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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2012 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  June 2012 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  June 11, 2012, Chinook Pass, Crystal, Alpental
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Author Topic: June 11, 2012, Chinook Pass, Crystal, Alpental  (Read 1693 times)

Posts: 2392

June 11, 2012, Chinook Pass, Crystal, Alpental
« on: 06/12/12, 03:59 PM »

We arrived at Chinook Pass at 10AM, parked near Tipsoo Lake, got on all of our ski gear, put skins on our skis, and headed over to the break in the snow bank that from a distance looked feasible for gaining access to the area that we wanted to climb.  Unfortunately, on closer inspection the snow bank was higher than anticipated (8-9 ft.) and still frozen.  Neither Jill nor Zap was interested in kicking steps into hard packed snow – made our knees hurt just to think about it, as did thinking about sliding back down when we were done skiing.  We could just picture slipping and landing on legs with knees giving out, going over backwards, etc.  None of the scenarios sounded good with Zap under orders ‘not to fall’.  As we were pondering where to go next, a guy on a motorcycle stopped and came over to chat.  As soon as he took off his helmet we realized that it was Robie!  He was out for a day in the sun with a sack lunch, a good book in a great location – still recovering from his knee surgery and needing a break from the house.  While checking out the area we noticed someone's tracks on Zap’s Peak (Peak 6567); brought back memories from when we climbed it and Zap left his signature zip-line on the way down.

From there we drove to Crystal, based on a report that Zap got from Scotsman on Saturday.   We drove up near the Crystal Mtn. Lodging Suites so that we had a clear view of the area around Chair 4.  Unfortunately, by Monday the snow had melted out even further from the base area, and since Zap’s stroke walking that far would have been problematic.

So, where to go next?  Jill thought about going to Stevens Pass and skiing there Tuesday, but the forecast didn’t seem real favorable for that option and it would have been a long way around.  So we decided to head back towards home and to hit Alpental on our way.   By then the day was getting on, so we didn’t arrive until around 3:30 and began climbing by 4PM.  This time we climbed up right in front of the lodge underneath the Armstrong Express lift.  It was interesting because there was a LOT of water running under the snow, and you had to be very careful where you crossed some of the areas.  After we got to top of the first steep face where things flatten out a bit, another skier came up beside us and introduced himself.  It was Andyrew.  We chatted for a bit – he had read our TRs about our travels down in the eastern Sierra and had been following our entries about Zap’s recovery.  He headed on up towards Chair 2, and we followed Debbie’s Gold and angled over to Eisfallen.  We climbed part-way up, but decided that it really wasn’t worth the effort – the shadows were getting longer and the snow was not great, so we pulled our skins and headed back down.   Not great ski conditions – the snow was heavy with runnels and lots of cat tracks (from snow cats not felines).  We headed over towards the Sessel lift, and unfortunately we crossed over a bit too low because the snow had melted out around the brush, so we had to side-step down about 10-15 ft. before hitting the snow again.  Interestingly it was Zap’s right leg on the downhill ski, and he had no problems with the side-stepping which was great.  Then as we were angling back across the slope to the lodge, we again had to cross an area with a lot of water running just beneath the surface.  As each of us crossed the snow collapsed under our skis!  Yikes, there was the potential for a disaster, but we made it back in one piece.  No falls!  Yeah!  But, that’s definitely it for us for Alpental for this season.

We noticed with this climb that Zap has become stronger and is getting his endurance back a bit more each time out.   Maybe it was the salt air and the walks on the ocean beach or maybe just continuing to do what he’s doing…

* Zaps_Peak_7567_-_June_11_2012.jpg (192.82 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 609 times.)

Posts: 1397

Re: June 11, 2012, Chinook Pass, Crystal, Alpental
« Reply #1 on: 06/12/12, 06:55 PM »

1) It was awsome to see you both  up there.
2) looks like we both missed Silas.
3) That line on Zap's peak was cool. All the times ive skied it Ive never thought about that line having gone further east around the ridge.
4) contented my self with our meeting ,sun ,lunch ,a good book and a snooze before riding home. Of course not without a stop at Wapiti Woolies for a ice cream .

* reading__at_Chinook_opt.jpg (127.88 KB, 800x585 - viewed 480 times.)

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