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| |-+  June 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  June 8, 2013 - MRNP, Cowlitz Chimneys Circuit
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Author Topic: June 8, 2013 - MRNP, Cowlitz Chimneys Circuit  (Read 3277 times)

Posts: 63

June 8, 2013 - MRNP, Cowlitz Chimneys Circuit
« on: 06/09/13, 12:18 PM »

Pete and I spent Saturday doing a delightful loop on Rainier up to Summerland, over Cowlitz Chimneys, and up and over Tamanos.

Left the Frying Pan Creek TH at 8:20 and started up towards Summerland. The nice bridge across Frying Pan Creek is pretty trashed so we had to head quite a way upstream to find a suitable crossing. The crossing was suitable. The thinning snow along the edges was not. One fully submerged and drained ski boot later, we got back on our skis and continued on our way. After we left Summerland, we didnít see anyone else the rest of the day. The slope leading up to Cowlitz Chimneys held enough snow to just barely squeak through on skins. That tiny little patch of continuous snow will be gone very, very soon. The entrance to the Cowlitz Chimneys run was predictably blocked by big, saggy cornices, but luckily, up slope on the saddle, we were able to find a non-corniced spot to slide in. The snow was a little mushy and very bumpy from all the cornice-fall, but if you stuck to the margins on skiers left, it skied pretty well.

Skinned/booted continuous snow up and over the ridge on the left at the bottom of the chimneys toward Owyhigh Lake. We skirted around the bowl and tried to retain as much vert as possible to assist us with our climb up Tamanos. The entrance to the main chute on the north side of Tamanos looked good, but we couldnít see past a constriction about 100 feet downslope so we hemmed and hawed for quite a while about whether to go for it. Pete finally decided to slide in for a closer look and was pleased to discover continuous snow all the way down. There are two main constrictions and they are getting narrower, but it should be skiable for a little bit longer. With the exception of some rocks peppering the slope, that chute had the best snow of the day!

We veered right out the bottom of the chute and were able to slide and side step our way straight to the Owyhigh Lake trail where we racked the skis and boots and hiked the remaining few miles back to the road, emerging at 6:20. The trail we came out on put us about .6 miles from our car so Pete graciously offered to jog back to get it while I lounged on a rock, reflecting on a great day.

Photos and a map of our route:

« Last Edit: 06/09/13, 12:33 PM by BeckyB » Logged

Posts: 141

Re: June 8, 2013 - MRNP, Cowlitz Chimneys Circuit
« Reply #1 on: 06/09/13, 09:20 PM »

Nice work, always wanted to try that loop but never put it all together.  Thanks for sharing!

Posts: 1816

Re: June 8, 2013 - MRNP, Cowlitz Chimneys Circuit
« Reply #2 on: 06/09/13, 09:37 PM »

Nice trip...Thanks for the report.
Must have been holding your breath going down the Cowlitz Chute with all that debris and potential for more.
Looks like the Tamanos Chute is pretty full in comparison with the times I have been down that one. Usually there is a ski wide moat to jump near the first choke. Where was the snow pack on the trail out? Past the campground?
Pete A

Posts: 849

Re: June 8, 2013 - MRNP, Cowlitz Chimneys Circuit
« Reply #3 on: 06/09/13, 10:02 PM »

hey Joe, we tacked on the ski of Tamanos on this cause of a comment by you back in 2008 when Becky and I first skied this tour out to Cowlitz Chimneys.... much more entertaining exit than shuffling out across the flats of Owyhigh Lakes...
regarding the snowpack, it ended rather abruptly at 5200ft on the trail. 

Posts: 1816

Re: June 8, 2013 - MRNP, Cowlitz Chimneys Circuit
« Reply #4 on: 06/10/13, 03:49 PM »

Thanks Pete for the reminder and intel.
I compared your pics to the 2008 pictures I had.  The date was a week later and lot less snow in Tamanos. Anyhow that is a long walk then add a jog on the end. Whew! I would have thumbed it.
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