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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2014 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  February 2014 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  Feb 7,8,9, 2014, Mission Ridge
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Author Topic: Feb 7,8,9, 2014, Mission Ridge  (Read 2115 times)

Posts: 944

Feb 7,8,9, 2014, Mission Ridge
« on: 02/10/14, 07:09 AM »

I was the guide, the guided, and the guide for three fabulous days in the areas on either side of, and below Mission Ridge.  There were some lift rides, but most of it was man powered.  On Friday I left work early and played guide for my friend Jeff Ostenson who is the producer of an upcoming movie about the history of Mission Ridge.  LIFTED  We skied one lap in the bowl above the snow-making reservoir and then toured out to my favorite pitch above Lake Clara.  Since the ski area hasn't opened the Bowl 5 terrain, it is still illegal to ski from Clara back onto the runs, so we luge ran down the trail to the car.  The skiing was spectacular with several inches of cold new snow.  There are lots of hidden rocks under that fluff, so it's really Russian Roullette if you go fast at all.

Jeff above the reservoir on Friday

9 second video

Then on Saturday, my neighbor, Doug, gave me the guided tour from his home at Forest Ridge (literally skied from his driveway) up and around to the base of Stemilt Basin.  It's a maze of dirt roads out on the plateau around Upper Wheeler Reservoir.  The same maze that Jtack and I drove on Dec 30.  One stretch doesn't show on my map, but now I know how to get back.  We were pleasantly surprised when we reached the basin to see Ben Sidor and friend making laps in the lower bowl.

Ben and David going back for more

Doug skiing his secret stash - 7sec vid

Sunday was the peach.  In-area laps in the AM with Sara and her brother (my BIL) weren't awful, and one run in Central Park was really good.  Lunch with the kids, and then with my guide hat on again, Mike W. and I skied home via the route Doug showed me on Saturday.  The skiing in Stemilt Basin is super prime and the rocks we found were obvious, so it didn't feel like the minefield above Clara.  There was new snow again on Saturday night (Ski area reported 6", I measured 2-1/2" over my tracks from day before).  This was the best run of the year for me so far.  4000 vertical feet from the top of Stemilt Basin to Squilchuck State Park.  Most of it downhill.  It may be possible to do this without skins, but we had 3 transitions.

The foggy bit

Along a flat section we were screwing around with the camera when I toe-punched a buried tree staub and went down with Mike on top of me.

No injury

and we skied right through the Squilchuck State Park sledding party to the intersection with Mission Ridge Road where Sara met us and gave us a ride back to the Ski area to retrieve vehicles. 

End of the road

We capped off the adventure with a beer in the lodge watching Olympic nordic and speed skating.  Just a perfect weekend.

Video from the Stemilt to Squilchuck run.  4000 v.f. in a minute fortytwo

Check out the slide at 00:54.  This is the slide path described by Jamie in his Dec 30 Stemilt TR. The sluff from a turn resulted in a loose snow avalanche that ran the entire slope.  There was a tree down across the bottom of the slope that slid, and we had discussed how nasty it would be to get pushed through that tree if caught in a slide, so our plan was to make turns that progressively moved us skiers left in order not to get hit by sluff.  It was a good plan.  This was at elevation 5300' I think and East facing slope.  Lower, on more moderate terrain we experienced shooting cracks in the powder surface.   I had asked one of the Ski Patrol about their AC work earlier that morning.  He told me that almost nothing went and what did stayed loose.  Their routes are at a higher elevation.  I had tried to kick off a small cornice at the top (6800') but couldn't get it to go.  There were horizontal cracks in the surface that looked like mini glacial crevasses, both on the cornice, and on the slope below it, but it wouldn't slide.  I wish I'd taken a picture of those cracks.

Posts: 933

Re: Feb 7,8,9, 2014, Mission Ridge
« Reply #1 on: 02/11/14, 11:11 AM »

Good to see you still skiing powder and still stump finding Wink My side is starting to shape up!

Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
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