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| | |-+  Feb 9, Goat Creek Traverse, Crystal to Corral Pass
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Author Topic: Feb 9, Goat Creek Traverse, Crystal to Corral Pass  (Read 1762 times)
RyanPete81
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Feb 9, Goat Creek Traverse, Crystal to Corral Pass
« on: 02/10/13, 11:11 PM »

Looking down Silver Creek drainage from Crystal there is a long serrated rocky ridge that seems out of place amongst the dome-like high points that rise out of the undulating ridgelines north of the ski area. The ridgeline that is Castle Mt has often intrigued me looking over my shoulder riding the lifts at Crystal. While the southwest side is a steep rock face and mostly unskiable, a couple summer backpacking recon trips proved that the terrain surrounding Castle and Corral pass, a site that was originally proposed to be home to a ski area a plan scrapped for a site at the head of Silver Creek, offered some interesting ski terrain. All this led to my planning a ski traverse from Crystal to Corral Pass, then a ski out via FS rd 7174 back to the cabin near the junction of Crystal Mt. Blvd and 410. We were nearing the end of the window of time where there would be sufficient low elevation coverage for this to be feasible without a long walk down the road. The weather forecast for Saturday was a little uncertain, with Sunday appearing to be the best day of the weekend, but various schedules aligned on Saturday, so we went for it. An early departure brought us through the low clouds in Silver Creek up Bullion Basin to East Peak, where our spirits were lifted by a break in the clouds.

We dropped into Cement Basin, gained the pass above Basin Lake, headed to the highpoint between East Peak and Norse Peak and had a nice long run down to Basin Lake. Ski conditions were wind board below ridge lines that turned into 6-8" of pow on a supportable  crust in wind protected areas. Our next run found us skiing down into Big Crow Basin and back into the clouds.

From here on out visibility was limited (at best). Our modus operandi switched from searching for lines to ski to picking our way through the clouds and cliff bands to Corral Pass. After a short ski above Reese Lake we found ourselves climbing amongst massive red rock towers and eventually skiing down below the northeast face of Castle Mt.


Route finding was complicated by the lowering cloud deck and increasing snowfall. Ultimately this led to our forgoing on many fun looking ski options for the quickest access to FS rd 7174.  After one minor hiccup finding us slightly off route and a nice meadow-skipping run down Castle Mt.'s north bowl we made it to 7174 for the long ski back to the cabin in the White River Valley. Thanks to my partners for joining me on a slightly trying day and persevering through the less than optimal weather to what I think is a pretty cool route. 
« Last Edit: 02/10/13, 11:24 PM by RyanPete81 » Logged
alpenho
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Re: Feb 9, Goat Creek Traverse, Crystal to Corral Pass
« Reply #1 on: 02/11/13, 07:08 AM »

We gotta get back there again sometime when we can see.  Thanks for cooking this one up and doing all of the research!  Good exercise day...  motivating the legs for touring again Sunday was tough.  Did you figure out the stats for this one?


* Castle_East.jpg (144.11 KB, 600x800 - viewed 750 times.)

* Ryan_Shreds.jpg (114.76 KB, 600x800 - viewed 744 times.)
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Joedabaker
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Re: Feb 9, Goat Creek Traverse, Crystal to Corral Pass
« Reply #2 on: 02/11/13, 11:41 AM »

Nice trip that you guys went after! I hear there is good skiing on the backside (NE) of the Castle. Just a bugger to get to from any approach.

A buddy of mine soloed a variation the opposite way a few years back. From his Silver Creek cabin up the Corral Pass FS road 7174 behind the Castle, down to Goat Lake basin, up and over to the CM access road back down the FS road by Sandflat home. From his account is that it gets a little confusing looking for ways back over the Castle because of the blind exposures.

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RyanPete81
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Re: Feb 9, Goat Creek Traverse, Crystal to Corral Pass
« Reply #3 on: 02/11/13, 10:32 PM »

Indeed, clear weather would've significantly improved this tour. Stats are ~7100' ascent and ~14.5 miles of distance.

We gotta get back there again sometime when we can see.  Thanks for cooking this one up and doing all of the research!  Good exercise day...  motivating the legs for touring again Sunday was tough.  Did you figure out the stats for this one?


Definitely an arduous task getting to the NE side of Castle. We weren't sure if we'd be able to cross from the SW side of Castle, from Reese/Goat lakes basin to NE side. If this was the case we were going to exit via the summer route from Goat Lake over the divide back into Silver Creek drainage. We were lucky to find a narrow chute between two large buttresses that jut out Castle's SE ridge. I think it would be quite difficult to navigate  from the backside of Castle to Goat Lake because of the steep complex and cliffy terrain on the SW side.

The area around Corral Pass and FS rd 7174 was pretty tracked up by snowmobiles. I imagine this won't last too much longer as some of the mid-low elevation sun-exposed sections of 7174 are thinning rapidly.

Nice trip that you guys went after! I hear there is good skiing on the backside (NE) of the Castle. Just a bugger to get to from any approach.

A buddy of mine soloed a variation the opposite way a few years back. From his Silver Creek cabin up the Corral Pass FS road 7174 behind the Castle, down to Goat Lake basin, up and over to the CM access road back down the FS road by Sandflat home. From his account is that it gets a little confusing looking for ways back over the Castle because of the blind exposures.

A picture of Castle's SW face from Pickhandle Pt the following day:


On another note, can you imagine if they had put the ski area at Corral Pass?! They originally proposed putting the lifts in starting down at 410, where there's snow maybe 1-2 months out of the winter if we're lucky.
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Joedabaker
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Re: Feb 9, Goat Creek Traverse, Crystal to Corral Pass
« Reply #4 on: 02/12/13, 08:03 AM »

I think it would be quite difficult to navigate  from the backside of Castle to Goat Lake because of the steep complex and cliffy terrain on the SW side.

Yes I remember him saying that he had to go quite a ways down in the woods before he could come back up and got lucky to find a chute that went through coming back into Goat Lake. And since he used up so much energy going a around it closed out part of his plans, not to say time too.
Mind you, this is a guy that does not believe in modern technology as a means of navigation, but has amazing navigational instincts and I mean amazing!
He has skied the drainage from Goat Lake down, but does not recommend that unless you are a true glutton for punishment. Coming from him it must be bad!
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orion_sonya
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Re: Feb 9, Goat Creek Traverse, Crystal to Corral Pass
« Reply #5 on: 02/12/13, 08:50 AM »

Nice route!  I love that terrain over there and have always wanted to ski off Castle Peak and explore the NW side. Well done!
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