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| | |-+  The Brothers: E Face, N Approach
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Author Topic: The Brothers: E Face, N Approach  (Read 3091 times)

Posts: 325

The Brothers: E Face, N Approach
« on: 03/25/13, 10:46 PM »

“It’s been 10 years, and maybe more, since I first laid eyes on you. Now the best years of my life go by, here I am alone and blue”…Robert Plant

But blue no more!! Indeed, I’ve lived in Edmonds for nearly 13 years and stared at The Brothers in absolute wonder. What a nice skiable face that is over there; I’d like to do that someday! Over the years, there have been at least 3 aborted attempts, but I think I’m glad I waited. This tour took all of my experience and patience to make happen. And, thanks to DaveMat, we did as well as we possibly could in a 1-day attempt. We’ve since determined that 2 days would give a better shot at fully completing the objective, but we didn’t have that luxury.

Thus, we determined to enter the lower east face of the Brothers via the longer routing shown on maps. We know people have done a south-facing slope, but that’s not the aesthetic line that’s been catching our eyes for so long. With headlamps ablaze at 5:15 AM, we excitedly tore up the Lena Lakes trail to move up to the north end of the E. Fork Lena Creek valley. We seemed to be making great time (6 hours to this point) until we came to the headwaters of the creek. Then we realized that the topo map had mistakenly turned a number of steep slopes into an actual sheer face! What we’d hoped to easily boot-pack up turned into a, “We’d better go down and keep moving north.” kind of moment. A new assessment, after about an hour’s lost time, revealed that we COULD boot-pack up the next 1000+ feet into the bottom.

So began the steady ascent to the snow beneath the Brothers. Step after step, we made excellent time. However, we were also growing weary after so much time hauling skis on backs (the forested “trail” was too variable, in terms of terrain features, to make for efficient skinning). So, after a quick lunch, we skied up our final 800 feet and met up with our agreed-upon turnaround time. We stopped about 500 feet short of the summit, and were just at the bottom of the cleaver-like couloir that splits the North and South Brothers from each other. We ultimately agreed that there were too many unknowns to attempt it safely. The solar exposure, the huge cornice at the top staring us in the face, and our desire to sleep in our own beds rather than sleeping bags all won out.

We did NOT, however, go home without an exquisite ski down! Nice soft pow for the first 1200 feet, and then the run-out to the creek headwaters was a combo of softened corn and softened avy ice. As usual, the skiing in the trees, much like the return from Commonwealth Basin, was the usual woodsy adventure. Finally back to the cars by 8:45 PM, and raced to Kingston for the 10:30 ferry. 14 ground miles covered, 5700 feet of vertical scaled, and sore, tired, but HUGE smiles on our faces!

This tour is an interesting one, in that it takes JUST the right factors to get it. Too early in the winter, and the Hamma Hamma road is closed due to snow. Too late, and the snow is melted in the forest, guaranteeing a lovely memory of major schwacking proportions! The east face basin itself, though, is spectacular! If you’ve got the time, this is just a beautiful, lonely place to go.

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Posts: 606

Re: The Brothers: E Face, N Approach
« Reply #1 on: 03/26/13, 06:26 AM »

Cool stuff Greg, and congrats for getting over there. Those are some impressive numbers you guys put up... especially for old dudes whose best years are behind them  Wink

I have a similar experience wondering about that mountain after many years looking at it but never making it there. Thanks for blazing a trail and sharing.

-Doug O

Posts: 264

Re: The Brothers: E Face, N Approach
« Reply #2 on: 03/26/13, 08:48 AM »

Nice trip, I'm sure plenty others have been eyeing that! The Olympics never give it up easy.

Posts: 2313

Re: The Brothers: E Face, N Approach
« Reply #3 on: 03/26/13, 09:25 AM »

I'm tired just reading the trip. A great trip with perfect timing.   Wink
Forest McBrian

Posts: 36

Re: The Brothers: E Face, N Approach
« Reply #4 on: 03/26/13, 02:22 PM »

I'm glad you got after it, Greg! I know you've been keen on that for some time. I wonder how long before it starts to seem like a good idea again...

Posts: 520

Re: The Brothers: E Face, N Approach
« Reply #5 on: 03/26/13, 02:41 PM »

I'm tired just reading the trip. A great trip with perfect timing.   Wink

Me too. Well done!!

Posts: 171

Re: The Brothers: E Face, N Approach
« Reply #6 on: 04/23/13, 08:04 PM »

Huge, huge congrats are in order again! You have deserved such a successful trip for so long! Thank you for sharing your adventure

Skiing: When grit meets grace and power embraces passion.
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