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NWAC Avalanche
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| |-+  March 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  March 24, 2013, Whitehorse
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Author Topic: March 24, 2013, Whitehorse  (Read 2654 times)

Posts: 45

March 24, 2013, Whitehorse
« on: 03/25/13, 09:31 AM »

Whitehorse is in condition, but just barely.  Another big avy cycle will make the approach pretty mundane, but another week or two of melting will make it exciting-to-impassible without rock gear. 
We approached the choke at the waterfall with considerable trepidation, as there was minimal avy debris in the valley bottom on the approach.  The debris ramp started just in time, and ended about 5 feet below a rock ledge at the choke/above the waterfall.  A few tenuous mixed climbing moves with about five seconds of real exposure brought us to a just barely covered rock ramp alongside the waterfall.  There was enough snow to boot with occasional slipping, though I think we scraped it pretty well clean on our way out.  The next party will benefit from steel crampons for a very short dry-tooling stretch. 

From the choke, we booted/ skinned up the usual chunder field to the next crux. (Good God Whitehorse has a lot of cruxes.)  We booted up a just barely sufficiently covered rocky/alder-filled chute.  We decided trees were on for this particular climb.  Difficult going, but highly do-able with a lot of swearing.  It's going to get much harder as the melt continues. 

Once we gained the snowy. chunder-free slopes, life got a lot better.  The snow was heavy at the bottom, but wide slough paths made for easy skinning.  It got progressively lighter as we ascended, at least by Washington standards. 

We found just a hint of wind slab as we stepped up off the So-bali-ali glacier - 1/2" deep, 2" deep, very briefly 6" deep.  At this point we triggered a couple very shallow slabs as we descended, but they were too shallow to disturb our skiing. 

The rest of the way was stable, lightish snow with minimal wind effect.  The view from the summit was gorgeous!  I haven't explored much of the mountain loop and North Cascades yet, so this provided inspiration for years of objectives. 

The ski was great for the first several thousand feet.  We actually exited skier's right, taking a wooded, chundery ramp under the cliffs.  We had to skin about 20 vertical feet to get back into the debris-filled bowl/ creekbed, but otherwise no drama on this descent.  Much better than booting back down the second crux, though I think the skiing might have been superior on the skier's left side. 

The crux at the waterfall made for a sporty descent.  First, it required a semi-controlled slide down a slick rocky face, my axe scraping all the way to a snowy platform.  Flirting with exposure, but it felt safe enough.  The rock step would have been a fairly exposed downclimb, so we opted for a partial downclimb followed by a butt-slide off a decent drop, again onto a snowy platform.  Freebooting proved almost as exciting as freeskiing, though I wussed out and didn't throw any tricks. 

All in all, a beautiful day, and exactly the (very large) amount of suck you expect Whitehorse to throw at you.  This was my third attempt, and Robert's fourth, so we were pretty damn happy to finally make it up (and to not have to thrutch up the approach again for awhile). 

For any future interested parties, I'd say it'll be good skiing for a little while longer.  There was more sun in there than I expected, but the snow remains deep and fun.  But yeah, dry-tooling may be required at the choke now that we've scraped it clean.  Sorry about that. 

* IMG_9654.JPG (144.44 KB, 845x634 - viewed 1236 times.)

* IMG_9710.JPG (259.45 KB, 951x714 - viewed 1235 times.)
« Last Edit: 03/25/13, 10:38 AM by patrick » Logged

Posts: 45

Re: March 24, 2013, Whitehorse
« Reply #1 on: 03/25/13, 10:39 AM »

Pictures of the crux at the waterfall/choke:

* IMG_9622.JPG (75.59 KB, 400x300 - viewed 1233 times.)

* IMG_9757.JPG (175.9 KB, 845x634 - viewed 1232 times.)

* IMG_9760.JPG (201.69 KB, 845x634 - viewed 1222 times.)

Posts: 158

Re: March 24, 2013, Whitehorse
« Reply #2 on: 03/28/13, 08:02 AM »

good report.. would the summer route be better now? want to go Saturday or midweek next week

Posts: 521

Re: March 24, 2013, Whitehorse
« Reply #3 on: 03/28/13, 10:25 AM »

Awesome pics, thanks.
Vince Lamphier

Posts: 73

Re: March 24, 2013, Whitehorse
« Reply #4 on: 03/28/13, 04:23 PM »

That first pic. is Sweeet!!!

Posts: 35

Re: March 24, 2013, Whitehorse
« Reply #5 on: 03/28/13, 07:25 PM »

Full of win right there....

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