, 05:43 PM »

"he said 300m" Yup, but the lookout is only 150-200' in the boundary, so how is it 900'+?  It's estimation and hearsay. "Outlaws"=LOL.  Sad, sad, quibbling. IMO, the boundary should be shifted to include the Lookout. Also, the apex of the baker NRA "wedge" should be shifted to include the saddle between Sherman Peak and Pooch Peak, rather than at an apex at the summit of Sherman.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #63 on: 06/08/11, 07:09 PM »

Scotsman, the issue is how one activity reduces the value of the experience of other activities. 
T.E. I understand your point but sometimes we have to share even if it may not be ideal in certain areas of the mountains.
Lets take your point and turn it around ( admittedly not as serious an issue and somewhat flippant, however).
Skinners and BC skiers in resort ski areas.
Example:
A group of 3 TAYers defiantly skinning up the middle of a groomed run on a busy day at Crystal
They are a minority user in a resort but affect a lot of the resort skiers.
They are on USFS land and are legally allowed to do so.
Resort skiers have to avoid them and that diminishes their run.
Resort skiers have to put up with the noise of their panting.
Resort skiers have to put up with the aura of smugness and entitlement emanating from them.
Resort skiers have their coveted upper lot C parking area taken by them.

Example.
BC skier skinning up Silver Basin ( Crystal sidecountry)on a day the South Back is open.
All the above for the resort skinner, plus
We all had to wait for him to complete his zig zag ascent before we could safely launch.
His skin track marred the pristine fall line.
He put in three sets of tracks and reduced the untracked pow.

Based upon your logic that the activity of a minority reduces the value of the experience for others etc., and that sharing does not override that ,can we get skinners banned from the Crystal resort and sidecountry areas by the USFS please???
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #64 on: 06/08/11, 07:42 PM »

"he said 300m" Yup, but the lookout is only 150-200' in the boundary, so how is it 900'+?  It's estimation and hearsay. "Outlaws"=LOL.  Sad, sad, quibbling. IMO, the boundary should be shifted to include the Lookout. Also, the apex of the baker NRA "wedge" should be shifted to include the saddle between Sherman Peak and Pooch Peak, rather than at an apex at the summit of Sherman.

I support Sizzlings initiative on redrawing these boundary lines. Both these make sense. Now what are you willing to concede in terms of territory Mr sizzling Carbide, I wonder?
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #65 on: 06/08/11, 08:26 PM »

Like I said, a "shift". The apex of the wedge would take away the Sherman summit area, directly below it, and a taper of the Squak Glacier, while putting the top at a logical, safe spot for riding. The lower parts of the wedge would start at the same spots. So, giving up 500' on the East to have it 500' West at the apex. This would take care of the majority of violations. People only ride to that high point because it is the safest way up and fear for the crevasses. http://www.wilderness.net/index.cfm?fuse=NWPS&latitude=48.8469353675&longitude=-121.735509874&zoom=11 The Lookout situation could include an "easement" access to the lookout (currently 150-200' inside the boundary), while taking away an equal portion along the ridge to the North. Snowmobile riders want to access the lookout (and do) all winter for the purpose of shelter and a rest spot with a beautiful view.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #66 on: 06/08/11, 08:50 PM »

Makes sense and as you say it would stop all the hysteria from BC skiers regarding crossing arbitrary wilderness boundary lines that were drawn without any regards to the natural terrain and logical turnaround or tour end points.
Being 200 ft or 25' from the hut makes no difference in reality, only in ideology.
And the Baker redraw looks absolutely logical.
I like it.
Of course... never happen and I'm sure the response will be " You'll have to pry 500ft of wilderness  boundary shift from my cold dead hands. " I think Amar already said something like that above.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #67 on: 06/08/11, 09:43 PM »

Scotsman, if you want to take on the issue of skinning at ski areas that is your prerogative.  That tangental subject is not my concern and is not in any way tied to the issue regarding the separation of skiers and snowmachiners in road accessible locations.

If people object to sharing the landscape with other users that negatively impact their use of the resource, it is their right to state their position and try to use the public process to shape policy.

Fairness is a matter of perspective.  My concern is effective policy.  Effective planning can address the concerns of most stakeholders and result in better recreation for most users.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #68 on: 06/08/11, 10:37 PM »

In the long run, effective policy will encourage separation of motorized and non-motorized users.  Sharing terrain is never going to work well.  Snowmobiling and skiing are not compatible, much like jet-skiing and swimming are not compatible.  It may not seem like a problem to the motorized user, but it will always be a problem to the non-motorized user.  The power mismatch is too great.  Still, I don't expect administrative changes in the near term, and I don't have time and energy to push for changes at present. 

For what it's worth, I suggest that snowmobilers think about what they gain AND what they lose on Mt Baker.

Mt Baker and Mt St Helens probably account for 90+ percent of the conflicts between snowmobilers and non-snowmobilers in western Washington over the course of a year.  My impression is that St Helens is used by snowmobilers over a longer season than Baker.  It seems that Baker is used mainly in spring, and the season favored by snowmobilers largely overlaps the season favored by backcountry skiers.  So I wonder if snowmobilers have given much thought to how much damage they are doing to themselves by insisting on riding at Mt Baker.  If not for Mt Baker, they would have much fewer conflicts with non-motorized recreationists and would generate much less ill will.  Riding Mt Baker is burning up political capital that could be valuable for other things snowmobilers care about.  Is it worth it?
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #69 on: 06/09/11, 07:30 AM »

The vast majority of BC skiers in the PNW are liberal leaning urbanites( NTTAWWT) who consider the mountains and especially the alpine regions as spirituous places and are usually proponents of non-motorized mountain travel ( against  snowmobiles, dirt bikes etc) Many consider recreational snowmobiling " blue collar" and" redneck".

And later:

Like most debates in America at this time.. it's turned into an ideological battle for some BC skiers who hate the very thought of any motorized transport in the alpine zones and wish they could regulate them into non-existence.

Scotsman would have us believe that backcountry skiers dislike snowmobiles because of ideology or maybe even class hatred.  Let me offer an alternative explanation.  I object to snowmobiles not because of my ideology but because of my senses.  When I go to the mountains, there are certain things that I value, and these things are revealed to me through my senses.  The problems I have with snowmobiles are revealed the same way.

I value silence when I go to the mountains.  Snowmobiles disrupt the silence with their high-pitched whining.

I value the sight of nature.  Snomobiles have an unequalled ability to mark up the landscape.  Admiring a mountain covered by snowmobile tracks is like admiring a painting covered with graffiti.

I value the smell of spring.  When snowmobiles pass me I instead get the smell of motor oil and exhaust.

I value the feel of natural snow when I ski on it.  Snowmobile tracks alter the snow so it feels like skiing over railroad tracks.

I value the sense of space that I feel in the mountains.  This sense develops from the time and effort it takes me to get there.  When I awake at a campsite after a day spent climbing and I'm visited before breakfast by snowmobilers who had their morning coffee in town, my sense of space is destroyed.

To say that ideology drives my objections to snowmobiles is really clueless.  It's my senses that bother me.  Maybe you need to get off the machine and let your senses clear in order to understand.
« Last Edit: 06/09/11, 07:33 AM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #70 on: 06/09/11, 07:46 AM »

  Maybe you need to get off the machine and let your senses clear in order to understand.
You should have left this sentence out. It detracts from the personal points made earlier and makes you sound pompous.

Any input on my comments about the boundary shift? Before it gets buried.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #71 on: 06/09/11, 08:38 AM »

You should have left this sentence out. It detracts from the personal points made earlier and makes you sound pompous.

Point well taken. I found Scotsman's posts offensive.  I shouldn't have responded in kind.

Quote
Any input on my comments about the boundary shift? Before it gets buried.

I don't think minor boundary shifts will improve the situation much.  They might reduce the basis for formal complaints to the Forest Service, but they wouldn't solve the basic problem as I see it.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #72 on: 06/09/11, 09:07 AM »

I don't think minor boundary shifts will improve the situation much.  They might reduce the basis for formal complaints to the Forest Service, but they wouldn't solve the basic problem as I see it.

Shifting the boundary will only cause sledders to move their incursion further into the closure. Most don't care where the boundary line is. Observe any closure or wilderness boundary and they are commonly crossed. Like in Amar's original post in this great TR, only one in a group cared. I think that's representative of the user group IME. Everywhere I've been along the boundary of Wilderness or a closure(like Tronsen) there are sled tracks crossing into the closure every time.

If people want to talk ideology, it's the ideology of ME, ME, ME, and it's not just the sledders it's skiers too. It's just that sledders impact other users more than the other way around, and they don't care. This really isn't about one group vs. the other, it's about people not caring about other people. ALL recreational pursuits are selfish.

Just like OHVs are restricted to certain trails and OHV areas, sleds should be too. It's for the greater good, not for non-motorized users.
« Last Edit: 06/09/11, 09:36 AM by aaron_wright » Logged
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #73 on: 06/09/11, 09:22 AM »

And later:

...  I object to snowmobiles not because of my ideology but because of my senses.  When I go to the mountains, there are certain things that I value, and these things are revealed to me through my senses.  The problems I have with snowmobiles are revealed the same way.

I value silence when I go to the mountains.  Snowmobiles disrupt the silence with their high-pitched whining.

I value the sight of nature.  Snomobiles have an unequalled ability to mark up the landscape.  Admiring a mountain covered by snowmobile tracks is like admiring a painting covered with graffiti.

I value the smell of spring.  When snowmobiles pass me I instead get the smell of motor oil and exhaust.

I value the feel of natural snow when I ski on it.  Snowmobile tracks alter the snow so it feels like skiing over railroad tracks.

I value the sense of space that I feel in the mountains.  This sense develops from the time and effort it takes me to get there.  When I awake at a campsite after a day spent climbing and I'm visited before breakfast by snowmobilers who had their morning coffee in town, my sense of space is destroyed.

To say that ideology drives my objections to snowmobiles is really clueless.  It's my senses that bother me.  Maybe you need to get off the machine and let your senses clear in order to understand.


Good words.Lowell. (edit to add) And good words Aaron. Likely common ideas to most backcountry skiers, another example here-
 http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7991439

Perhaps skiers with concerns could please step up and speak up about their concerns and assert their legitimate use of the Forest- quiet, winter non-motorized recreation. On the Mt. Baker District contact the Winter Rec Manager Otis Allen 360 854-2610, email oallen@fs.fed.us
« Last Edit: 06/09/11, 10:39 AM by WMC » Logged
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #74 on: 06/09/11, 01:30 PM »

Perhaps skiers with concerns could please step up and speak up about their concerns and assert their legitimate use of the Forest- quiet, winter non-motorized recreation. On the Mt. Baker District contact the Winter Rec Manager Otis Allen 360 854-2610, email oallen@fs.fed.us

And just to make sure you don't look selfish or elitist, be sure to include the already established millions of acres of wilderness and non motorized territory as part of the recreation plan in your suggestions.

there will always be boundaries and someone to violate them, it's incumbent on all of us to educate those people and if they continue to offend, do our part to help the FS enforce and penalize the offenders.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #75 on: 06/09/11, 06:16 PM »

As stated before, I think access to areas for non-motorized users is a beginning answer to the "conflicts" of user groups. Now, how to figure out how to get the roads groomed and parking managed by funds from non-motorized users.

Non-motorized users currently pay for SnoPark passes and support winter trail head maintenance.  These passes also support trail grooming where such agreements have been developed.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #76 on: 06/09/11, 08:54 PM »

Non-motorized users currently pay for SnoPark passes and support winter trail head maintenance.  These passes also support trail grooming where such agreements have been developed.

When they actually purchase them.
There are a high ratio of users that come up to the pass that end up with tickets on their windows because they don't have passes. As a result the forest service has take to posting a person at the main intersection of the Gold Creak area the last couple of season to sell passes.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #77 on: 06/09/11, 10:09 PM »

Gravitymk, as the system is set up, those that don't buy passes at most areas get tickets.  That is how the system works.  I assume after being issued a ticket many users can recognize the utility of purchasing a SnoPark pass...

... now your point in regards to this discussion was?
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #78 on: 06/10/11, 03:14 AM »

Non-motorized users currently pay for SnoPark passes and support winter trail head maintenance.  These passes also support trail grooming where such agreements have been developed.

With the "conflict" of a few people, why not find/establish non-motorized only access areas that are not shared use? over 3/4 of Baker is non-motorized wilderness, why the same access? Give the haters an alternative instead of eliminating a user class entirely?

which would still leave the need to educate those riders that are unfamiliar with the lines, particularly if they are not easy to identify by terrain. the blatant poachers need more than training....they need slapped with fines and confiscation of a few sleds. Cetainly the total number of violators don't come close to the number of lawful riders that would be impacted by closing an area.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #79 on: 06/10/11, 07:21 AM »


... now your point in regards to this discussion was?

You opened the door to my post with your comment T.

Edited to add: A great trip report Amar, worthy discussion of user group access as well.
« Last Edit: 06/10/11, 07:25 AM by gravitymk » Logged
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #80 on: 06/11/11, 10:39 AM »

Non-motorized users currently pay for SnoPark passes and support winter trail head maintenance.  These passes also support trail grooming where such agreements have been developed.
I believe yammadog was talking about paying for plowing and parking for new access areas...

Also, it is important to not forget that money is spent from snowmobilers gas tax funds for plowing and grooming.  This is extra money on top of the snopark passes that snowmobilers purchase with their registration.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #81 on: 06/11/11, 11:03 AM »


Also, it is important to not forget that money is spent from snowmobilers gas tax funds for plowing and grooming.  This is extra money on top of the snopark passes that snowmobilers purchase with their registration.

As suits the far larger amount of parking space required for trailers used by some...
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #82 on: 06/11/11, 12:24 PM »

Update: I received a call from the USFS law enforcement officer for the Mount Baker Ranger District on Friday, June 10. Yes, there is only a single LEO for this entire vast ranger district which covers everything west of North Cascades National Park and north of SR 20 (Mount Baker Highway and the ski area, Mount Baker Wilderness, Baker Lake, etc), plus a bunch of area south of SR 20 and north of Darrington including Cascade River Road. Kind of shocking. No wonder violations of all sorts go unpunished, they are very understaffed.

We spoke for a half hour, a good conversation. He stated that he thought the discussion raised by my report had been constructive, both within the USFS office and with snowmobile groups, and that some good would definitely result from it.

However, I was disappointed when he started by informing me that there was no way he could cite any of the violators, since the one photo which shows a registration number shows no background to identify where it was taken, while the photos that do show the snowmobiles inside the wilderness have no visible numbers. This is a very annoying catch-22, as I explained to him that there is no practical way to take a single photo which shows both a number and also landmarks which identify the wilderness boundary. To see the tiny number, you have to zoom in or be really close (which means no background), and to see landmarks on the boundary, you have to be wide-angle (which means the number is not readable). He felt that using a sequence of separate photos to try to prove the violation would not stand up in court, and it would end up wasting his and everyone's time since they would eventually be let off anyway due to insufficient proof of trespass. Very lame that the burden of proof is so difficult to meet given the current size of snowmo registration numbers. It would require much larger numbers posted on all 4 sides of the sled to have any chance of meeting this absurd standard. As it stands now, practically the only way to cite them is to have a USFS employee (the LEO, or a seasonal climbing ranger, or other ranger) actually see the snowmobiles inside wilderness and then testify in court to the violation.

He also said that he had spoken on the phone to one of the snowmobilers involved, who insisted that he had been using a GPS which showed that they were inside the legal NRA, and so any trespass either did not occur or was unintentional. I had already heard this story a few days ago, relayed to me by a third party. Unfortunately, his claim of a GPS just doesn't hold water at all, and sounds like a total fabrication. If they had been using a GPS which said they were inside the NRA boundary, they would have told me so when I confronted them! They did not make any such assertion at the time. Especially their apparent leader who was insistent that what they were doing was legal. Also, no GPS can be 1000-1500 ft in error, that is not in the realm of possible error over a sustained hour-long period (it could happen as a brief glitch of a few seconds at most, but not likely on a wide open glacier with unimpeded view of satellites). And regardless, GPS or not, they rode to Sherman Crater and looked into it from the gap at 9720 ft, which is so far inside the wilderness boundary (1500 ft) that no GPS is needed to know that you are trespassing.

The LEO also was contacted by the president of one of the local snowmobile clubs, who had seen this thread online and was worried about another potential black eye for snowmobilers and looking bad in public opinion. He was suggesting self-policing, education, flyers at the trailhead which show the wilderness boundary, etc. I told the LEO that those all sounded good to me, anything that snowmobile groups do to help prevent wilderness incursions is great.

I made a few suggestions too: a large sign at the snowmobile bridge, showing a map of the legal riding area in the triangle and the surrounding wilderness. Also, any maps or flyers should include some easy instructions for identifying the wilderness boundary (on the west side of the triangle at least) in the field. There is no way to post signs marking the boundary on a glacier as there is in forest, so this procedure is needed:

Look uphill and identify Sherman Peak (tall triangular point). Look downhill and find the cliffs that mark the east side of the Deming Glacier where it splits from the Easton. Mentally draw a straight line connecting those two points (or use your arms to point at each). If you're left (west) of that line, then you are inside the wilderness.

That method is very easy and foolproof on any clear day. The boundary on the east side of the triangle is harder identify in the field, since there is no visible landmark at its downhill end. But the number of trespasses across the east boundary is minuscule compared to the west boundary, so there is less urgency to deal with that.

I also suggested that the signs and flyers specifically point out that riding up to Sherman Crater is forbidden, since that is 1500 ft inside the wilderness, as is riding to the flat area near 9500 ft where they like to stop (about 600 ft inside the wilderness). Snowmobilers are welcome to visit these locations (along with ANY other location in ANY wilderness), as long as they are on foot or skis and leave the snowmobile parked behind in a legal area. Their freedom is really not restricted at all by closing areas off to snowmobiles. They still have just as much freedom as me or anyone else does to visit those areas, but they must do so on foot or ski just like the rest of us. No special treatment.

Snowmobile use is a privilege (just like driving an automobile), it is not a right and is not protected in any such way. Restrictions on where you can ride a snowmobile are no more burdensome than the restrictions on where you can drive your car. You can't legally drive a 4WD truck with balloon tires up the Easton Glacier. Why can you ride a snowmobile?. And specialized 4WD trucks have driven nearly to the summit of 22,600 ft Ojos del Salado (the world's highest volcano and second highest peak in the Western Hemisphere after Aconcagua), which included a bit of glacier travel. So similar vehicles could perhaps drive most of the way up Mount Baker too, or many other places in the Cascades. But they are forbidden to do so, and I don't hear drivers complaining that their freedom has been restricted.

Lowell stated this point above, and I was going to post the same thing before he beat me to it. I think it's one of the most crucial points and counterarguments in the entire snowmobile / motorized-recreation land-use debate. Any snowmobile owner is welcome to visit any location in Mount Baker Wilderness, or any other wilderness area. As welcome as any automobile owner. But both will need to leave their vehicle behind at some point in order to do so.

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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #83 on: 06/11/11, 02:11 PM »

I don't think that the final bell has been rung yet, but as I've said in other threads on this subject, people are only just starting to get the most basic idea of what it's going to be like when the coming plague unfolds.

Thanks to Amar, Lowell, WMC, and anyone else who speaks out.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #84 on: 06/11/11, 07:04 PM »

LEO's have a very tough job with tons of land and very little budgets.

Most of the snowmobile community is very much against the violations and if you get a picture of the folks doing this, not so much the tabs, but faces even add the group as a whole. But if you can get the tabs in a photo bonus, post those picts on this forum or the sledding forums. Or even pm/email me directly, I'll take the heat on the sled forums to call these people out to stop violating and get educated. We have been working on the self policing and marking wilderess boundaries to try and help USFS. It is a culture change in it's infancy and will grow. Just as many now have AVY gear/training, they will also learn and know the boundaries of the areas they ride.

Even though we can agree to disagree on my right to sled legally in high alpine areas, I will support any effort to stop the intrusions as it does nothing to help protect our current, limited riding areas.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #85 on: 06/12/11, 07:55 AM »

Amar, I was one of the snowmobiliers that was in the second group that stopped and turned around. So if we were out of bounds then I am truly sorry! I am an avid snowshoer, hiker and skier as well and I can't stand people that break the rules and screw it up for the rest of us!!
But you are way out of bounds of saying that we should only ride on roads and to say off the glacier!! We have already been restricted to very few areas to ride and every year they try to restrict us even more, it will come to the point were we will have no where to legally ride!!
So instead of getting all bent out of shape and saying we shouldn't ride on Baker at all, how about looking for a better way to inform snowmobiliers were the boundies are!
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #86 on: 06/12/11, 09:09 AM »

Perhaps suggesting to the USFS, a one or two year probationary period of agreed self-enforcement by the motorized users with an expectation of close to zero trespasses into the Mt. Baker Wilderness, might yield positive results.

Tracks within the Wilderness indicate violations. 

Should the effort not produce significant behavior change and reduce the number "bad apples", stronger, more restrictive policies should then be considered.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #87 on: 06/12/11, 12:21 PM »

But you are way out of bounds of saying that we should only ride on roads and to say off the glacier!! We have already been restricted to very few areas to ride and every year they try to restrict us even more, it will come to the point were we will have no where to legally ride!!
So instead of getting all bent out of shape and saying we shouldn't ride on Baker at all, how about looking for a better way to inform snowmobiliers were the boundies are!
I believe the day will come that snowmobiles are managed just like any other OHV and will be restricted to roads and some trails and maybe a few clear cut areas that function as OHV parks for off trail play.

I don't know about the MBSNF but outside of Wilderness areas where are snowmobiles illegal on the OWNF? Tronsen area, where else? There are a few voluntary closures, but that status is meaningless. The Wenatchee Ridge road at Blewett sees as much traffic as Scotty Creek and the Diamond Head side. The reality is that there are huge tracts of land available on the OWNF for unregulated snowmobile use. I don't like it when snowmobilers talk about being restricted to smaller and smaller areas, it's just not true. At least on the OWNF.

Like any user of Forest lands, it is my responsibility to know where I can and can't go. Using the argument that it's non motorized users job to educate snowmobilers about closures and boundary lines is BS. Claiming ignorance about laws is the oldest excuse in the book for violators. I hear the same story over and over again in all seasons from motorized users, "I didn't know". Most of the time if you point out that if they entered on any legal trails they had to pass signs about motorized closures they disappear. I would love to ride certain trails in Wilderness on my MTB, but don't because it's illegal. I have no problems sharing trails with motorized users if they are allowed, it doesn't ruin my day. Most of the trail in my area(Wenatchee valley) are shared use and legal for dirtbikes and I have had no negative encounters while on foot or my bike.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #88 on: 06/12/11, 06:06 PM »

However, I was disappointed when he started by informing me that there was no way he could cite any of the violators, since the one photo which shows a registration number shows no background to identify where it was taken, while the photos that do show the snowmobiles inside the wilderness have no visible numbers. This is a very annoying catch-22, as I explained to him that there is no practical way to take a single photo which shows both a number and also landmarks which identify the wilderness boundary.

Would a court accept two (or more) digital photos as evidence if the metadata showed that they were taken within a minute of each other? Or is metadata too easy to fake? What if the photos are still in the camera? Just curious...
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James Wells
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #89 on: 06/12/11, 06:49 PM »

Video, zoom out.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #90 on: 06/12/11, 07:36 PM »

Well if they succeed in banning snowmobiles you can always go to Svalbard.
Looks like paradise. Grin
http://vimeo.com/24858865
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #91 on: 06/12/11, 08:19 PM »

Well if they succeed in banning snowmobiles you can always go to Svalbard.
Looks like paradise. Grin
http://vimeo.com/24858865

Is that near Concrete?
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #92 on: 06/12/11, 08:29 PM »

Is that near Concrete?

I think its near Wenatchee.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #93 on: 06/12/11, 08:35 PM »

I think its near Wenatchee.
Looks like Cashmere or Peshastin maybe.
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Re: May 29, 2011, Mt Baker, Easton Above the Clouds
« Reply #94 on: 06/13/11, 06:54 AM »

Well if they succeed in banning snowmobiles you can always go to Svalbard.
Looks like paradise. Grin
http://vimeo.com/24858865

I wonder if they make them wear helmets there....maybe just one of those goofy hats and a flask of vodka.
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