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Author Topic: May 13, 2012, Tower Mountain traverse  (Read 4047 times)
julegust
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Posts: 13


May 13, 2012, Tower Mountain traverse
« on: 05/22/12, 07:59 AM »

It all came together for a really nice traverse that day - Hwy 20 had just opened, weather perfect, friends at the pass for setting shuttle, and on our part, sufficient energy and motivation for a long traverse. Kevin and I started at 5am from the Swamp Creek trailhead, and ascended the SW shoulder of Mt Hardy. The hardest part of the whole trip was dealing with rotten snow on the open S facing slopes, but this soon got better and we skinned happily up to the south-eastern sub summit of Hardy. Some really nice corny turns brought us down to Methow Pass, from where we traversed to the Snowy Lakes basin.

Ascending from the basin, there are a bunch of notches that look like they would get you over the ridge between Tower Mt and Golden Horn. On a previous trip people took the most stylish-looking couloir (http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=9965.0), but we elected the easier way through the saddle at 7800', which leads to a sweet descent ramp on the other side. Even though going up was hot and sweaty in the almost-midday sun, the way down was on excellent firm snow. We did kick off some sloooow sloughy slides, that got quite big over the course of minutes. Tagged the heli landing marker down in the Cataract creek basin, then headed up to the lowest saddle that connects with the Pine Creek drainage.

As we were sweatily ascending, we saw weird looking ski tracks that came down toward us. Why would anyone ski here, and besides, we hadn't seen any sign of humans since Mt Hardy, except for that heli marker! The explanation soon became apparent - connecting the bits of ski track were giant paw prints with five toes. A telemarking wolverine! A toast to all the Ferous Wolvineerians out there, you are the coolest animals ever!!

The good thing about skiing down Pine Creek was that we had snow the whole way, and there really were no bad things to say about it, except it was by far the sportiest skiing, dodging tree wells and grabby snags everywhere, as the whole thing was in dense forest. Toward the bottom, we almost got trapped between the cranking creek and some canyon walls on the left, but found a nice snow bridge to the river right, and managed to not take our skis off until we hit the highway. And there was the car waiting, with snacks and a bottle of warm grapefruit flavored Jarritos inside!


* 120513_tower_mt_descent.jpg (152.2 KB, 490x653 - viewed 870 times.)

* 120513_wolverine_skiing.jpg (165.65 KB, 686x515 - viewed 881 times.)

* 120513_wolverine_footprint.jpg (101.04 KB, 653x490 - viewed 875 times.)
« Last Edit: 05/22/12, 08:05 AM by julegust » Logged
FreeBird
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Posts: 393


Re: May 13, 2012, Tower Mountain traverse
« Reply #1 on: 05/22/12, 04:25 PM »

Glad you guys had a good day too!
Looked a little thin at pine creek when we dropped the car off...
Nice work skiing to the car.
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ebeam
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Posts: 123


Re: May 13, 2012, Tower Mountain traverse
« Reply #2 on: 05/22/12, 07:40 PM »

Thanks for posting. I have been wondering about that area and now need to add it to the list.
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Kevin Steffa
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Posts: 92


WWW
Re: May 13, 2012, Tower Mountain traverse
« Reply #3 on: 05/23/12, 10:08 PM »

A few more photos here:

https://plus.google.com/photos/108020093464137779979/albums/5745953443065185569







It was nice to link so much terrain in one push - passing by familiar ridgelines, then checking out new vistas and dropping into new terrain. Its felt like a big push, and the hardest part was probably the 'wild-west' tree skiing out Pine Creek, but it did go, all the way!
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- Mossman
Z-Man
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Posts: 5


Re: May 13, 2012, Tower Mountain traverse
« Reply #4 on: 05/26/12, 09:19 PM »

Quote
Ferous Wolvineerians

Awesome, never thought I'd read that again.  Thanks for the blast from the past Double Dr. Gust.
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