telemark skiingbackcountry skiingPacific NorthwestWashington and Oregonweather linksThe Yuki AwardsMt. Rainier and Mt. Adams
Turns All Year
www.turns-all-year.com
  Help | Search | Login | Register
Turns All Year Trip Reports
Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
11/20/17, 03:08 PM

Become a TAY Sponsor!
 
Trip Reports Sponsor
Marmot Mountain Works
Marmot Mountain Works
Turns All Year Trip Reports
(1) Viewing these pages constitutes your acceptance of the Terms of Use.
(2) Disclaimer: the accuracy of information here is unknown, use at your own risk.
(3) Trip Report monthly boards: only actual trip report starts a new thread.
(4) Keep it civil and constructive - that is the norm here.
 
FOAC Snow
Info Exchange


NWAC Avalanche
Forecast
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2014 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  April 2014 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
:
« previous next »
Pages: [1] | Go Down Print
Author Topic: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt  (Read 11556 times)
mikerolfs
Member
Offline

Posts: 796


WWW
April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« on: 04/12/14, 10:46 PM »

On Thursday, 4-10, I set off for a fun "round the range" solo adventure that was to ascend colchuck gl to colchuck col, ski porcupine creek to Ingalls Creek, ascend Ingalls Crk to Stuart Pass, to Goat Pass and then ski to Horseshoe lake and on down to Stuart Lake to complete the loop.    Here is the extent of my plan:

The plan, a reasonable loop.


I expected this to take one night, but I told my wife it might take two, so don't worry until Saturday evening.  I arrived at the Bridge Creek campground at noon to find the gate closed and the road dry nearly to 8-mile campground.  There was one other truck in the parking area, and a USFS vehicle was opening the gate.  "Can I follow you in?"  "No, the road is closed."  Bummer.  This adds 4 miles to the approach.  It's a decent walk in though, with views of Cannon Mountain Couloir from the road, and of Colchuck Col from the trail.

Colchuck Col from the trail


It was very warm, and my skins were wet immediately.  I made it to the terminal morain on the Colchuck Glacier before they gave out on me.  It was an okay place to fail since by now the sun was gone and the surface was perfect for crampons.  Some nice views from up high on Colchuck Glacier:

Mt. Cashmere


Frozen Lake Cochuck


Late evening light over Mt. Rainier from the Col
this is taken with a feature called HDR on my camera.  I like the effect.


On Friday morning I skied down the south facing Porcupine Creek to Ingalls Creek.  The snow surface was firm, but there was plenty of evidence of wet loose slides from yesterday.

Slide Debris


More Slide Debris


and more slide debris:



Broken trees from previous avalanche


Today was supposed to be warm again and I was immediately aware that there could be some timing issues with my plan.  There would be no afternoon retreat up Porcupine Creek.  I might end up stranded somewhere waiting out the afternoon avalanche cycle. Ug. This was predictable, but not by me.  About 2 miles up Ingalls Creek I saw fresh bear tracks and then the skin fell off my left ski.

Bear tracks


On foot from here.  Skins on the drying rack.


It was only 11:30AM and I was post-holing up Ingalls Creek.  It's now definitely too late to retreat back to Colchuck Col, the south facing hill is getting cooked, I don't have skins, post-holing would be a nightmare, and the warm snow avalnaches are proabably just getting going.   I decided to continue on skis (without skins) on up Ingalls Creek.  This turned out easier traveling than post-holing. 

(Consider that for a second;  Sidestepping versus post-holing)

For anyone thinking of skiing Stuart via Long's Pass, here is the current cornice condition:


The crux of this loop would be rounding the west to north side of Mt. Stuart.  I've done this before in the summer, but never with a full snow pack.  I had two concerns.  1. Would there be show-stopping cornices at Stuart Pass or Goat Pass?  2. Would the ski to Stuart Lake be obvious?

I was okay with a "no" answer to either problem, because if so, I could reverse the route down Ingalls Creek this afternoon, and in the morning when the snow was firm, climb back up Porcupine Creek to Colchuck Glacier and out by Saturday afternoon.  Here is the crux area from near Stuart Pass; The rock on the right is the west ridge of Stuart and the low point on the left horizon is Goat Pass.

Stuart Pass to Goat Pass
can you see the snowmobile tracks?


By the time I got to this location it was 2:45PM and the west facing snow slope that I wanted to cross was in full sun.  The post-holing I had recently returned to was thigh deep.  The broken trees and debris piles were still on my mind, and I knew that I did not want to cross that slope this afternoon.

I wanted so badly to wait for morning and then go, but if I did that and then ran into cornices or no good ski path, I was going to be a day late in return.  I think panicking my wife may affect all future ski trips for me, so that risk was not worth taking.  The choices I saw for getting back to my truck by Saturday were; 1. ski down Ingalls, wait for morning, return via Colchuck, or 2. Ski down Jack Creek to Icicle Road.  The earlier bear tracks pushed me to the Jack Creek option.

Here is the loop I ended up doing;  The blue part is the road walk beyond the closed gate, and the white part is how far it is from Stuart Pass to the car via Jack Creek. 

How it turned out:


Here's a funny thing;  A guy tromping down the bone dry road in his ski boots, with no nearby snow, and with skis on his pack, shouldn't that raise some curiosity?  "Whats with the boots?" "Where you been skiing?" "You some kind of lunatic?"  It was as if I was invisible.

So the trip feels like a failure to me since I didn't complete my intended travel plan, but I feel pretty good about my decision not to cross the sketchy slope in the afternoon heat.  My wife is happy to hear how responsible I am, and my Dad says no experience is a waste.  I'm a little bit humbled by the doomed logistics.  With a little more thought a smarter guy would have visualized the aspects and the time of day and known that the timing wasn't going to work out.  Ah well. 

The exit road:
« Last Edit: 04/14/14, 06:29 AM by mikerolfs » Logged
mikerolfs
Member
Offline

Posts: 796


WWW
Re: April 10-13, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #1 on: 04/12/14, 10:52 PM »

Oh yeah, I meant to work this in to my report, but missed it:

Snow bike tracks from Wednesday


I saw this and several snowmobile highmark tracks on the Jack Creek side of Stuart Pass well within the wilderness boundary.
Logged
T. Eastman
Member
Offline

Posts: 439


Re: April 10-13, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #2 on: 04/12/14, 11:10 PM »

Meet nature's needs not some stupid goal...

... looks like a fine trip!
Logged
aaron_wright
Member
Offline

Posts: 573


Re: April 10-13, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #3 on: 04/13/14, 07:55 AM »

I'm proud of you Mike, I know it was hard not to follow your original plan.
Logged
jwplotz
Member
Offline

Posts: 418


Re: April 10-13, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #4 on: 04/13/14, 08:13 AM »

Excellent trip Mike!  So, you essentially walked from Grindstone Mtn. to Bridge Creek Campground?!  Isn't that approaching 10 miles?  Wow...

Adam Vognild and I did a similar trip a few years ago, but went up Sherpa Glacier and around from there.  Skiing down the Cascadian probably saved us a bunch of time, especially as we contoured West towards Stuart Pass as we descended.

Thanks for posting your adventure!
Logged
jwplotz
Member
Offline

Posts: 418


Re: April 10-13, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #5 on: 04/13/14, 08:22 AM »

I forgot to add the 4 miles of approach road!   So you walked a total of 14 miles dry rd. on this tour.  You're crazy obsessed Mike!
Logged
kevino
Member
Offline

Posts: 173


Re: April 10-13, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #6 on: 04/13/14, 01:49 PM »

Looks like a fine outing. If you ever need a partner for a similar type trip in the coming weekends I'd be happy to join you.
Logged
Jake the Brit
Member
Offline

Posts: 339


Re: April 10-13, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #7 on: 04/13/14, 10:02 PM »

That's an insane trip - you should have a medal for being so insane.
Rock on.
Logged
davidG
Member
Offline

Posts: 923


Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #8 on: 04/14/14, 07:00 AM »

nice.  bear tracks and awesome cornices add a great touch to any spring tour.   pattern base skis are a fine asset when conditions get sloppy.
Logged

"Maybe we should ban hikers from anywhere that there is a potential threat to surface water?"   [courtesy Newtrout, 2011]

"Good for you for getting it and thank goodness I wasn't there with you."  [courtesy mikerolfs, 2014]
jtack
Member
Offline

Posts: 665


Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #9 on: 04/14/14, 07:22 AM »

Side stepping or post holing, I hope you have that out of your system, but I fear you may not!  Nice evening picture too, and of course 15 miles of ski boot walking, what could be better than that!  Insanely over zealous!
Logged
z-bo
5Member
Offline

Posts: 42


Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #10 on: 04/14/14, 08:15 AM »

bad ass effort.  athletic tape would have saved you from post holing. 
Logged
Good2Go
Member
Offline

Posts: 261


Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #11 on: 04/14/14, 10:58 AM »

Outstanding! I've always wanted to ski Porcupine Creek.  Do you have any more pics of that descent?  If so, please post em.

We skied Ulrichs Couloir on Saturday didn't see any snomo tracks anywhere in the wilderness.  Very disappointing to hear about your findings up Jack Creek.  Few bad apples. . .

BTW - Stuart was literally mobbed this weekend!  We encountered a solo sled-access day tripper at the snow line on the road (currently 1 mile in), 2 guys heading out on skis from the end of the road (planning to ski Stu and then ski 10+ miles back to their truck on Sun), 2 guys near the false summit, who skied down from there, and a party of 6+ camped out at Longs Pass (planning to ski Stu on Sun).  We also encountered a party of 2 on the summit, who were climbing Stuart Glacier Couloir c-to-c.  Stuart is the new Chamonix.   
Logged
avajane
Member
Offline

Posts: 747


Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #12 on: 04/14/14, 11:38 AM »

I've met all the Ingalls Creek Bears and they are friendly. I'm not so sure about the Cougars, and  I know they are about now. Next time you could go down Ingalls to my cabin at Valley High. Good news your ski boots are all broke in for walking! I want to bust in to the Enchantments via Crystal Creek some time. Sounds right up your alley.  I like the way you didn't complain! "If you're not good at planning - it's good to be tough." bai
Logged

Brian Izdepski, Facebook TAY
JPH
Member
Offline

Posts: 305


Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #13 on: 04/14/14, 02:36 PM »

the snow line on the road (currently 1 mile in),

1 mile in from where?
Logged
kerwinl
5Member
Offline

Posts: 27


Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #14 on: 04/14/14, 04:51 PM »

1 mile in from end of pavement.
Logged
shred
Member
Offline

Posts: 336


WWW
Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #15 on: 04/15/14, 07:09 AM »

"Like". Dig the ambition!
Logged
ryanl
Member
Offline

Posts: 352


Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #16 on: 04/15/14, 08:06 AM »

Great trip! Must have been pretty neat to see those bear tracks.

One suggestion for the skins issue would be to pack a few Voile straps. They're light, and 2 per ski will keep the skins on for most terrain.
Logged
T. Eastman
Member
Offline

Posts: 439


Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #17 on: 04/15/14, 08:21 AM »

Pack some klistah!
Logged
Sol Wertkin
5Member
Offline

Posts: 19


Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #18 on: 04/15/14, 08:40 AM »

I find athletic tape to give the best glide for keeping uncooperative skins on.
Logged
danpeck
Member
Offline

Posts: 504


Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #19 on: 04/16/14, 02:47 PM »

I find athletic tape to give the best glide for keeping uncooperative skins on.

Also ski straps have saved my skins.  One mid ski up front, and one mid ski in back seems to hold 'em on nicely.

Mike… I *really* wish I could have joined you.   Missed out on a good one.  Keep inviting me!
Logged
LangleyBackcountry
5Member
Offline

Posts: 45


WWW
Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #20 on: 04/17/14, 09:53 AM »

Someone once gave me a button that said, "Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want." Your dad was right.  Smiley  It was not a failure because you now have experience with timing you can apply to future trips, and you learned the value of carrying some duct tape (or athletic tape).

You should feel really good about making decisions based on the situation at hand, and not getting blinded by your goal, which has certainly killed many an adventurer. You lived, and retained credibility with your wife to try again.

BTW: Unless the goal is to be as adventurous as possible, you could always call the ranger district to find out what roads are open.
Logged

Mark Langley
Cascade Backcountry Ski Patrol
Langley Backcountry Consulting
langleybackcountry.com
LangleyBackcountry
5Member
Offline

Posts: 45


WWW
Re: April 10-12, Stuart range circumnavigation attempt
« Reply #21 on: 04/17/14, 09:54 AM »

Pack some klistah!

 Grin
Logged

Mark Langley
Cascade Backcountry Ski Patrol
Langley Backcountry Consulting
langleybackcountry.com
Pages: [1] | Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Login with username, password and session length

Thank you to our sponsors!
click to visit our sponsor: Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
click to visit our sponsor: Marmot Mountain Works
Marmot Mountain Works
click to visit our sponsor: Second Ascent
Second Ascent
click to visit our sponsor: American Alpine Institute
American Alpine Institute
click to visit our sponsor: Pro Guiding Service
Pro Guiding Service
Contact turns-all-year.com

Turns All Year Trip Reports ©2001-2010 Turns All Year LLC. All Rights Reserved

The opinions expressed in posts are those of the poster and do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of Trip Reports administrators or Turns All Year LLC


Turns All Year Trip Reports | Powered by SMF 1.0.6.
© 2001-2005, Lewis Media. All Rights Reserved.