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| | |-+  March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
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Author Topic: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour  (Read 8836 times)
skier8484
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March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« on: 03/16/13, 11:29 AM »

TR summary: A great 5 day tour in the Stuarts with very good snow quality, views and terrain.  Ended up skiing the NE Couloir (NEC) and North Buttress Couloir (NBC) on Colchuck as well as the Sherpa Glacier Couloir (SGC) on Stuart. 

The long version:

Day 1: 8 mile to Colchuck Lake
We started skinning around 10:30 in lightly falling snow, which quickly reduced our skin glide to near zero.  Luckily I had applied some glop stopper a week prior; Allen was left bootpacking for a portion of the approach. 

Bootpacking instead of skinning yields the only phony smile of the trip:


The snow gradually became more skin friendly and we arrived at Colchuck Lake around dusk.  After setting up camp we made a quick lap from the moraine on the Colchuck Glacier to check out the snow/stability/rain crust. 


Things looked pretty good (good stability, soft snow, diminishing rain crust with elevation, etc) and we crashed out excited for potential of skiing steep lines in soft snow.

Day 2: NEC/CGP
With clouds lingering around the higher peaks, we decided on the NEC believing the rock walls would provide better contrast if the cloud level dropped.  Skinning the apron to the couloir entrance:


The bootpacking was easy going at first, with a foot of soft on a supportable/not overly crusty base.



Unfortunately after a couple hundred vert we were in full on swim mode, and it took a little over three hours to climb to where the couloir cliffed out.  Allen swimming:


We skied from just below the cliff in the upper right of the above photo.  Reasonably deep snow  made for a very fun descent, but bluff management was key, as each turn was prone to release a lot of moving snow.  Allen in action in the NEC:






Ripping the lower section:




A sizeable sucker hole had formed over the Colchuck Glacier, mandating a pow lap from the col.


Dragontail living up to its namesake:


Day 3: NBC
After a chilly nights sleep we awoke to gorgeous bluebird skies:






The objective:


The lower rocky crux proved a little difficult, but after struggling through it (I blame Allen for knocking most of the snow off the rocks!) the booting was very efficient to the saddle.  View of Stuart were...impressive:


The traverse out onto the NW face looked thin/rocky, so we opted to drop from the saddle. 




Steep pow will make you smile!




Home free pow turns on the lower apron:


With plenty of energy left, another pow lap on the CG was in order:


Admiring our handywork:


Back at camp, it was time to dry out our gear and move camp to Mountaineers Basin.


We followed Alecapones skinner to the split between Argonaut and Stuart (nice tracks down the NW couloir btw) and setup camp just after sunset in the woods at a spot with running water (always a nice perk in the winter).  Falling asleep was effortless after a big, fun, satisfying day.

Day 4: SGC
Travel was fast through the forest, and soon we were greeted by the impressive North side of Stuart:


Northside of Colchuck looking thin:


Skinning up the Sherpa Glacier was a real treat in ideal soft pow conditions, making huge switchbacks to the base of the SGC. 


Allen crushed the bootpack up the SGC; I did what I could to keep up:


After layering down we enjoyed a sunny booter to the East summit of Stuart:


Views from the top were killer:




Time to ski.  The snow in the sun was a little variable, but not overly sunbaked/mushy.




Couldn't have asked for nicer conditions on the upper Sherpa Glacier.  Allen trying to find the snow's speed limit...and failing Wink


Many high fives were exchanged at the base of the glacier, and after an easy ski back to camp we gorged ourselves with food and enjoyed a warm campfire.

Day 5: Argonaut NE Couloir (ANEC?)
Looking to ski something close to camp, we settled on the NE couloir on Argonaut for our final ski of the trip.  The skin track and booter was in from climbers the day previous, so we figured the going would be easy.  Some wind scour on the NE snowfield made skinning difficult at times, but soon enough we were booting up soft pow into the NE couloir.  Unfortunately it became very rocky at the first dogleg, forcing our descent from there. 

The luge run down to the road was actually pretty fun, and the road deproach was smooth...until the snow ran out:


Overall an incredible trip, and the longest winter camping trip I've ever done.  Dinner at the Sultan Bakery was a most excellent way to refuel after 5 days of GU and Mountain House too!
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Marcus
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #1 on: 03/16/13, 11:41 AM »

What a trip!  Nice work -- that picture of Stuart's north side has me drooling for warm summer granite...
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kevino
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #2 on: 03/16/13, 02:35 PM »

Killer trip in one of my favorite areas.

Where is the snowline on the road?
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chrism
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #3 on: 03/16/13, 04:47 PM »

Wow, way to nail a bunch of great lines in one go.  Inspiring.
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Rowan Stewart
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #4 on: 03/16/13, 11:43 PM »

Wow, looks like the conditions were just about as good as you could ask for. Nice work slaying so many sick lines in one trip. Truly inspiring.
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Walking makes the world much bigger, and thus more interesting.
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alecapone
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #5 on: 03/17/13, 07:15 AM »

Yeah buddy!

Thats  rockin trip!

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scott
andyski
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #6 on: 03/17/13, 05:20 PM »

AWESOME. Excellent TR and photos.
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hefeweizen
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #7 on: 03/17/13, 08:37 PM »

Brilliant work nailing some premium lines in Das Enchantments! Nice photos too.
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lrudholm
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #8 on: 03/17/13, 08:53 PM »

I'm using this as my dream trip guide.
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Leyland
Gregg_C
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #9 on: 03/17/13, 09:25 PM »

Great pictures of a wonderful trip.  I really enjoyed these.  Clap, Clap, Bravo, Clap, Clap
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bencgreg
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #10 on: 03/17/13, 10:35 PM »

Very inspiring TR and photos! Thats a dream trip for sure, you guys nailed it!
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Oyvind_Henningsen
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #11 on: 03/18/13, 07:24 AM »

awesome you guys !!
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Lytt til erfarne fjellfolk!
Vince Lamphier
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #12 on: 03/18/13, 07:35 AM »

  The Stuart Range has got to the most dramatic mountains in the Cascades. Very cool guys! I love the photography! It's now in my crosshairs. Thanks!!
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chmnyboy
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #13 on: 03/18/13, 10:21 AM »

I'm so happy I had to be at work so that you could use my sleeping bag. That really worked out for one of us...


Sweet trip though!
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jwplotz
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #14 on: 03/18/13, 11:40 AM »

Quite the vigorous trip with cool photos. Too bad you weren't able to ski Colchuck's NE Couloir in its entirety. The upper headwall above that small cliffband is some exhilarating skiing.
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JimD
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #15 on: 03/20/13, 06:55 AM »

Cooler than a moose & twice as hairy! Thanks for a TR in the old school style with a series of great photos.
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skier8484
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #16 on: 03/20/13, 10:21 AM »

Thanks for all the kind words everyone! 

Also going to shamelessly bump my own thread with a few of Allen's photos:







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mikerolfs
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #17 on: 03/22/13, 06:41 AM »

I love it!  I'm drooling over this.  You guys did it right.
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n16ht5
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #18 on: 03/22/13, 08:13 AM »

epic
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jtack
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #19 on: 03/23/13, 09:07 PM »

The perfect tour in what looks like near perfect conditions, totally jealous.
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peteyboy
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Re: March 6-10, 2013, Stuart Range Acronym Tour
« Reply #20 on: 03/24/13, 08:54 PM »

Way to go big & totally get it, fellas.  Strong work.
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