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| | |-+  April 7-8, 2012 Chikamin Peak
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Author Topic: April 7-8, 2012 Chikamin Peak  (Read 2825 times)
chrism
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April 7-8, 2012 Chikamin Peak
« on: 04/10/12, 10:33 PM »


Chikamin Peak at sunset

Liz and I skied Chikamin Peak on Sunday.  On Saturday, we left Snoqualmie Pass, climbed into delightful sunshine at the head of Commonwealth Basin and up and over the catwalk where we found MJS's bootpack making things a bit easier. 

We traversed around to the slopes above and west of Alaska Lake and found nice cold pow in the trees on the run down to the lake.  Then we climbed up Alaska's SW ridge, and found another welcome run through light, dry snow down to Joe Lake.  Sweet solitude at Joe...


Descent to Joe Lake

We camped at the outlet of Joe Lake Saturday night.  It was pretty windy at camp, and we were a bit concerned about the winds higher up on Chikamin where lots of blowing snow was evident.  This had us feeling doubtful about Sunday's objective, but there was plenty else to ski in the area so no matter.

Sunday morning came after missing the early alarm, and the sound of the winds up high had us thinking of other options.  Hemmed and hawed over breakfast and finally found ourselves headed towards Gold Creek to just go and at least check it out.  The decent into Gold Creek was firm and quick, and then there was nothing left to do but start climbing.

Found a camp and tracks from a group of 3 from possibly Saturday.  Ascent through the trees on climber's left of the main drainage was tricky skinning, but things got easier for a while above that.  We managed to skin to something like 500 feet below Chikamin ridge on the SE side of the peak, where we found a boot pack from the previous group mostly filled in with wind drift.  Popped out onto the ridge just E of the summit pyramid into sweet views of everything in the area and a brief break in the wind.  It lasted long enough to suck us into starting our climb up the pyramid and then returned in full force to spice things up. 


Climbing Chikamin's summit pyramid

We stopped just short of the top in a decent transition spot and headed down quick to get out of the wind.  The snow in the upper chute was surprisingly only slightly wind affected and skied really well, with some sluffing throughout but very manageable and allowing for fast, fun turns in stellar surrounds.  Sun effect creeped in with descent but was still fun soft stuff till well below 5000, but fully sticky by the valley bottom.  What a great line!


The payoff

The trip out Gold Creek was fairly straight forward but long, of course.  Shortly after starting the walk back to the car at Summit West, we were rescued from ski boots-on-road pain by Scott and Matt, who'd pulled off the highway to take photos of the sunset and happily shuttled us back.  Lucky us - thanks a lot you guys.   A great end to a great weekend.
« Last Edit: 04/10/12, 10:36 PM by chrism » Logged
lrudholm
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Re: April 7-8, 2012 Chikamin Peak
« Reply #1 on: 04/11/12, 02:56 PM »

Nice line.
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Leyland
cumulus
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Re: April 7-8, 2012 Chikamin Peak
« Reply #2 on: 04/11/12, 08:55 PM »

Found a camp and tracks from a group of 3 from possibly Saturday.

wondering if it was Friday?  that at least would explain what I was beginning to think were auditory hallucinations...  dogs too?  so close at one point that I stopped and waited and yelled "hello!"  nothing.  maybe I was hallucinating...

Nice trip - y'all got the full on spectacular scenery, alright! Busy couple of days back there... (not that I saw anyone... relatively busy...)  I was in two days earlier and didn't see much at all on Friday. Snowed in the morning and then swirling clouds the rest of the day. What should have been an amazing view of Thomson on the ridge above Gravel Lake looked like this -


and that was as good as it got. 
I sat there and  made tea only to have my fuel canister fizzle out (brand new Jetboil Power-two meals later...). Guess it's true about cold weather severely reducing efficiency.  Anyhow that decided things for me despite plenty of food...  dropped down the other side of the ridge and back out the Commonwealth -


(from on the way up)

longer comment then intended... sorry - -
glad you caught that ride back up the pass!
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Stefan
String
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Re: April 7-8, 2012 Chikamin Peak
« Reply #3 on: 04/11/12, 10:27 PM »

wondering if it was Friday? 


Longtime lurker first time poster. Signed up yesterday I believe.  I'll start off by saying thank you to all the people who post on here providing a wealth of information and stoke!

We hit Chikamin on saturday and were pleasantly surprised by the dry pow up top and velvet snow down low. We made the long haul car to car via gold creek. Suprisingly easy skinning through the creek but yes, A LONG WAY for a day trip. Rode the pinner chute directly below the summit, a little steeper than expected with two small blue ice shelfs but everything else was gravy. The other guy rode the main chute which I think was the better call. Our third member succombed to the pitfalls of cubiclitis and rode down from midway up. Glad to see that others were out there to enjoy that mountain! What a run!








360 panorama
http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=f395746b-bd36-4d87-96b6-e56c03238235
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alecapone
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Re: April 7-8, 2012 Chikamin Peak
« Reply #4 on: 04/12/12, 08:28 AM »

Nice trips and pics all of you!

Sorry I missed your invite G. Thanks though! hopefully next time...

Matt and Scott?.... hmmmm. wonder what them two where up too....?
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scott
chrism
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Posts: 150


Re: April 7-8, 2012 Chikamin Peak
« Reply #5 on: 04/12/12, 11:51 AM »

Matt and Scott?.... hmmmm. wonder what them two where up too....?

Nice to meet you, Ale.  And thanks a bunch for the ride.  It really made our night.  Hope to see you out there again somewhere.   

I sat there and  made tea only to have my fuel canister fizzle out (brand new Jetboil Power-two meals later...).

Cumulus: despite being contrary to the whole point of running the stove, warming the canister with your bare hands will improve its efficiency considerably, and may even turn sputtering uselessness into a full boil.  Love the shot with Kendall ridge and those dark clouds...
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mick_scott
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Posts: 124


Re: April 7-8, 2012 Chikamin Peak
« Reply #6 on: 04/13/12, 02:31 AM »

String - Love that first picture from gold ck. Looks a little windy up high Wink
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