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Author Topic: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10  (Read 19747 times)
Kyle Miller
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The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« on: 03/11/13, 08:44 PM »

The Osceola Traverse

This project has been a dream of mine for years. The terrain along the northern flanks of Rainier have been my go to areas since I was younger and I wanted to revisit the places of my youth during the winter months. Last year around this time I was fortunate enough to do a traverse from Paradise to Crystal with Jason and during the spring I traversed the Sourdoughs solo. With good weather in the forecast and a fresh coat of snow over a rain saturated base we were stoked to go and explore the northern part of the park.

We decided on the name Osceola that represents the Mud flow/erruption that scared the north face of Rainier and the lowlands that many of us grew up in.





This TR is more of a route description. I will write a more personal TR soon.

Partners in crime: Jason Hummel and Ben Starkey
with a sled ride exit from Boot from White River Campground to the Crystal Blvd snowpark (16 Miles)

Miles:36
Gain: 18,000 feet
Days: 4

Day 1

It all started at the Carbon River Ranger station as we climbed 2 miles of steep switchbacks through old growth forests before switching to skinning. Travel was hard with windscoops and thick trees along the ridge but after a while of slow progress we made it to the summit of Florence peak. With a quick descend down the Southern slopes we made our way onto Alki crest past Howard peak and finally around to Tolmie Peak.



We took a break at the lookout for a half our or so before descending to Eunice lake. From Eunice we did a traverse SE towards Isput pass and descended through old growth glades to the last switchback on the Mowich lake road. The last hour of light was consumed by road and old growth skinning before making it to the outlet of Mowich Lake which had running water. That night we went to bed with wet gear and excitement for 2 days of sunshine.



Day 2

We woke up to frozen gear and the sight of sun warmed slopes off in the distance. After a much needed coffee and a tad bit of sunshine we skinned across Mowich lake and through Knapsack pass and over to Mt. Pleasant and got a glimpse of Spray Park in winter conditions.







Everything looks closer then it really is and travel seems so slow on huge open slopes. The sun was out and it was cooking the 8 inches of new snow quickly turning it to glop. With a low angle contour we made our way up the Flett Glacier then finally the Russel Glacier.





From there we descended 3000 feet of perfectly wind affected pow all the way down to the Carbon Glacier. It was overwhelming how dark and powerful it felt as we skinned at a brisk pace watching alpenglow off in the distance. We pushed on to Mystic mountain and rode down to a semi sheltered area just south of Mineral Mountain. That night we watched the light show of stars illuminate above the Willis Wall.



Day 3

The next morning we skinned to just below the main headwall that connects Curtis Ridge and descended around 4000 feet of once again wind buffed pow all the way to Granite creek at the toe of the Winthrop glacier.







We skinned up Granite creek to its source in the heart of the Burroughs. Our attention was now focused on the northeast face of the 2nd Burrough down to Berkley park. We were stoked to see that the Chutes were filled with excellent powder conditions.





From there we skinned up to the 1st Burrough and rode the east face past frozen lake.



 Our final skin of the day was up the Sunrise service road before camping next to the visitor center.



Day 4

Ben and I woke up at 4 a.m. and skinned the Sunrise road out to Dege Peak and watched the sunrise over Crystal Mountains back side before descending the Northeast face and skinning back to Sunrise. Our exit was via a chute right under Sunrise that descended directly to White River campground where our good friend Boot picked us up via snowmobile and we all celebrated at Mazatlans in Enumclaw







P.S. Hummel is doing a slideshow at the Tractor Tavern Tueday night with Roger Strong I am sure he has some amazing photos to show.



Thank you so much to Hummel, Ben Starkey and Boot for making this trip a success. I am sure both Hummel and Ben have some more photos to share. Ben was kind enough to let me use some of his photos on this TR

« Last Edit: 03/12/13, 12:49 PM by Kyle Miller » Logged

In a perfect world, everybody would act with the correct etiquette and follow the rules. Human nature as it is= NOT GOING TO HAPPEN....no matter how many discussion on ski blogs/websites. Face reality............
Rowan Stewart
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #1 on: 03/11/13, 09:16 PM »

Wow, really impressive and inspiring. Nice work!
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swaterfall
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #2 on: 03/11/13, 09:35 PM »

Nice one!

southcentralcascadesrules4life!!!
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Robie
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #3 on: 03/11/13, 09:35 PM »

Outstanding ! Once again proving that one doesn't have to go far to go far !
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runcle
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #4 on: 03/11/13, 09:55 PM »

Yeah!! Great TR! Thanks for sharing!
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silaswild
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #5 on: 03/11/13, 10:10 PM »

Great trip, beautiful photos.  Now think about another Osceola traverse:  Slate Pass --> Osceola Peak, Lago, Carru?  40 miles  13,700 elevation gain 3 days   See http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7994119 and other reports for the dry version.
« Last Edit: 03/11/13, 10:14 PM by silaswild » Logged
bs.
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #6 on: 03/11/13, 10:25 PM »

what a rad weekend!

i'm still blown away by what perfect weather and snow we had for covering all that ground.  good times, good folks, and good photos!  i think i can dig up a few more that haven't been posted here yet.

here's one while i'm at it.... kyle skins by some gnar on the carbon glacier:

.

more to come.  it's been a long day!
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cumulus
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #7 on: 03/11/13, 10:34 PM »

Osceola Peak, Lago, Carru
funny, that's what I was thinking when I clicked on this TR... they hold minimal dry appeal, but a lot of snow appeal to me... Hard to time with Hart's Pass opening, would pretty much need snowmobile assist it seems.

Osceola, that Black Drink Singer Seminole Indian chief really gets around...

thanks for the TR!
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Stefan
ryanl
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #8 on: 03/11/13, 10:47 PM »

beautiful trip dudes
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Joedabaker
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #9 on: 03/12/13, 07:55 AM »

Way to take advantage of a nice weather window!
Nice navigational skills! Stunning scenery thanks for sharing!
Nice shot of the chute under the lodge. I always wondered if that chute would ski during the winter. Wish I could make it to the tractor for that presentation.
Great job boys!
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kath
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #10 on: 03/12/13, 12:16 PM »

wahoo!!
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mosetick
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #11 on: 03/12/13, 03:27 PM »

Great trip report Kyle! Thanks for being comprehensive in your report. And great photos Ben! Looking forward to seeing everyone and some more amazing photos at the slide show.
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Chamois
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #12 on: 03/13/13, 09:18 AM »

Kyle and team - nice trip!!  I really enjoy seeing new possibilities folks come up with in our back yard.  Rock on guys.
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Oyvind_Henningsen
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #13 on: 03/13/13, 09:39 AM »

blown away - love it !
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Lytt til erfarne fjellfolk!
Kyle Miller
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #14 on: 03/13/13, 01:02 PM »

Thanks to for all the kind comments it means a lot.

We went into the trip with low expectations on snow conditions but it turned out to be just enough snow to keep skinning easy and yet enough to have great skiing off NE aspects. It was surreal looking at where we had started and needed to go off the high alpine of the Russell Glacier.

We had the choice of skinning the Mowich road for 10 miles or start off at Carbon River gain elevation immediately to the summit of Mt. Florence and travel along Alki Crest to Tolmie. It took longer but I hate road skinning and it was awesome hiking and skinning through the rain forest!

One thing I loved about this tour was that it had minimal traverses, it was set up for and by a snowboarder. Each day we would put it low angle skin tracks on smooth canvases of snow, ride down a big line, then skin up the next mountain.

It felt great to be in such a remote area within view of Seattle.

Thanks to everyone who attended the Slideshow at Tractor last night.
Here are a few photos Hummel got on the trip.












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In a perfect world, everybody would act with the correct etiquette and follow the rules. Human nature as it is= NOT GOING TO HAPPEN....no matter how many discussion on ski blogs/websites. Face reality............
skiseattle
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #15 on: 03/13/13, 01:25 PM »

What a great trip.  That picture of the Willis Wall at night is perfect.  Nice Job
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hedonaut
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #16 on: 03/14/13, 01:17 PM »

so scenic, beautifully captured by legs, lungs and camera.  well done fellas.
completely agree re: avoiding road skinning if possible.
great time at the tractor!  nwac parties rock.

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Jason_H.
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #17 on: 03/14/13, 02:08 PM »

Thanks for the report Kyle. It was an awesome trip. I can't wait to edit through all the images. That's an adventure of its own.
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moira armen
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #18 on: 03/14/13, 09:14 PM »

Wow!  Really awesome, and inspiring...thank you for sharing!
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Jason_H.
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #19 on: 03/16/13, 07:14 PM »

May as well add my version of events. Enjoy! http://cascadecrusades.org/SkiMountaineering/rainier/osceolatraverse/osceolatraverse2013/OT2013.htm
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Forest McBrian
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #20 on: 03/17/13, 09:00 PM »

Adventure! Thanks for the report, guys. Fine work as usual.
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freeskier
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #21 on: 03/19/13, 09:23 AM »

Gotta say, trips and reports like this is what made me want to get into this activity. Thanks for the fantastic write-up, the stunning photography and the inspiration.
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jhamaker
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #22 on: 03/19/13, 08:50 PM »

Do you think you could shave off a day by going the other direction, or would skinning the steep pitches (instead of skiing them) just involve too many swithcbacks and, as a result, loose too much time?
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glenn_b
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #23 on: 03/19/13, 09:38 PM »

Do you think you could shave off a day by going the other direction, or would skinning the steep pitches (instead of skiing them) just involve too many swithcbacks and, as a result, loose too much time?
A buddy and I skied this from east to west in Spring 1982 with 3 nights out, a bivy on the pavement at the Hwy 123/Sunrise Rd junction, NPS lodgings above the Sunrise visitor center because a seasonal ranger had told us the secret to getting in and on the porch of the Mystic Lake patrol cabin.  The crux was climbing up the lee side to Knapsack Pass which we thought might be wind loaded but wasn't.  Admittedly, we were there to tour not turn but had nice downhill runs into Granite Creek, Spray Park and Mowich Lake.  My skis were 210cm Trak Altas, metal-edged, no-wax paired with a "heavy" leather boot on a 3-pin binding.
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Jason_H.
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Re: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10
« Reply #24 on: 03/20/13, 07:48 AM »

Jhamaker,

We made the route so it was a ski/board route rather than a point A to B route. This added a lot of vertical. You could cut a day out by not going up the carbon or Withrop or the various other peaks. We also took a full day to get from the Carbon River to Mowich Lake. You could cut that stretch out and go down the mowich road. Each day we did about 6-7k vert gain (about 19,700 to be exact). The last day was a descent to the White River and Kyle and Ben did a short climb that morning, but otherwise no vertical required. By going the other way, it would be a shame to miss the 2k couloir we skied, but you could link other great lines by going the other way. 

Glen,

Awesome trip...thanks a ton for sharing. Did you end at Mowich Lake or continue to the Carbon? You will have to share some images!
« Last Edit: 03/20/13, 07:53 AM by Jason_H. » Logged

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