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| | |-+  Dec 9, 2012 Red Mountain 5880' Cle Elum Valley
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Author Topic: Dec 9, 2012 Red Mountain 5880' Cle Elum Valley  (Read 3134 times)
John Morrow
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Posts: 564


Dec 9, 2012 Red Mountain 5880' Cle Elum Valley
« on: 12/09/12, 06:10 PM »

For a particular reason I have been a bit down in the dumps lately.  Thus, I needed a good friend to help to kick me in the pants a bit to rally for a ski.  Jake was kind enough to drive down from Leavenworth for that particular reason.  Not only that, but he allowed me to choose the tour destination; and even said, "I don't even care if it is in the Cle Elum valley!"  I thought it must have been my birthday or something….but that is what good friends offer in times of need, I guess.

Off to Salmon La Sac for a trip up Red Mountain we were.
 
Here's a couple links to other detailed approach info:
http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=12488.0
http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=23997.0

Snow is meager at the road altitude of 2300 feet, I must warn.  After the 2/3 mile road approach on the Cooper River Road FS 46, we did our usual uphill left turn into the forest to gain a clearcut at its lowest altitude.  After 700 vertical feet of alder thrash and hollow snowpillows, we managed to get onto about 30 inches of a base.  Even at 3200 feet, the 72 hours of storm snow was light and recycled with increasing hardness below that--except for the multitude of hidden tree holes.  By 4000 feet we were good to go for the rest of the day. 
Our destination was what we call Basin 3, a long northeastern facing basin below the highest summit of Red Mountain, 5880 feet. A quick road traverse at the top of the clearcut brought us to the bottom of the basin.  Where it counted the snow looked like this: 8 in to 12 in of storm snow, decomposing to a fine recycled powder with little wind effect or cohesiveness, then 18 in to 24 in of increasing hardness old snow, all over a hard crust that pole baskets could not penetrate.  Below the crust unknown since we were not really concerned with it.  All the skiing was on slopes below 36 degrees.     
The descent from 5900 feet to 4000 feet (the NE Ridge slope and lower basin) was fantastic on forgiving recycled powder throughout the entire run.  A bit of good tree skiing brought us back to the traverse road at 3800 feet.  Then the clearcut was similarly good with the exception of the frequent holes and obstructions of a shallow snowpack.  Returning through the forest to Road 46 was shear hell---we walked it balancing on many alder branches or postholing.  Well worth it, thanks to Jake for the rally call!!!

Link to more pics and a few vids:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/23557848@N03/sets/72157632207717721/



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« Last Edit: 12/09/12, 06:56 PM by John Morrow » Logged
PowderT
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Re: Dec 9, 2012 Red Mountain 5880' Cle Elum Valley
« Reply #1 on: 12/10/12, 10:22 PM »

Nice work! I was up there this summer with my dad and i remeber thinking how awesome the terrain was. I remember crossing the upper road. Did you guys take a right when you got to the road? Is the "bowl 3" visible from the road? Thanks!
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jtack
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Re: Dec 9, 2012 Red Mountain 5880' Cle Elum Valley
« Reply #2 on: 12/11/12, 08:35 AM »

Thanks for the report, visited with Jake this morning, he said the skiing was good, but the exit was a grim trudge, seems like plenty of people are reporting tree well traps, with this last big blast of snow.
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John Morrow
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Posts: 564


Re: Dec 9, 2012 Red Mountain 5880' Cle Elum Valley
« Reply #3 on: 12/11/12, 11:30 AM »

Nice work! I was up there this summer with my dad and i remeber thinking how awesome the terrain was. I remember crossing the upper road. Did you guys take a right when you got to the road? Is the "bowl 3" visible from the road? Thanks!

Hello PowderT,

Here is a topo, if you crossed the upper road on the Red Mountain Trail then that is exactly where you leave the road for the basin.  The basin (bowl 3) is hidden behind a 1/4 mile strip of forest above the road.  It is partially visible from salmon La Sac guard station.  Hope that helps.
John


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Animal
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Posts: 58


Re: Dec 9, 2012 Red Mountain 5880' Cle Elum Valley
« Reply #4 on: 12/16/12, 11:23 AM »

Nice Trip Report John.  Red Mountain is on my list!  It would be nice to ski with you this winter again versus just WTA events!
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