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| | |-+  January 27, 2013, Spirit Lake/Van Epps Pass
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Author Topic: January 27, 2013, Spirit Lake/Van Epps Pass  (Read 2515 times)
ND
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January 27, 2013, Spirit Lake/Van Epps Pass
« on: 01/29/13, 01:54 PM »

We had a good turnout at Salmon La Sac Sunday, with 11 snowmobiles in total.  With over half the group bringing their touring gear we decided to set out for Lake Ann area.  The ride out went surprisingly smooth, with the exception of me having to ride with a ski boot over my left hand for a few miles after it fell off a snowmobile in front of me.  The climb up the middle Fortune Creek was a bit hair raising with very hard ice and large whoops, but was managed uneventfully. 
I ran into two other motorized assisted skiers who were planning on heading out to tour Spirit Lake and had good reports from the day before at Van Epps Pass. 
I caught up to our group over at Lake Ann where we found a dusting of snow on top of ice and treacherous flat lighting.  After a few minutes of discussion everyone agreed to head back over towards Van Epps. 

Sleds were parked in a large flat area wher the trail splits between Van Epps and Lake Ann.  The group split into pairs and started touring the west aspect of the peak east of Van Epps Pass (pt 7039).  Snow was very variable with dry unconsolidated snow on top of firm to ice, for a group that was mostly new to touring this proved quite interesting.  Matt and I went to the ridgeline and started to ascend for the peak.  The rest of our group decided to ride the west aspect to the sled base as touring was proving too difficult.  Matt and I continued on boot packing as touring was just an excercise in frustration.

Once we got near the summit we found the entrance to the spine we wanted and saw the other skiers we ran into earlier in the day descending from east of the peak.  Once they were in a safe zone I dropped into the peak and made a hard ski cut, variable light powder on a firm un-breakable crust.  Let off a few inches of very light sluff, but nothing remotely considerable.  When it ran it's course we made our run down the ridgeline, the firmer layer was perfectly smooth with just the right amount of powder to really open it up and crank some big sweeping turns.  Incredibly fun run top to bottom. 

We got down and conversed with the other skiers, radioed the rest of our party, and started touring back up in the existing skin track.  This is when I quickly regretted not having my cramp ons or third strap for my spark bindings.  It was very hard to get any edge hold on hard layers with regular snowboard boots.  The skin track gave way on me in a mid 30 degree pitch halfway up, thankfully I was near a tree and able to arrest by grabbing a branch.  Quite possible the scariest moment I've ever had touring.  Once we reached the ridgeline we rode the west aspect back to the rest of the group, who we promptly made jealous by claiming that the powder was thigh deep........what they don't know can't hurt them right? Wink

Please not picture of the line was taken another day, no it never got sunny.  We rode the main ridge with trees dotting it viewer's right.


* on_top_of_spirit_lake.JPG (72.31 KB, 800x600 - viewed 940 times.)

* matt_touring.JPG (128.47 KB, 960x720 - viewed 937 times.)

* spirit_lake.JPG (257.13 KB, 800x600 - viewed 949 times.)
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airpoppoff
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Re: January 27, 2013, Spirit Lake/Van Epps Pass
« Reply #1 on: 01/29/13, 02:21 PM »

AYG, That was fun!



* spirit1.jpg (202.57 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 961 times.)

* Spirit2.jpg (204.93 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 951 times.)
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Good2Go
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Re: January 27, 2013, Spirit Lake/Van Epps Pass
« Reply #2 on: 01/29/13, 02:22 PM »

Hey ND -

My buddy Kendall and I (Aaron) were the other skiers you ran into up there.  We managed to get 3 laps, each one being better than the last due to the falling/blowing snow.  Hit me up the next time you're heading out there.  Would be great to get out with some new folks.  Here's a pic of Kendall dropping into the central line:


* Van_Epps.jpg (199.81 KB, 1000x750 - viewed 971 times.)
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trees4me
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Re: January 27, 2013, Spirit Lake/Van Epps Pass
« Reply #3 on: 01/29/13, 08:57 PM »

That looks nice back in there! Gotta be pretty lonesome in winter, even with other sledders out.

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chill people, skiing is fun
airpoppoff
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Re: January 27, 2013, Spirit Lake/Van Epps Pass
« Reply #4 on: 01/29/13, 09:00 PM »

That looks nice back in there! Gotta be pretty lonesome in winter, even with other sledders out.


Spirit Lake is wilderness, and for snowmobiles to get in and out would be pretty complicated.

Nice meeting you guys up there Aaron & Kendall, thanks for knocking in the skin track, I wish we would have started out there in the morning with you. Cant wait to get out there again.
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ND
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Re: January 27, 2013, Spirit Lake/Van Epps Pass
« Reply #5 on: 01/30/13, 05:14 PM »

It was great running into you guys Aaron, will definitely know when we head out there again. I have a feeling we will be out there quite a bit more Wink

That looks nice back in there! Gotta be pretty lonesome in winter, even with other sledders out.



I would use the word tranquil over lonesome, it's a great to be away from the crowds I've had at baker and rainier. As soon as you drop over the ridgeline all the noise of sleds is gone.
Not many snowmobiles out there this weekend either, only saw 4 others outside of the ski/boarders.
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airpoppoff
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Re: January 27, 2013, Spirit Lake/Van Epps Pass
« Reply #6 on: 01/30/13, 08:35 PM »

Wheres that gopro vid!???
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ND
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Posts: 113


Re: January 27, 2013, Spirit Lake/Van Epps Pass
« Reply #7 on: 01/31/13, 02:46 PM »

Wheres that gopro vid!???

Locked in the vault of footage never to be seen by anyone  Roll Eyes
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