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| |-+  May 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 4-5, 2013, Glacier Peak
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Author Topic: May 4-5, 2013, Glacier Peak  (Read 2093 times)
patrick
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May 4-5, 2013, Glacier Peak
« on: 05/07/13, 09:28 PM »

Quick notes from a 2-day Glacier Peak outing:

Access:  Leaving forest road 49 at 6:30am, we walked about 3 hours on dirt and firm snow before hitting the trail up.  The going should only get easier.  You can probably start skinning at 4000'.  

Snow conditions: high winds on top kept the top of our descent firm but carveable.  Once we dropped below the east-west divide we found thousands of feet of perfect corn.  Below that, muck.  

Scary snow conditions: Our way out Sunday PM took us down a large south-facing slope, all deep slush.  A ski cut sent a foot deep wet slide slowly down over a rollover; thirty seconds later a torrent of large debris rocketed into view at the bottom of the slope.  Scary the energy it accumulated, and that we had no other route down.  We skied the slide path in consummate avy-terrain form, making note of places where the top foot of sliding snow had grabbed a couple more feet from the lower snowpack.  Every departure from the slide path sent another wet slide down.  It was easy to avoid getting caught, but careless skiing could have ended badly.  

Gear revelations:
I spent my first night in a tarp trench: a partial snow cave covering our legs and a poncho-covered trench for our torsos.  Totally comfortable, and only 7 ounces!  Good walls kept the reasonably strong winds from disturbing our tarp.  I also found that folded-over climbing skins added a lot of insulation to my inadequate sleeping pad.  

Review:
An absolutely gorgeous destination - I've never had such a comprehensive view of the Cascades.  But there's a lot of flat travel, with not enough skiing in just one descent to merit the price of admission.  Still, as an endurance event and a scenic wilderness experience, well worth it.  Next time I'll make sure to spend a handful of days and really explore.  


* sheltered_campsite.JPG (77.37 KB, 564x423 - viewed 1132 times.)

* Erik_reaping_the_benefits_of_time_in_the_resort.JPG (190.69 KB, 1000x692 - viewed 1161 times.)
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Erik Henne
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Re: May 4-5, 2013, Glacier Peak
« Reply #1 on: 05/09/13, 10:10 AM »

Great weekend Patrick. I posted more pictures from the weekend here: https://plus.google.com/photos/102863503647661967510/albums/5875691296207735857
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hedonaut
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Re: May 4-5, 2013, Glacier Peak
« Reply #2 on: 05/09/13, 10:36 AM »

nice effort!  liked the reflective write-up.  would like to hear a bit more re: the construction of the tarp-trench; did you use any structure to suspend your rainshell, or just stuff your legs in a cave and cover your torso w/ your jacket?

also, that's a great set of pics Mr Henne
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patrick
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Re: May 4-5, 2013, Glacier Peak
« Reply #3 on: 05/09/13, 01:50 PM »

We had a snow cave that covered us to about mid-thigh, and a 2-3' deep trench extending beyond that.  We guyed our poncho/tarp to trekking pole halves, and we buried the boundary under snow blocks.  A vertical trekking pole pushing the tarp up near the entrance made it somewhat taut, and a backpack plus a pile of boots closed off the entrance. 
Inside, I had the bottom of my sleeping bag stuffed in my pack - very effective at insulation and protection from snow above and below.  Under my torso I had two ultralight camp mats and my climbing skins for insulation and a garbage bag to keep my bag of the snow. 
All brilliantly executed, thanks to Erik's German engineering. 
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