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| | |-+  April 3, 2005, Silver Creek, Wenatchee Natl Forest
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Author Topic: April 3, 2005, Silver Creek, Wenatchee Natl Forest  (Read 2949 times)
Charles
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April 3, 2005, Silver Creek, Wenatchee Natl Forest
« on: 04/04/05, 07:41 AM »

All the snow of the past week suggested that, finally, a Snoqualmie area forest tour might actually be reasonable. Matt woke up sick, but this is a good solo tour, so I went ahead with it. There was no snow on the road to the trailhead (2400 ft), and just a couple of thin patches on the trail at first. The snow became continuous and skinable near 3000 ft, all from the last week, but I had to stick to the trail because it was not very deep (4-6"). Once to the lip of the hanging valley (3600 ft), there was more snow but still all from the last week: up to 12" in glades, and 4-6" of tree-drip compacted elsewhere. I kept skins on for a little while because the tree-drip snow was refrozen, but then removed them and started fishscaling, which was a little tricky under the densest trees but allowed for nice glides. There was still not enough snow to stray from the trail, and this led to an interesting thrash when the trail crossed to the other side Silver Creek, without any easy way to cross. It is definitely more enjoyable, not to mention efficient, to ski through the woods when there is ample snowpack. Lots of animal tracks, including dog (coyote?), and a bunny in white garb bounded across my path at one point.

When the trail re-crossed back to my side farther up the valley, I took quick snack break and considered whether it was worth continuing. Since the trail was now about to gain some elevation, I decided to go a little farther and see if the traveling got better. It did! The snowpack quickly deepened and made it possible to leave the trail, and there came to be a thin layer of new snow over the tree-drip that let my waxless skis grip well. When I reached the beginning of the meadows at valley's end, it felt like a normal winter - great, go-anywhere coverage, and trees laden with recent snow. The snow in the meadows (4800 ft) consisted of about 6" of dense, moist snow over a firmer layer, then a thick layer of dense and moist snow (didn't dig a pit and didn't look too closely). Skiing around the meadows my skis would usually stay in the top 6" of snow, making for some fine kick-and-glide, especially after the first track had been set. I skied around the meadows for a while, exploring little nooks and crannies which I'd never bothered to look into, reusing my tracks and generally just having a nice time in the winter wonderland. Although it had been snowing lightly, filtered sun came through the clouds at times, warming things up and providing some nice light on the otherwise foggy grey day. I started back down at 3:15, gliding down my up track though the meadows.

Here's a movie: Meadow gliding

The gliding continued as the valley droped down from the meadows, in and out of my uptrack, with a few turns here and there - very enjoyable. The tree-drip snow had softened nicely, but now there was active tree drip and it began to seem as if it was raining. By the time I got to the thrash section, I was "moist", and by the time I was through the thrash I was completely soaked, mainly from the water-laden foliage which I had had to push through. I was able to ski about 100 ft down the trail from the lip of the hanging valley before the coverage became too thin, then it was just a hike back to the car.
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Jim Oker
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Re: April 3, 2005, Silver Creek, Wenatchee Natl Fo
« Reply #1 on: 04/04/05, 08:46 AM »

I'd been wondering if we'd see a Silver Creek report this season. This is a positive sign, eh?

Charles - do you have any extrapolation for how you think the forest skiing would be up around places such as Nordic Pass? I'm guessing from the telemetry report (calibrated to my own experience) that it is possible but still a bit on the thin side, so more an opportunity for cautious travel rather than the usual carefree turns we'd expect up that way.
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Charles
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Re: April 3, 2005, Silver Creek, Wenatchee Natl Fo
« Reply #2 on: 04/04/05, 12:52 PM »

I was wondering that too...

I'd go with what you are guessing. In normal years, Snoqualmie would have more snow at a given elevation than Silver Creek, 15 miles further east. At 3600-4000' yesterday there was only 6-12" of the new snow, so Nordic Pass should have more, but would it be enough to have a satisfying ski through the forest without a trail? There was the Lodge Lake report from last weekend that indicated that touring through the forest was a challenge, but more snow fell last week. I think you should go check it out and report back!
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Jim Oker
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Re: April 3, 2005, Silver Creek, Wenatchee Natl Fo
« Reply #3 on: 04/04/05, 06:01 PM »

If we get more snow in the next two weeks, I will. I'm off to Tahoe for some skiing and visiting with bay area folks this coming weekend.
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ericd
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Re: April 3, 2005, Silver Creek, Wenatchee Natl Fo
« Reply #4 on: 04/05/05, 04:34 AM »

Quote
I was wondering that too...

I'd go with what you are guessing. In normal years, Snoqualmie would have more snow at a given elevation than Silver Creek, 15 miles further east. At 3600-4000' yesterday there was only 6-12" of the new snow, so Nordic Pass should have more, but would it be enough to have a satisfying ski through the forest without a trail? There was the Lodge Lake report from last weekend that indicated that touring through the forest was a challenge, but more snow fell last week. I think you should go check it out and report back!


Where is Nordic Pass anyway?  How high is it?  I'm inferring about 5000 feet somewhere near Snoqualmie from your discussion.  The pictures from the area that you posted in the "Snow Images" section look like some fun old growth tree skiing.  

Thanks,
Eric

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Randy
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Re: April 3, 2005, Silver Creek, Wenatchee Natl Fo
« Reply #5 on: 04/05/05, 07:02 AM »

Nordic pass is around 4000ft.
It's located west and slightly north of Mt Catherine,

Starting at the Hyak ski area and crossing over nordic pass was the traditional route to Silver peak back before the "Nordic Center"  was developed.

MAP LINK
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dkoelle
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Re: April 3, 2005, Silver Creek, Wenatchee Natl Fo
« Reply #6 on: 04/05/05, 10:37 AM »

I will probably try to go there (Nordic pass) Saturday with lightweight metal edge fish-scales and just thrash around for entertainment value.  This could be the "peaK" snow pack right around now.  Email me viralimm@u.washington.edu is anyone is interested. David

latest: Saturday and Saturday night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Snow level 3500 feet.

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