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| |-+  April 2005 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 24, 2005 Sauk Mountain
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Author Topic: April 24, 2005 Sauk Mountain  (Read 2458 times)

Posts: 171

April 24, 2005 Sauk Mountain
« on: 04/25/05, 09:36 AM »

After 2 members bailed on this ski day, to their dismay now, Eli and I headed out early on Sunday morning.  Our original intention was to check out Cutthroat Pass or even Washington Pass area.  The forecast was for rainy weather, so we thought that heading east would be better.  We were extremely wrong...the farther east we headed, the worse the weather became.  

Sitting at the Blue Lake Trailhead, we pulled out an old ski touring book to take a look at our options (which needed to be short since our day was quickly disappearing).  We decided on a little mtn neither of us had heard about and headed back west.  

Sauk Mtn road, just in Rockport off of Hwy 20, led us about 8 miles to the snow line.  We parked and skinned on the road maybe .5 miles and then found our snow fields and Sauk Mtn glaring at us.  Not looking to promising, we decided to just explore and headed up the road some more, passing Sauk Mtn.  Through the trees to the NE we saw a large snow field, so off traversing we went-it was interesting and definitely less than ideal.

However, we found our snow field glistening with sunlight in the bright, blue sky.  Did I fail to mention it was HOT and absolutely stunning outside? Smiley  We skinned up the snow field, quickly discovering we were actually on the backside of Sauk Mtn, constantly watching the cornices above.  The snow was very unconsolodated and mushy.  However, when it slid, because it always slid, it moved like lava-slow moving and engulfing little trees in it's wake. We beat it down the slope.  We skied slopes varying from 30-40 degrees.  We ended up avoiding our traverse and road ski, finding our way up and over the side of Sauk Mtn, returning to a ski down the front.  There's very low snow coverage on the front side-I doubt it will last through the week (south facing).

Considering Eli skied without a shirt and I was roasting in my long-sleeves, it was a wonderful day.  Sorry Eric and Josh missed out!

I hope to remember this tour for future spring days.

Skiing: When grit meets grace and power embraces passion.

Posts: 40

Re: April 24, 2005 Sauk Mountain
« Reply #1 on: 04/25/05, 10:49 AM »

Glad to hear you had a great day.  I bailed out of consideration for the two of you.  I knew if I came there would be no chance of sunshine...Wink

Posts: 188

Re: April 24, 2005 Sauk Mountain
« Reply #2 on: 04/26/05, 05:58 PM »


Posts: 623

Re: April 24, 2005 Sauk Mountain
« Reply #3 on: 04/27/05, 07:43 AM »

Bergdorfer (or whoever) to the rescue again!  Sauk is a fun little mountain, with easy road access and perfectly reasonable skiing on a variety of aspects.  I like to save it for afternoon skiing during the long days of spring, since I can make it down from Bellingham in less than an hour and a half.  A couple of runs down the back side to the lake and maybe one short shot southeast into the trees before dropping back down the summer trail to the road. That southwest face melts out early (it was bare just a few weeks ago, and it might soon be bare again from the sound of it), but it can also offer a fun, steep finale, briefly 45 degrees at the top.  In the fabled Year of the Big Snows I skied that face on July 4th.

The best part of an afternoon tour up there is the way the sun sinks into the islands offshore, sending beams of red, orange and purple streaming up the Skagit Valley, highlighting the wildflowers and fresh greens in the woods.  Hard to feel anything but 100% glad to be alive under the circumstances.  

Thanks for the report and the reminder.

« Last Edit: 04/27/05, 09:17 AM by markharf » Logged
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