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| | |-+  April 20, 2014. Unicorn and Tatoosh Day Tour
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Author Topic: April 20, 2014. Unicorn and Tatoosh Day Tour  (Read 2094 times)

Posts: 73

April 20, 2014. Unicorn and Tatoosh Day Tour
« on: 04/23/14, 08:36 PM »

Got on the snow at about 9:15am, and booted it up out of Narada Falls parking lot to find that DoT/FS had started snow removal work on the Stevens Canyon road, which made for an interesting dismount over the snowbank. Headed up from Reflection Lake to the Castle. There had been about 8" of new the previous night and indications of wind, so we proceeded with an eye for assessment.

It was light-and-fast (and tall) meets not-so-light-and-fast (and short). But I needed the training and motivation, the last couple of outings having been solo missions.

Got to the ridge adjacent to the saddle and had a look over towards Unicorn. I was a little cautious as there was the new snow and a bit of wind. The main couloir seemed like it might have been side-loaded, and I was a little worried about the prospect of dropping into Unicorn Glacier to access the couloir. We decided to assess more as we got there and traversed the windward side of pk 6524, then accessed the ridge. Looking into the bowl, things looked fairly save with not a lot to indicate consolidated slabs, and it was just small point releases off the natural cornice breaks.

We decided we would drop into the bowl, access the tree island/convexity, then dig a pit below the large block below and looker's right of the couloir. No sign of instability once we dropped into the bowl, and doing an isolated column test and rutschblock made me feel very good about the situation. Something like several good jumps caused a failure at what we thought would be the interface between old snow and new. Old snow did not seem to have gone through the freeze/thaw cycles in the N facing aspect. So- up the couloir we went! Accessed the summit, got a nice view extending from Adams to Rainier.

Then the payoff! Nice cuttable windpack down into the bowl. Not being familiar with what was below Unicorn Glacier, and looking like a bit of a trapped gulley, we opted to head back towards Castle, with a run down further into the drainage S of Castle. Then back up to the saddle. We actually accessed the ridge just east of the little knob and decided to drop into the drainage towards Louise Lake - glad we did! Nice creamy turns, solid snow through the steeps, and fortunately found a low point of the now-vertical snowbank onto the road (some spots were 20' high).

This was my first season being able to access Rainier on day trips, and have now been to the Tatoosh 3x. Each time it's afforded a really exceptional experience (although only 2x with the glorious views of Rainier). Hopefully next time will be a traverse, although I'd be interested to try to head out to Peak 6050 above Tatoosh Lakes. Looks like some brilliant snow fields there.

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« Last Edit: 04/23/14, 08:46 PM by dub_xion » Logged

Posts: 561

Re: April 20, 2014. Unicorn and Tatoosh Day Tour
« Reply #1 on: 04/26/14, 10:18 AM »

sweet--THANKS FOR THE TR- gotta check it out sometime...
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