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Author Topic: Hadley Traverse, January 18/19, 2013  (Read 5096 times)
ebeam
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Hadley Traverse, January 18/19, 2013
« on: 01/22/13, 10:33 PM »

After last weekend’s Baker backcountry sun and powder zoo, Chuck and I wanted hit some terrain with less people. We decided on what we call the Hadley Traverse. The route starts at the upper Baker parking lot, goes past Table Mountain and follows Ptarmigan Ridge out to the Portals, traverses the Mazama Glacier to Hadley Peak, then follows Chowder Ridge (either side – we chose the Smith Basin side) to Skyline Divide. From the high point on Skyline Divide, drop N into the upper Thompson Creek basin and exit on the decommissioned FS road (bad slide alder if not snow covered). Follow the old road (slightly uphill) about a mile to the Skyline Divide trailhead parking lot at 4.400 ft elevation. You are done … sort of. We had a 7 mile ski (one hour mostly snow plowing in sled tracks) down the road to where our car was parked at 1,700 ft.

We discussed doing the trip as a long day, starting early and getting past Table Mountain in the dark. Mapping the route suggested it was 16 miles long (plus the 7 miles of road at the end) with 6,600 ft of gain – certainly not trivial but doable as a long day. The actual elevation gained was 8,600 ft (11,300 ft lost) and we found the route more complex than anticipated, especially the area from Smith Basin through Chowder Ridge and accessing Skyline Divide proper. It took us 18 hours (including the road) not counting time in camp. We camped on the West Portal and enjoyed seeing three volcanoes (Baker in our face, Glacier Peak and Rainier to the south). I am very glad we didn’t do the trip as a day. The excellent avalanche conditions made most terrain was available to us for travel, but in less stable conditions the complex terrain part of the trip could become much longer/slower.

This traverse has amazing ski terrain, but taking advantage of it will lengthen your trip (e.g., side trips or making longer drops into valleys rather than traversing high). You can ski at least four different glaciers (Sholes, Mazama, Bastile, and Hadley) and bag numerous minor summits (Pt 7842 being the highest). Because snow conditions were so crappy after winds had raked everything 6,000 ft or higher from every direction, we mostly just traveled through and enjoyed the views and lack of people. We did spook some goats while skinning out of the Smith Basin.

It’s a highly recommended trip for someone wanting an alpine traverse using only skis gear. We never needed to take our skis off (except for a short boot up Colman Pinnacle). But bring an axe and glacier gear as your route on the Mazama Glacier is parallel with bridged and open crevasses.

Photos here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/ebeam50/HadleyTraverseJan2013?authkey=Gv1sRgCOCjtJP7s87eRg#

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scottb
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Re: Hadley Traverse, January 18/19, 2013
« Reply #1 on: 01/22/13, 11:51 PM »

Sounds like a great trip Eric and Chuck. Wish I would have been around for this one. I have often wondered how that route would work. Awesome!
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ErikT
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Re: Hadley Traverse, January 18/19, 2013
« Reply #2 on: 01/23/13, 08:43 AM »

Cool trip - like the shot of the goats shredding the windbuff.
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lrudholm
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Re: Hadley Traverse, January 18/19, 2013
« Reply #3 on: 01/23/13, 11:42 AM »

Awesome.

Had my first thigh deep pow turns of the season out there before the nooksack falls rd gate swings shut. Ski terrain out there is incredible.

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Leyland
Gregg_C
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Re: Hadley Traverse, January 18/19, 2013
« Reply #4 on: 01/23/13, 11:59 AM »

Great trip guys.  Alan Kearney, Andy Selters, and a few others did that trip in '87 or so.  They raved about it.  Always wanted to repeat it. Looking forward to hearing more from you at the meeting next week.

Gregg
« Last Edit: 01/23/13, 03:04 PM by Gregg_C » Logged
Robie
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Re: Hadley Traverse, January 18/19, 2013
« Reply #5 on: 01/23/13, 01:28 PM »

Xtra nice ! Ive done a trip like that in a day and always regret not doing it in two or even three.
Thanks , I'll check it out.
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Eckels
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Re: Hadley Traverse, January 18/19, 2013
« Reply #6 on: 01/23/13, 02:41 PM »

Awesome! had made plans to the same trip that weekend but decided to put it off until there was more daylight and better snow. Glad you got to enjoy the solitude and the views.
thanks for the pics.
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MMclimbhigh
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Re: Hadley Traverse, January 18/19, 2013
« Reply #7 on: 01/23/13, 04:49 PM »

Well done!  I've wanted to do that traverse for some time now.  I live on Thompson Creek Road and I've always thought it would be great to travel from the Ski Area to my home.  I was back at Lasiocarpa on Monday and saw that someone followed my tracks to the summit of Coleman Pinnacle, must have been you.......Good times!
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ebeam
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Re: Hadley Traverse, January 18/19, 2013
« Reply #8 on: 01/23/13, 08:33 PM »

Great trip guys.  Alan Kearney, Andy Selters, and a few others did that trip in '87 or so.  They raved about it.  Always wanted to repeat it.

Good to hear about folks doing the Traverse in the 80s. Rainer Burgdorfer’s book mentions it as a possibility, but I haven’t heard much about it being done lately. Hadley is great summer or early season (October) trip via Cougar Divide, but the area is hard to access in winter due to Wells Creek Road being gated for wildlife during winter/spring.

Scottb –you slaying some that famous Aleutian snow you tell us about? Give us a TR.
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