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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2011 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  December 2011 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  Dec 21-22, 2011, Sasse Ridge
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Author Topic: Dec 21-22, 2011, Sasse Ridge  (Read 2353 times)

Posts: 321

Dec 21-22, 2011, Sasse Ridge
« on: 12/23/11, 10:48 AM »

Jane and I had put off ski camping because of the weather long enough, so we finally decided to go even it was just to be out there. The ski up to the lower of our two regular spots on Sasse Ridge was quite nice; coverage was about normal for this time of year, and there was about an inch of new snow on top of a one to two inch breakable crust. The sort of crust that is essentially un-skiable at least on our skis. It may have been fine however on those surfboards-for-skis that a lot of people are using now. Lots of animal tracks as we have come to expect in this area, but nothing that would pass as wolf tracks. Yes there are wolves now in the Teanaway drainage, which is just the other side of Sasse Ridge.

While the sun shone on our campsite mid-afternoon it was very pleasant with just a fleece jacket on, but once in the shade the temperature dropped to ~25 degrees. And later as we stood around looking at the stars it really started to drop. When it got to 14 degrees, we decided it was time to get in the tents. In spite of a forecast low of 21 degrees, the low ended up at 10.  On a clear night with absolutely no wind, that's often what happens this time of year. It makes you remember why we carry all those Grabber hand warmers and foot warmers. I used to judge how cold a trip was by the number of pairs of Grabbers I used; this trip would have had a score of 4 with 6 being about the max.

Because I had hurt my back loading the car (and was initially wondering if I could even get the pack on), and Jane's hip was bothering her and because of the crust we decided not to ski up higher in the morning like we usually do. Quitting while ahead seemed like a good plan. On the way out we met our friend Pete Larned as he was grooming the cross country ski trail that starts at the Salmon La Sac parking lot.

This is a great service provided by the Cle Elum Ranger District; you can ski on a groomed track for free! If you park out on the road you don't even need a Sno Park permit. You do however need a permit to park in the large parking lot or on the access road that leads to it --- and  it is patrolled. It's worth noting that the groomer used will not chew up and smooth out frozen hardpack very well; it works best on relatively new snow. It's an odd contraption called a Ginsugroomer. I'm not kidding!   Apparently these things are used to finish tracks even for the highest level of competition.

Pete said he would be grooming Thursdays this year instead of Fridays,  So when there is some fresh snow midweek  down to say 2000 feet elevation and you have  the chance, give the track a try. The price is right.

Some assorted pictures from the trip:

One of the pics illustrates the shock absorbers attached to my tent fly. I'm not sure how many tents use elastic tensioners now, but one problem with the usual shock cord or fabric covered elastic is that it can get wet, stretch out with a snow load and then freeze. If the weather is right the cycle may repeat, and the tensioner ends up stretched out and frozen that way, more or less ineffective. My solution has been to use silicone tubing (the type used in model airplanes) with a loop of  strong Spectra fishing line inside tied such that it takes up load when the tubing is almost fully stretched. (Same idea as snubbers used for fishing.)  No matter what the weather it always works, and does not freeze up.

I also included a picture of the rechargeable lithium batteries that I use for my tent light. With it getting dark before 5 now, you can end up spending a lot of money on disposable lithium batteries. With rechargeables you can have all the light you want and not worry about it.


Posts: 2434

Re: Dec 21-22, 2011, Sasse Ridge
« Reply #1 on: 12/23/11, 12:40 PM »

Love all the little systems, as usual, Larry.  Thanks for the post.

larry's sister

Posts: 54

Re: Dec 21-22, 2011, Sasse Ridge
« Reply #2 on: 12/23/11, 08:50 PM »

Lar, What about the instructions about how to recover your happy hour drink when spilled?

* IMG_1048making_a_slushy_sm.jpg (151.95 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 550 times.)

Posts: 324

Re: Dec 21-22, 2011, Sasse Ridge
« Reply #3 on: 12/23/11, 09:24 PM »

Lar, What about the instructions about how to recover your happy hour drink when spilled?
So Larry's in Blue Man Group?  Cool!
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