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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  October 2013 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  Oct 3 - 2013 - Chinook Pass
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Author Topic: Oct 3 - 2013 - Chinook Pass  (Read 2554 times)

Posts: 146

Oct 3 - 2013 - Chinook Pass
« on: 10/03/13, 08:20 PM »

With most other potential locations closed, Chinook pass was the destination for many skiers and boarders. With sun forecasted and the national park closure/federal government fiasco it seemed like all parties decided Chinook was the place to be.

Nathan and I arrived in the parking lot below Yakima peak at 8:00 am. Temperature was below freezing. Skins and skis went on directly in the parking lot with good snow coverage of 1.5 - 2 feet of snow with more in areas of drifts and less in others. We skinned up to the saddle and traversed around the north side of Yakima finding the north facing mini-couloir that took us to the summit.

Patchy skies cleared quickly to bright blue sky with beautiful views of Rainer. We chatted with another party of two on the summit of Yakima peak before dropping back down into the couloir we climbed. Thick, soft snow made for interesting turns down the short couloir. Once into the basin proper the snow was smooth with a dust on crust layer that allowed for great turns down north facing slopes all the way to the mini lake at the bottom of the basin. Boulders were snow-covered but visible and easily negotiated. Coverage was great. No hidden nasties encountered at all. Another lap from the base of the couloir was just as good as the first. Skiing back down to the parking lot was rather thick, with the sun starting to bake NE facing slope.

After taking a short food break at the car we decided to head out to ski the north side of Naches peak. We skinned out the PCT, getting a little off the trail proper and coming out high up at the base of the north facing slope of Naches. Snow on this mostly north facing aspect was still shaded and skied great! We skied all the way out to the road.

Good skiing! Unfortunately this shenanigan:

Turned into this:

Oh well!

There were approximately 20-25 people out today and about as many snowboarders (some split, some hiking) as skiers. Nice to meet Polly, Jamie (jtack), and crew in the parking lot.

An interesting note: there was a park ranger who drove through the parking lot telling people that MRNP is officially closed and to not travel across the boundary into the park. There was some confusion from this (some worried about getting ticketed) but all in all it stopped no one from accessing any desirable ski terrain. It seemed to be more like a park ranger just doing his job then trying to enforce the closure…

Posts: 910

Re: Oct 3 - 2013 - Chinook Pass
« Reply #1 on: 10/04/13, 06:49 AM »

Nice to meet you guys in the parking lot.  What a fun day!  I enjoyed your head-over sequence.  I had two of those in my first 4 turns.  Seemed like if I penetrated very deep, I got grabbed by the crunch deeper layer.

Posts: 133

Re: Oct 3 - 2013 - Chinook Pass
« Reply #2 on: 10/04/13, 09:49 AM »

Nice photos and TR.

Went yesterday to Chinook with my buddy Eric and we made it to Sourdough Gap and harvested our turns on several laps of mixed-bag snow, varying from baked mush to semi-packed powder with some pinwheeled snowballs thrown in for good measure. It all got a bit harder on the north-facing slopes as the sun came down while the south-facing slopes were still heavy mank.

Fantastic day in the backcountry, though, especially for beginning of October.

I enjoyed your head-over sequence.  I had two of those...
Add me to the counter for head-overs... also sank deep into the heavy goods and walked right out of my bindings ;-) Call it camera pressure or just plain silly but hey, no way something like this could spoil the blue bird day with turns we had yesterday.

Posts: 133

Re: Oct 3 - 2013 - Chinook Pass
« Reply #3 on: 10/04/13, 09:57 AM »

Also, the approach to Sourdough Pass was melting out fast yesterday so we had to carry over a few times on the way back to the car. Otherwise, decent coverage, especially on the N slopes - got out with only 2 not very deep scratches that may need some P-tex work.

Couple photos:

Sourdough Gap:

Bowl above Placer Lake and Morse Creek:

View from Sourdough Gap toward Chinook Pass (Sheep Lake down below):

Posts: 67

Re: Oct 3 - 2013 - Chinook Pass
« Reply #4 on: 10/04/13, 11:28 AM »

Nice meeting you two on the summit of Yakima yesterday. Glad you guys enjoyed the day too! Nice TR.

Posts: 699

Re: Oct 3 - 2013 - Chinook Pass
« Reply #5 on: 10/04/13, 02:00 PM »

Great trip report, nice to meet you guys, we were enthused enough to go try Naches Peak, we made our way about 3/4 of the way up, and hacked our way down. By the time we made our run, the snow was quite warm, and made for tough skiing, but we still had a ton of fun. Hope to see you up Wenatchee way.
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