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| | |-+  April 12-13, Alpine Lakes, Chikamin Peak SW Chutes
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Author Topic: April 12-13, Alpine Lakes, Chikamin Peak SW Chutes  (Read 3131 times)
IanB
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April 12-13, Alpine Lakes, Chikamin Peak SW Chutes
« on: 04/17/14, 05:50 PM »

On Saturday, set out with Matt Henry and Dylan Currie to ski the SW chutes of Chikamin with an overnight at Joe Lake. Left the Gold Creek Sno-park and skinned up and over Kendall, "skiing" / sideslipping the crusted mank that was the Kendall chutes before they received any sun on saturday. From there we traversed NE to the ridge overlooking Alaska Lake, noting the very rapid transition from large chunks of frozen debris to progressively wetter snow as we moved onto SE aspects. Dylan had been feeling a little sick all day and was starting to worry that staying the night might not be the best idea. So after skiing the shoulder SE of Alaska lake down to the lake, we continued down into the Gold creek drainage where we parted ways. He headed back out through the drainage, remaining in radio contact, while Matt and I headed up and around the SE flank of Alaska to Joe Lake where we set up camp. This whole trip from car to camp took us about 9 hours, moving at a moderate pace.

In the morning, we left camp around 6:30 planning on a 3.5-4 hour climb to the summit. Ideal climbing conditions undoubtedly contributed to the speed of our actual ascent, which took about 2.5 hours. Gaining the Chikamin Ridge from the Huckleberry-Chikamin saddle, via the couloir on far climbers left, required a bit of front pointing w/ whippet & axe, but nothing too technical (luckily for me, the less experienced of our duo). Arriving at the peak at 9, we were happy to find no dangerous cornice preventing us from transitioning to skis and relaxing on the true summit. Since our objective had not yet softened due to the early timeframe, we spent a good amount of time enjoying the incredible views and then elected to ski the NE aspect down to Glacier Lake, which had already started to receive sun. This was a great decision and gave us some of the best skiing of the day. Icy descending the summit pyramid for a dozen turns or so, but then a couple inches of corn down to a cliff band immediately above Glacier. We transitioned and skinned back up to the Chikamin ridge, just below the summit pyramid. Though it was still pretty firm up top, it was clearly time to start our way down as the sunshine and high temps were undoubtedly significantly baking the snow lower down. At the top of the several couloirs halfway down the face I ventured toward the mouth of one and yelled back to Matt, "yeah this one will go." Upon further inspection, I revised my comment to, "well, it chokes off a bit down below", and then, "actually it chokes off a lot..." At this point we were committed to this descent, which ended up being more sideslipping through a frozen wet-loose slidepath than skiing as the chute narrowed to under a couple skis width for a brief period. Sorry Matt! (This was the couloir 2nd to the right (climber's right) in the photos.) After making it through this experience, we began the hunt for non-debris laden pockets as we descended the lower half of the mountain. We worked our way from pocket to pocket, trying to avoid more chunk-filled couloirs, and at one point found ourselves at the top of a little 10-foot rock ledge that we had to downclimb. All in all, not the smoothest skiing I've ever experienced but definitely challenging and rewarding.

From the meadow at the bottom of Chikamin we skinned back up to our camp at the lake, grabbed our gear, and then contoured around the E and SE flanks of Alaska, trying to gain as much ground as possible before dropping down to the Gold Creek drainage. This involved ski cutting some very wet SE-facing slopes, which as expected produced many small wet-loose slides but nothing unmanageable. After dropping down to the Gold Creek drainage we began the long, slow skin out, which took us another 4 hours or so. On the way, we met up with Stefan, who had been out for a day tour on Saturday but ended up on the wrong side of some big S-facing slopes on Sat. afternoon and had elected to bivvy and ski out sunday. Meeting up with him definitely helped pass the time a bit during the final slog. We emerged at the start of the Gold Creek XC trails / summer road around 7:30 and headed home. Was a great weekend to be in a close-by but remarkably remote-feeling place like the Gold Creek drainage. Great trip and only wish that Dylan wouldn't have come down with that bug. Sorry Dylan!


* 2014-04-13_12.44.38.jpg (101.29 KB, 800x600 - viewed 934 times.)

* 2014-04-13_08.39.39.jpg (73.28 KB, 800x600 - viewed 936 times.)

* 2014-04-13_11.59.59.jpg (97.09 KB, 600x800 - viewed 955 times.)
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Bird Dog
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Posts: 89


Re: April 12-13, Alpine Lakes, Chikamin Peak SW Chutes
« Reply #1 on: 04/18/14, 07:42 AM »

Nice job of route choice and taking advantage of the weather window. I love that area.
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cumulus
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Posts: 431


Re: April 12-13, Alpine Lakes, Chikamin Peak SW Chutes
« Reply #2 on: 04/18/14, 06:13 PM »

and then elected to ski the NE aspect down to Glacier Lake, which had already started to receive sun.
did you mean the SE aspect Ian?

way to get the chik!

Great running into you both for the shuffle down Gold!  And thanks again for the lift up the pass.
Back at  the car a beer two hard boiled eggs w/ chips fueled me for a few more hours before I crashed...


* 140413_gold.jpg (200.83 KB, 720x540 - viewed 577 times.)
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Stefan
JasonGriffith
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Posts: 39


Re: April 12-13, Alpine Lakes, Chikamin Peak SW Chutes
« Reply #3 on: 04/19/14, 11:16 AM »

relaxing on the true summit..... Icy descending the summit pyramid for a dozen turns or so, but then a couple inches of corn down to a cliff band immediately above Glacier.

I was up there last summer and was curious about if you could ski from the tippy top.  So you are talking about skiing from the top of the rocky point in the near background of your second photo?
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IanB
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Posts: 29


Re: April 12-13, Alpine Lakes, Chikamin Peak SW Chutes
« Reply #4 on: 04/19/14, 11:20 AM »

Yup! SE aspect my bad. Great running into you too!

Jason - yeah we skied the far side (in that picture) of that summit pyramid
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