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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  August 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  August 4, 2013, Artist Point, Ptarmigan Ridge
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Author Topic: August 4, 2013, Artist Point, Ptarmigan Ridge  (Read 2502 times)

Posts: 114

August 4, 2013, Artist Point, Ptarmigan Ridge
« on: 08/04/13, 10:10 PM »

Coverage is still pretty good out of Artist Point - and we actually had some good turns!

I enjoy the fact that one can justify "sleeping in" (read: not leaving at an unpleasant hour) for low-key summer turns because it stays dark later and I can say that I'm just waiting for the snow to soften up (which is true!).  We got up to Artist Point around 11:30am.  Still plenty of space in the parking lot, but of course, many tourists.

There is still a pretty big field of snow down in Bagley Lakes, where turns could certainly be had:

The initial glance at the snow below the first part of the summer trail out of Artist Point doesn't look that awesome, BUT don't be fooled, we ended up getting our best turns here:

We hiked skis on packs past the plateau where all the tourists turn around and hit continuous snow for skinning pretty soon after dropping the elevation from that plateau.  Here's how the north-facing slopes of Ptarmigan Ridge are looking:

Ran into two skiers on their way back in who had skied the south slopes of the ridge, saying the sun cups were big but the snow was soft.  We got to the top of the ridge (coverage photo below).  Though we knew the north facing slopes we had skinned up wouldn't be that awesome to ski, we had been keeping an eye on the weather coming in as thunderstorms were predicted for the day and the incoming clouds were looking pretty ominous, and decided it wouldn't be the best idea to get out far enough to ski those south facing slopes in case the thunderstorms did arrive.

So we skied back down the north facing slopes, which were not awesome, but the sun cups could have been larger, and the snow could have been harder!  On the less steep parts, we even had a run of 5 or 6 turns that one could have described as almost fun! 

Despite that first picture of the snow under the first section of the summer trail not looking awesome, on the hike out we had scoped out a pretty reasonable continuous line of snow, and decided we'd go check that out - it was closer to the parking lot in case the thunderstorms did start (of course, they did not), and it was south-facing.  And it ended up being great!  We had some legitimately nice turns that were good enough to lap (see below).  The suncups were pretty small all things considered, and the snow had softened up really nicely.  It will probably melt out pretty soon, but until then, these are easy, close turns to get, and it was actually good skiing!  Not something I necessarily expect for August. Smiley

Our beautiful turns (and the beautiful mountain):

Even if we hadn't gotten those last nice turns in, it was still a beautiful day in the moutnains, and we entertained plenty of tourists.  But I won't argue with also getting some legitimately good skiing in as well!

Posts: 324

Re: August 4, 2013, Artist Point, Ptarmigan Ridge
« Reply #1 on: 08/05/13, 08:31 AM »

LaPaz and I were the 2 skiers you ran into. Glad you made it out as far as you did. We saw, as you likely did, the MASSIVE anvil-headed clouds over much of the Northern Cascades as we drove south on I-5. Have not yet heard how spectacular the light show was, but likely BIG. Nice to rub shoulders with you guys. That snow fan above Bagley Lake stays until the next snowfall most years. It's about 200' of vert, and 20 minutes from the car along the lake edge. Maybe see you in September...

Posts: 114

Re: August 4, 2013, Artist Point, Ptarmigan Ridge
« Reply #2 on: 08/05/13, 08:50 AM »

Nice!  It was great to meet you two out there.  We saw what I presume were your tracks on the south-facings slopes of the ridge further towards Coleman Pinnacle, and were quite envious - they looked great!

Posts: 3383

Re: August 4, 2013, Artist Point, Ptarmigan Ridge
« Reply #3 on: 08/05/13, 11:18 AM »

Thanks for the pictures as my son is out there right now with a bunch of guys from an EC University who have been studying the North Cascade glaciers for over 30 years.

My son's a geology major and he's actually getting paid to be out there!!!!
He never took his skis ,alas.

They have been up there camping for a few days and are measuring all sort of parameters( ablation, stream run-off etc)

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Posts: 462

Re: August 4, 2013, Artist Point, Ptarmigan Ridge
« Reply #4 on: 08/07/13, 05:43 PM »

 - excellent pics; typically is a good time in the mtns. !
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