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Author Topic: May 28-30, 2005, Sinister and Dome Peaks  (Read 7611 times)
Lowell_Skoog
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May 28-30, 2005, Sinister and Dome Peaks
« on: 05/31/05, 08:59 AM »



Over Memorial Day weekend, my brother Carl, John Mauro and I joined Jason and Josh Hummel and Troy Manfredi for a trip to the Dome Peak area.  Jason and I had been in touch about a possible ski of the Ptarmigan Traverse.  Carl, Alan Kearney and I had talked about a multi-day basecamp near Dome Peak.  Changing work schedules and weather forecasts nudged us all toward the latter alternative.  

We met at the Suiattle River road end around 8 a.m. Saturday. The forecast called for deteriorating weather on Memorial Day, but we were reluctant to give up our extended vacation plans, so we all (except John) packed five or more days of food.  Added to our skiing and camping gear, this was too much weight, especially for those of us who hadn't carried overnight packs for many months.  We groaned under our loads up the Downey Creek trail to Bachelor Creek.  There Alan turned back due to a nagging leg injury.  We sweltered on the brushy Bachelor Creek trail, then climbed steep woods (next to an avalanche path that wiped out the trail a few years ago) to the pass above Cub Lake.  Troy decided to camp at the pass.  The rest of us descended to the lake and camped in the basin just beyond it.  Due to the heat and our heavy loads, we required about 12 hours to reach camp.  

Here we had to make a decision.  We had hoped to move camp to the high saddle of Dome Peak and enjoy a few days skiing in the area. But the forecast called for just one more day of good weather. If we packed our heavy loads up Dome we'd probably sacrifice our primary objective, Sinister Peak.  So we decided to abandon the high camp idea and attempt a one-day, lightweight jaunt from Cub Lake to Sinister Peak and back.  

Sunday morning was beautiful.  Tired from the previous day, we decided 6 a.m. was a reasonable starting time.  The approach to Cub Lake had been almost entirely snow-free, but now we were able to ski most of the way to Itswoot Ridge and across the basin beyond to the Dome Glacier.  We crossed the high col of Dome Peak around 10:30 a.m. and looked across the marvelous Chickamin Glacier to Sinister Peak.  It looked great, but we worried about the effects of the sun on the slopes we hoped to ski.  We skied down the glacier on sticky snow to the base of Sinister, then packed up our skis to climb its north face.  

The north face of Sinister Peak is shaped like an "A".  It tapers elegantly from base to summit and has a moat about half-way up. (In the upper photo above, the north face angles down and right from the summit.) We climbed the left edge of the face, keeping on the minor snow crest where possible to minimize avalanche risk. We reached the summit around 1 p.m. and enjoyed a beautiful view of Dome Peak under warm, windless skies.  Around 2 p.m. we began our descent of the north face.  We tried to get sluffs to sweep the face, but surprisingly could not get them to release.  The snow was sticky and tended to form snowballs rather than sluffs. Everybody took turns skiing for each other's camera.  In the lower photo (above) John Mauro cranks a telemark with Dome Peak in the background.  Our ski descent was especially satisfying for Carl, since he participated in the first ascent of Sinister's north face almost 26 years ago.  

Back on the Chickamin Glacier we saw that the weather was quickly changing.  Black clouds were massing over Mount Goode and spreading our way.  Thunder and rain showers reached us on the climb back up Dome Peak.  Jason and Josh hurried ahead while John, Carl and I paused to let the storm pass.  After the sky lightened, John and I scrambled to the summit of Dome Peak and the three of us skied down the Dome Glacier to rejoin the Hummels back at Cub Lake.  

The clouds socked in during the night and we awoke to fog and mist Monday morning.  The decision to hike out was easy.  The hard part was trying to eat enough food to significantly lighten our loads.  On the trail we rejoined Troy, who had enjoyed two nights camping near Cub Lake pass.  Our packs were still too heavy, but the satisfaction of a great trip in fantastic surroundings made the long miles of trail easier to bear.  
« Last Edit: 05/31/05, 04:37 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
ski_photomatt
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Re: May 28-30, 2005, Sinister and Dome Peaks
« Reply #1 on: 05/31/05, 09:13 AM »

Sweet!  Cheesy Glad you were able to get up and down Sinister before the storms arrived.  Thanks for the trip report and great photo of John.
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skykilo
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Re: May 28-30, 2005, Sinister and Dome Peaks
« Reply #2 on: 05/31/05, 09:36 AM »

That north face of Sinister just looks primo!  Glad it wasn't too sloppy for you.

Did you use a digital camera Lowell?
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philfort
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Re: May 28-30, 2005, Sinister and Dome Peaks
« Reply #3 on: 05/31/05, 09:37 AM »

Very nice! Sweet photo... serious stokage.
« Last Edit: 05/31/05, 09:37 AM by philfort » Logged
Lowell_Skoog
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Re: May 28-30, 2005, Sinister and Dome Peaks
« Reply #4 on: 05/31/05, 10:36 AM »

Quote
Did you use a digital camera Lowell?


Yup, I finally bought a digital camera. I'm still getting used to it and I haven't decided how much I'll continue to use my film camera. The top photo is a slide taken in 1985 from the summit of Gunsight. I scanned it and converted it to B&W.
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kam
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Re: May 28-30, 2005, Sinister and Dome Peaks
« Reply #5 on: 05/31/05, 12:44 PM »

wow Lowell, that is a nice photo of John!  thanks for sharing, and a great TR, as usual.
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What do you mean you didn't bring skis?
Salal
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Re: May 28-30, 2005, Sinister and Dome Peaks
« Reply #6 on: 05/31/05, 03:42 PM »

Inspirational....I've been thinking about undertaking a trip into this area soon....and this is enough of a reason.
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ryanl
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Re: May 28-30, 2005, Sinister and Dome Peaks
« Reply #7 on: 05/31/05, 05:24 PM »

Sounds like you had a great trip! I've often looked at the photo of Sinister in Nelson's book and dreamed of skiing it. Thanks for working out the details!
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Sam Avaiusini
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Re: May 28-30, 2005, Sinister and Dome Peaks
« Reply #8 on: 06/01/05, 03:51 PM »

Way to get after it, guys!  Boy, I'm sorry I missed this one!
That face has been on my mind for years!
If I would have known this was only going to be a weekend trip, I would have come along, for sure!
I'm envious, to say the least!  Congrats!
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Sam Avaiusini
Jason_H.
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Re: May 28-30, 2005, Sinister and Dome Peaks
« Reply #9 on: 06/03/05, 04:21 PM »

Thanks for the TR Lowell. I'm glad I could join you on a trip to  a great area, great mountain and a great line! And it's too bad we couldn't spend another few days up there cause carrying all that food up and down was reason enough to earn the sufferfest award of the week. Cool
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