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Author Topic: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk  (Read 71462 times)
Jim Oker
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #25 on: 03/31/12, 09:55 AM »

I've seen one thing for sure over the years, very much so on nwhikers and to some extent here - if you want to draw attention to a place that has just been reported on, suggest that the report should not have been posted. It seems like a very good way to massively increase the page views and the length of time for which the report stays near the top. Unless of course the poster relents and agrees to remove the report, but clearly that's not always what happens.

I'm fine with people choosing not to report on certain tours as they see fit (it strikes me that expecting them to do otherwise is its own form of selfishness), and I get and share some sense of what Lowell is going after here, but I have also made my peace with the fact that others are going to choose to report on what they choose to report on. Such is the nature of a forum like this.
« Last Edit: 03/31/12, 09:59 AM by Jim Oker » Logged
Lowell_Skoog
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #26 on: 03/31/12, 10:30 AM »

I've seen one thing for sure over the years, very much so on nwhikers and to some extent here - if you want to draw attention to a place that has just been reported on, suggest that the report should not have been posted. It seems like a very good way to massively increase the page views and the length of time for which the report stays near the top.

Yeah. I expressed my concerns to Amar in private. He went public with them (without naming the source). The cat is way out of the bag.

Wish I was skiing today. Yesterday was nice.  Smiley
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samthaman
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #27 on: 03/31/12, 10:36 AM »

Lowell, i meant to thank you in my earlier post for coming forward and stating your case. Arguing on the internet (even politely) is tedious and exhausting so I though it was exemplary of you to come forward and make your case under your own name. Thank you for that.

When living in Vermont, I frequently came across what I would describe as the mountains-as-church crowd vs. what you described as the mountains-as-arena crowd. Given the relatively tiny amount of BC terrain in VT vs. this area, there tended to be a lot more friction over this issue than I've yet encountered in Wa. Ultimately, the way I personally reconciled the two states of mind (I would often find myself in both camps) was by realizing that both states of mind are true and valid, but that both are simply states of mind. People go to Central Park in NYC to connect with nature and feel that they're in the wilderness, and people travel to the furthest, wildest corners of the earth to test themselves. No-place is only church or only arena.

I run frequently on a small, formerly clear-cut, mountain near my apartment; the Chuckanuts. Some days I run to beat a clock or see how far I can go, but other days, to clear my head, think, about the future and enjoy being in the woods, however un-wild they may be. Perhaps you, and those that support your position, could enjoy Ruby mountain in a similar way without feeling that the mountains were somehow cheapened as a result?
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Jim Oker
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #28 on: 03/31/12, 11:01 AM »

Yes, not the first time I've seen someone be compelled to make a public point based on those sorts of PMs.

Tomorrow should be nice for skiing too, eh? That's what I'm hoping anyway. And if I'm lucky, I'll find myself a spot to tour where we are setting our own track, figuring our own way, and getting that "sense of discovery" that Lowell, Ski Photomatt, and others have mentioned when this topic arises. I feel lucky to live in a place where that still happens a fair amount of the time. Sam - yes, those northeast kingdom boys were a bit touchy even back in the early '90s.
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #29 on: 03/31/12, 12:32 PM »

It's far better to have an open public discussion than deal with PMs. After receiving a second PM on this issue (Lowell's), I decided to take it public to head off any others who might want to PM me asking to take the TR down. And I don't think that PMs on an online forum like TAY are somehow sacred or privileged private communications whose existence can not be revealed to the public.


I'm one of the people who contacted Amar about this trip report.

I did not ask Amar to remove his TR. But I explained why I was disappointed to see it and why I have chosen not to post reports about this destination.

While you did not ask me directly to remove this TR (the other person who PMed me did ask directly), your PM appeared to be intended to pressure me (or shame me, or guilt-trip me) in that direction. Especially since you quoted your PM to the author of the March 22 Ruby Mountain TR, where you did pressure him towards TR removal (stating "my choice when it comes to Ruby Mountain is to limit its publicity to word-of-mouth. If you enjoy the quiet sense of discovery up there, you might consider the same thing. But it's entirely up to you."). A PM from someone else with the same words might not have had any effect, but a message from Lowell Skoog carries great weight (a respect which you've earned over many years), and your simple suggestion actually feels more like heavy pressure from the NW backcountry community. Your PM apparently did contribute to his requesting Marcus to delete his TR.

I want to comment on a particular point that Amar made--that increased backcountry skier traffic on Ruby Mountain could protect it from the revival of decades-old tram-building schemes. I think that's a red herring. An influential friend of mine (with ties to the Wilderness Society, REI, the Seattle business community, several philanthropic organizations--a real mover and shaker) has been lobbying for several years to build a hiking trail up Ruby from the Ross Dam parking lot. Just a trail! No parking lot would need to be built, since there's already one there. He's run into a complete brick wall. For a hiking trail! So no, I don't think we need to worry about tramways. Amar's argument on that score isn't compelling at all.

It's just a thought that crossed my mind at the end of writing that long post, I'm not attached to it greatly. But: Political climates can change completely. A future with 3-4 straight terms of pro-development Republican administrations, coupled with simultaneous Republican control of Congress (not to mention the Republican appointees who have lifetime seats on the Supreme Court), could easily result in not only a tram up Ruby, but also a dilution or dismantling of the nation's environmental laws and protections, and subsequent massive development throughout federal lands including National Parks. Just because your friend can't get a new hiking trail built up Ruby in today's political climate has no bearing whatsoever on future development within the North Cascades National Park Complex, especially its National Recreation Areas which were formed with the intent to have much more developed recreation facilities built -- but I think you realize all of that. (And I'm curious to know, why doesn't he just lobby to brush out and maintain the existing trail up Ruby from Fourth of July Pass instead? Yes, it's a longer route with 900 vert more gain, but if he is as connected as you say, that should be a much easier battle to win.)

As you read that thread, you'll find a lot of different viewpoints about the mountains and backcountry skiing. But the one that resonates with me is the notion that there is something very special about noticing a spot on a topo map and wondering what it would be like to ski there. And daydreaming about it for months or even years and finally heading out with no certainty of how you will get there or what you will find. And the delight that results when the reality far surpasses your daydreams. That's what I want to preserve. Amar must have felt that after his many years of daydreaming about Ruby Mountain. His trip report reveals the pride and delight that he felt in completing his long ambition. So my response to him was to suggest, might it not be a good thing to preserve that experience for other skiers as well? Not everywhere, but surely Ruby Mountain is a good candidate. Obviously, Amar does not agree. So it goes. I am not angry with Amar. The emotion that I feel is more like sadness. The inevitable future that I hoped to delay a bit longer has arrived.

I'm very confused by that paragraph, Lowell: how exactly does my TR spoil this experience for anyone? Why can't someone read my TR, feel stoked about visiting Ruby, and then experience the same joy that I felt, whenever they finally go and ski Ruby for the first time, whether it be days from now or years? If they go early in the morning right after a snowfall, they might even get the joy of routefinding and breaking trail the whole way up, just like you did your first time. In my case, I had read all the previous Ruby TRs that I could find, and yet I was able to enjoy a sense of personal discovery on March 24 just fine, as did my 3 partners. Therefore that experience is still preserved and available for other skiers who wish to have it, whether I had posted this TR or not. As I stated in my reply to your PM, I'm sorry that my TR has contributed to your ongoing feelings of sadness and loss regarding Ruby Mountain. But I think the degree of blame you're placing on me and this TR is unwarranted, given the ongoing increase in exposure for Ruby over the last few years.

As someone who writes and speaks about backcountry skiing, I too have wrestled with the question of publicizing secret spots. My solution is to recognize three kinds of backcountry places: 1) those that are already well known and accessible, where additional publicity has little effect; 2) those that are very remote, where difficult access prevents them from becoming popular; and 3) places that are accessible yet for some reason little known.

I don't mind publicizing spots in the first two categories. This is how we introduce newcomers to the sport and inspire experienced skiers to expand their horizons. The last group however, are backcountry gems. I don't write about these spots or mention them in my slide shows. Although the wilderness is a big place, the number of good, accessible, little known spots is tiny and always shrinking.

We've seen this list posted by you and quoted by others many times over the years. But I think that it has an important omission, so I'd like to suggest a 4th category: 4) places that are already well known and very accessible, but for some reason (perhaps fear of crowds and tracked up lines) are relatively uncrowded nowadays.

These places are also backcountry gems of a different sort, perhaps they are old and faded but now repolished gems. There are several spots near the WA passes that fall into this category, with immediate near-roadside access and relatively avy-safe terrain, yet minimal crowds in recent years even on big powder days. These are the places that I often intentionally don't write TRs about after a great powder day -- but I would never suggest to anyone else that they not write a TR (or ask them to remove a TR) about any of these places. Some people write conditions TRs about such places with vague names like "Snoqualmie BC" or "Stevens BC" to avoid giving the actual location.

I think that these places exist through what I have come to call the "over-traversing effect", whereby skiers get stuck into incorrectly thinking that the nearby, best-known, most obvious places must be all tracked out, so they have to go farther afield in order to have fresh tracks. I have witnessed this effect over many years at ski areas here (namely Crystal and Alpental), where the majority of powder-seeking skiers spend all too much time and effort traversing to the most distant reachable portions of the ski area in search of powder, thus tracking out those areas more quickly while much closer areas that require far less traversing (or none at all) remain less tracked out for far longer. Similarly, I'm guessing that many people assume that well-known roadside backcountry destinations must be busy and tracked out (or maybe they're just bored of going there), so they go elsewhere and thus these areas are now often relatively uncrowded and untracked all day. I was worried that my March 23 Tatoosh TR might fall into this category, but I think that our complete untracked solitude that day was due to random chance and good luck, rather than any actual lessening of crowds in the Tatoosh due to this effect or any other effect.


We should all applaud Amar for skiing from somewhere other than Paradise!
First off it is nice to see Amar actually skiing somewhere other than Paradise!

The irony in these attempts at humor is striking, given that I've posted TRs from a larger geographic range than all but a few TAY members. Haven't I posted more TRs from California on TAY than anyone else? Probably am near the top posters of Oregon TRs too. And just a couple of summers ago, people were saying that I only skied on Mount Baker! ((shaking my head))

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Jim Oker
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #30 on: 03/31/12, 12:46 PM »

And I don't think that PMs on an online forum like TAY are somehow sacred or privileged private communications whose existence can not be revealed to the public.
In case this is a response to my comments, I want to be clear that my only point there was "even PMs on this topic have a tendency to lead to the public discussion that increases the exposure." If one wishes to reduce TR exposure of a given spot, it seems it's best not to reply in any way when a TR on that spot pops up. The power dynamic is unquestionably not in favor of someone who is hoping to lessen exposure of a place. Sure, the PMs work sometimes, and sometimes they very much backfire.
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wood_Ster
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #31 on: 03/31/12, 02:22 PM »

1st world problems
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AlpineRose
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #32 on: 03/31/12, 02:55 PM »

Gee, maybe Marcus should just remove the TAY "Trip Reports" option.

Amar, I really enjoyed this trip report, just as I do all your well-written, informative other reports.  It's fun reading about places I may not have thought of skiing, even though I may have visited them in the summer.  Peoples' love for these places shines through; maybe that's what I like thr most.

Much more preferable to the "skied-somewhere-on-planet-Earth" style favored by some.   
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Animal
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #33 on: 03/31/12, 02:57 PM »

Honestly, I have been eying this same ski location for years by asking the question, what would it be like to ski here on the North side of Ruby?  Posting the trip is great im my mind.  I would have posted my trip and not removed it if I ever got people from Bremerton interested in the North Cascades.  I almost just posted a ski trip I did up Sourdough Mountain that I did in February from the same parking lot if it were not silly little computer problems with learning out how to post photos on this web site that eventually did me in and I gave up.  The nice thing about Washington versus Colorado where I grew up is - quantity of snow makes up for quality (actually we have great snow).  It would have snowed, and the next person would have skied fresh lines and had a great time too.  Lets be honest there are 7 million people in this state, do you ever say to yourself that you are glad you are not one of those suckers watching television.  Great post, nice pictures!
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davidG
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #34 on: 03/31/12, 03:24 PM »

...((shaking my head))


Hee, hee.   Yeah, a bit ironic, but still funny - attempting to defuse odd situations comes in many colors..

If offering my own paint, it might be I'd say that this is the weirdest thread (not saddest thread, because that belongs, in part, to me and some others from last week  Wink ) that I've seen around here in some time - well, at least since Billy the Mountain retired..

Did I just post in the middle of a Saturday afternoon?   Embarrassed
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niko
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #35 on: 03/31/12, 06:11 PM »

I for one have enjoyed every single one of Amar's reports--often enviously,  I might add, but not because he stole my stash of powder. His reports are useful and beautiful, a rare combination. As for Ruby: censorship never works. There have been dozens of Ruby reports at TAY and nwhikers, including winter reports. Everybody who cares about bc skiing knows there is a lot of prime bc terrain there; it's relatively unfrequented only because many people, myself included, are too busy or lazy to do the 6-hr round-trip drive on top of a 5k climb. And, yes, I hope the mythic tram gets built in my lifetime so I don't have to drive to Whistler for vertical. Invest in Marblemount, people. N
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #36 on: 04/01/12, 02:09 AM »

As the Cascade gems are slowly documented, it makes me sad, though it is inevitable. It's inevitable that some places I like to ski will someday see exposure to the internet. When it happens, I'll mourn the loss of places that I've found or that were shown me by friends; places I could nearby find solitude and peace in mountain snow. Then I'll find more, but they'll be harder to reach.

For those losing favorite haunts to trip-report-following masses, it's a tragedy, and they respond that way. For those who have just found a special place, and wish to relate it to their many friends, requests for censorship are understandably met with intolerance. It's the way of things; we probably can't change it. Colorado's fourteeners were palpably better before overuse spurred furrows of professional trail through tundra, but they'd be worse without those trails now.

It's why I usually post only weather and snow conditions with regional specificity in winter, unless a spot is either popular or essentially unreported. Every line, stash, favorite spot, and gem is prominently featured on a topo map, and has been since the sixties,  yet some are still mysteries. The more skiers I meet, the more I find that we all have different stashes. If we all spread out, we'll preserve the loneliness of wilderness a little longer.

The ultimate savior of solitude is our weather. Complicated topography doesn't hurt.

Please don't tram Ruby, or any other peak.
« Last Edit: 04/01/12, 02:23 AM by Charlie Hagedorn » Logged

lrudholm
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #37 on: 04/01/12, 01:13 PM »


While you did not ask me directly to remove this TR (the other person who PMed me did ask directly), your PM appeared to be intended to pressure me (or shame me, or guilt-trip me) in that direction. Especially since you quoted your PM to the author of the March 22 Ruby Mountain TR, where you did pressure him towards TR removal (stating "my choice when it comes to Ruby Mountain is to limit its publicity to word-of-mouth. If you enjoy the quiet sense of discovery up there, you might consider the same thing. But it's entirely up to you."). A PM from someone else with the same words might not have had any effect, but a message from Lowell Skoog carries great weight (a respect which you've earned over many years), and your simple suggestion actually feels more like heavy pressure from the NW backcountry community. Your PM apparently did contribute to his requesting Marcus to delete his TR.


I posted my march 22nd TR to get people stoked and to use the skintrack that my friend and I put a lot of work into.  I removed it out of respect of Lowell Skoog. He has given so much beta and documentation to the community I figured I could at least give him one favor. I also didn't feel pressured and may have not removed my TR if I had spent more time writing a more detailed trip report. (Thats hindsight though.)

Since the cats out of the bag I figured I could share some Ruby stoke!!!!
 


* Matt-in-Trees-Ruby_3.jpg (57.69 KB, 600x400 - viewed 1041 times.)

* Ruby-Peak-Matt-Snow-Explosion_3.jpg (162.52 KB, 600x400 - viewed 1019 times.)
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Leyland
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #38 on: 04/01/12, 06:51 PM »

Ruby isn't exactly a secret stash.  It's probably the most skied peak in winter along SR20 west of the crest. 

Amar, (and everyone) thanks for posting about your fun and beautiful skiing adventures.  The last decade's boom in backcountry skiing will certainly bring more of these kind of discussions; and TAY is in direct confrontation to the "locals-only" mentality.

It's a tough balance between public exposure of beautiful places and overuse.  Maybe if TAY required a login to view it would add more to the community, and feel less like broadcasting to media-consuming masses...
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chill people, skiing is fun
GregSimon
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #39 on: 04/01/12, 07:56 PM »

What about this one that Amar posted back in January:
http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=23286.0
- Very close to Seattle
- Known only to locals
- Sees very few (ski) tracks
And now that secret stash is on the internet, too.   Wink

I'll confess I'm one of those too lazy for the 6hr roundtrip drive and 5200 foot vertical in a day.  So I'll only know Ruby mountain from Amar's report.  And I did enjoy it.
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jwplotz
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #40 on: 04/01/12, 08:20 PM »

I think tr's on TAY give the false impression that there is a limited number of areas in which to tour in solitude. The Cascades are vast on both sides of the crest, that with just a little imagination and higher tolerance for suffering, one can always find undisturbed turns, and then not talk about it afterwards.
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scottb
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #41 on: 04/01/12, 08:56 PM »

OK here is the real reason we Skagit Valley elitist and others in the "know" do not want all you Seattle poachers up on "our" mountain(besides all those ridiculous green Gore-tex pants and never ending stream of Subaru wagons taking up space in the parking lots). Its a known local fact that the metal box on top of Ruby is not a radio repeater, but a secret stash of CANDY!!!, that right, NewHalem elves come up twice a year and stock it with not only butterscotch lozenges and lemon suckee drops, but also marsh mellow peeps and imported Canadian Coffee Crisp- and its all for us so stay away.


* IMG_0414.jpg (45.32 KB, 640x480 - viewed 938 times.)
« Last Edit: 04/01/12, 09:40 PM by scottb » Logged
HillsHaveEyes
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #42 on: 04/01/12, 11:09 PM »

Coffee Crisp! I suspected as much.
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Roger Strong
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #43 on: 04/02/12, 12:40 AM »

Thank gawd it's "ONLY" playing in the mountains...

Amar and Lowell, along with every one else who's chosen to enter the world of internet chatter;...please keep doing exactly what you love to do, continue to inspire and don't ever stop sharing...as mountain people, we are only a postage stamp compared to the rest of the hectic planet that just don't get it...
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John Morrow
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #44 on: 04/02/12, 06:30 AM »



 It's what distinguishes the Cascades from a place like the Alps.

I am not sure how I stand on this issue overall.  I go back and forth as evidenced in my TR posting past.

But I do think one fallacy here in the argument, Lowell, is that access is what distinguishes the Alps form the Cascades, really.  Few plowed roads, no huts, no trams, dense forest bands to climb through.

In the end, for me it is purely selfishness, I admit it.  There are many here stronger than me yet I want it all to myself in solitude with fresh untracked snow.  In the winter I want to sleep in a bed at night.  More and more I realize I am not going to get my way. 
The white wilderness is abundant in the Cascades, it just takes commitment of time and determination of will and strength to reach.  Or just find the densely forested south facing trees with the unbroken band of cliffs above, directly over the highway.  I have these places all to myself and am constantly amazed! (a little levity)
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Bronco
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #45 on: 04/02/12, 10:45 AM »

OK here is the real reason we Skagit Valley elitist and others in the "know" do not want all you Seattle poachers up on "our" mountain(besides all those ridiculous green Gore-tex pants and never ending stream of Subaru wagons taking up space in the parking lots). Its a known local fact that the metal box on top of Ruby is not a radio repeater, but a secret stash of CANDY!!!, that right, NewHalem elves come up twice a year and stock it with not only butterscotch lozenges and lemon suckee drops, but also marsh mellow peeps and imported Canadian Coffee Crisp- and its all for us so stay away.

They're always after me lucky charms!!!
« Last Edit: 04/26/12, 11:00 AM by Bronco » Logged
Randy
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #46 on: 04/02/12, 11:39 AM »

In nearby British Columbia, a number places like Ruby Mtn have a hut near timberline.  Many of the public huts have a couple dozen folks staying at the hut and skiing the area every weekend, the stealth huts less so.    I don't think there will ever be a public hut on Ruby Mtn -- perhaps there is a stealth hut up there already that the locals want to protect from discovery.

On a recent BC hut trip, my group of six skiied for three solid days out of the hut and had fresh tracks on every run -- even with 18 people staying in the hut and even though no new snow fell during those days.  Everyone did a great job of "spooning" tracks to avoid "wasting" snow.    Sharing and showing consideration for others does take a little more effort.  Of course the feeling was not that of adventure, discovery and wilderness -- simply fun in the snow.

Personally I don't mind sharing ski routes with other muscle powered folks -- The fact that some of my old favorite routes are now overrun by snow-machines saddens me, whereas I actually enjoy seeing other skiers, snowboarders and even snowshoers learn to enjoy the mountains that have given so much to me.

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melchap
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #47 on: 04/02/12, 03:04 PM »

I fail to see how Ruby Mountain is a secret.  It exists on topographic maps and satellite images.  It is visible from nearby locations and is accessible  as a day trip from a major road.

Amar, I enjoyed reading this trip report and always read your many detailed and thoughtful trip reports.  I hope you leave this report intact with all the details.

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Feck
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #48 on: 04/02/12, 04:06 PM »

I'm not sure I understand the difference between climbing and skiing.  I've climbed a number of things that are visible from the road and have route descriptions in old and new guidebooks.  Despite all the information available we still had adventures on route.

Wishbone Arete
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~Link~
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Re: March 24, 2012, Ruby Mtn, North Side via Happy Crk
« Reply #49 on: 04/02/12, 04:41 PM »

I blame Go-Pro. 
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