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Author Topic: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak, Portly, Point 7250  (Read 10091 times)
danpeck
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May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak, Portly, Point 7250
« on: 05/25/14, 12:26 PM »

Mike Rolfs, Jtack, Moxie (Spelling mike?) and I had an incredible day crossing State Creek, leaving the crowds of the birthday tour, and finding some very playful and adventurous terrain.  Our objective was Point 7250 just east of Cutthroat peak. 

We started on the other side of the street from the Blue Lake TH around 7:30 am.  Our only real hiccup on the ascent was a bit of slabby rock we attempted to negotiate but with slipping ski boots and some moderate to high consequence terrain we opted for a longer traverse east up the far ridge and then wrapped back west into the bowl just SE of point 7250 where we beheld a marvelous slope to ski. 









The skiing off the SE slope was amazing.  Fast.  Perfect corn.  Things got sticky at about 6300 ft.  So we headed back up for more. 

This time we descended the SW face towards Cutthroat peak.  We could hear climbers shouting "Off Belay" once in a while, but could not see them.







Another excellent run and we headed up once again for a final run before things got too warm.  We decided to head out the drainage to the SW as it looked like it might be a bit less of a schwack.  Who knows.  We did indeed do some swchacking and rock/dirt skiing (mostly Mike!).

We returned to the car at about 1 pm all smiles.



More pics and some video here.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/danpeck/sets/72157644779029326/

Edit:

I wanted to document more clearly our actual route of ascent and show possible better approaches than what we took.  This is all based on my studying maps, google earth, and previous photos I had taken of the area on other trips.

Here's an image of my thinking for possible easier routes in.  Our actual path is in red (estimate).  My alternatives are in yellow.  I'm sure there other better ways. 

Descent options are pretty much legion. 



Link to full res image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/danpeck/14148447520/

Maps:

Here's an approximation of our way in.

http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYXAtaGRychULEghTYXZlZE1hcBiAgIDAramhCgw

Here's a couple of alternatives that I think might work better from the same parking lot.  It could very well be that there are better places to park and start from (like possibly the lookout parking lot depending on what you wanted to do).

http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYXAtaGRychULEghTYXZlZE1hcBiAgIDA6dS7Cgw

http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYXAtaGRychULEghTYXZlZE1hcBiAgIDA6dS7CQw

http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYXAtaGRychULEghTYXZlZE1hcBiAgIDA6cqmCgw

Here's an approximation of our exit.

http://www.hillmap.com/m/ag1zfmhpbGxtYXAtaGRychULEghTYXZlZE1hcBiAgIDAt5WiCgw
« Last Edit: 06/04/14, 05:50 PM by danpeck » Logged
mikerolfs
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #1 on: 05/25/14, 01:03 PM »

A fabulous day!  Thanks for the invitation, Dan.   Your interpretation of "30% chance of rain" was completely accurate.  Here is a bit of video from the day:

https://vimeo.com/96455699


Jamie and I counted 32 cars at the Blue Lake trailhead as we were leaving.  Another 23 at the hairpin.  It was a busy day on Madison Avenue.  Amazing that we were alone so close to the crowd.  And speaking of crowds...

Traffic Jam in Winthrop


 
Here are a few highlights from my camera:

Looking back at our tracks from the lookout pullout:


Dan giving the corniced ridge a healthy margin



just one more


Jamie and Moxie at our high point


Jamie making some big turns!
« Last Edit: 05/25/14, 07:02 PM by mikerolfs » Logged
rlsg
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #2 on: 05/25/14, 04:03 PM »

LOVELY!
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Norseman
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #3 on: 05/26/14, 12:07 AM »

Yes, excellent.
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mikerolfs
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #4 on: 05/26/14, 07:08 AM »

HA!  Dan shared this video of me eeking out just a few more turns on the exit.  Thanks Dan!
http://youtu.be/t8Fq5EutGHw
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jtack
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #5 on: 05/26/14, 11:21 AM »

It was a nice day of skiing, knowing the temperatures were going to be hot we might have started a little earlier, it was truly mush on the way out, but it was kinda satisfying to be watching the conga line make its way up the Birthday tour, and have the other side all to ourselves.  And it is of course nice to sigh your name on a peak, and be able to get down and admire your work. Nice pictures Dan/Mike













« Last Edit: 05/28/14, 03:33 PM by jtack » Logged
freeski
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #6 on: 05/27/14, 11:12 AM »

That area is called 'portly basin' and was named about 30 or so years ago in honor of a local who was a key figure in developing the Methow Valley xc trail system. I believe he also named the 'birthday tour' that his wife latter discribed in a tour book. Back in the day, i remember there was a lot of local chatter about disclosing tour locations. The concept of 'zones of discovery' took hold and many of the locals choose to check their ego's, even for first descents, and  not  reveal tour locations in favor of  allowing visitors to our local area the joy of discovery. That was the ethic when I arrived and i choose to respect those locals who were here ripping lines on pins and leather boots. I'm glad you guys 'discovered' this. I can read the joy in your TR, but get ready for the long lines the next time you want to ski the area.
« Last Edit: 05/27/14, 11:24 AM by freeski » Logged

"I'm not making love to anyones wishes, only for that light I see." Cat Stevens
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #7 on: 05/27/14, 11:47 AM »

That area is called 'portly basin' and was named about 30 or so years ago in honor of a local who was a key figure in developing the Methow Valley xc trail system. I believe he also named the 'birthday tour' that his wife latter discribed in a tour book. Back in the day, i remember there was a lot of local chatter about disclosing tour locations. The concept of 'zones of discovery' took hold and many of the locals choose to check their ego's, even for first descents, and  not  reveal tour locations in favor of  allowing visitors to our local area the joy of discovery. That was the ethic when I arrived and i choose to respect those locals who were here ripping lines on pins and leather boots. I'm glad you guys 'discovered' this. I can read the joy in your TR, but get ready for the long lines the next time you want to ski the area.

Funny... I had the same reaction when reading this TR....rather smug about avoiding the conga line on the Birthday tour but then advertising how good this area was ensuring the TAY herd will follow. At least he didn't ski it naked or bring a shotgun! Grin
I have come (over to time) to agree with you that respecting the local's ethic regarding trip reports and "discovery" is the way to go.
« Last Edit: 05/27/14, 11:51 AM by Scotsman » Logged

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chmnyboy
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #8 on: 05/27/14, 12:11 PM »


Looking back at our tracks from the lookout pullout:



Hey, take this picture down! I wanted to 'discover' that obvious slope right next to the highway for myself!

All joking aside, sweet trip! I was in the area on the rockier side of things the same day pondering how the skiing was.
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danpeck
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #9 on: 05/27/14, 12:12 PM »

Hmm.

I can understand people's feelings about keeping their local stashes secret.  That is what happened to my "secret" stashes where I grew up in the Wasatch Mountains.  Very busy these days.  At the same time, I think it is awesome that so many people are getting out to enjoy the mountains and a sport I personally love.  I love the community.

Jamie said it well when we saw all the cars, "Look at all those people having fun!"

I have dreamed of ski touring in the North Cascades since I was 13 years old.  TAY has been a great gift to me since I moved here 7 years ago.  I appreciate those who share and post their trips.  To me, it isn't about ego… it is about sharing and community, friends and common joys.  I love reading about other's experiences not just to know where to go, but also to know how to become a better outdoors person and person in general.

I have met at least 20 people over the past 7 years from TAY who I now ski with and consider true friends.  We ski in very well known places and less known places.  All of the places deliver a quality backcountry skiing for me.

A while ago there was a raging debate in these forums about the terrible mistake someone had made in posting a TR on Ruby Mtn.  People seemed concerned that the "secret" was out of the bag and that it would now become overrun with crazy backcountry skiers.  Seems to me the place is still generally secluded and quiet.  

Sure, the Birthday tour has become very popular.  It is very convenient.  It is the logical place to go for easy access.  The crowds we witnessed were due to the holiday weekend and were a mix of skiers and climbers alike.  Like Jamie said, "lots of people having fun."  And I think that was great.

I also think it was great we were somewhat alone on our side.  I think that is not so much due to less knowledge about the place… I mean it's sitting right there in plane view for all to see… but also because it looks less dramatic than skiing around Liberty Bell and Early Winter Spires.  

Sorry about the epic writing here.  But I personally believe in an ethic of community and sharing in the mountains.  Just me.  I have deep appreciation for those who have gone before and have opened up the way for me to explore and find adventure.  Just to name a few:  Lowell Skoog and brothers, Jason Hummel, Kyle Miller, Silas, Amar, Ski Sickness crowd, Hedonaut and friends, John Plotz, Telemack, Gary Holmquist, Tyler Reid, Forest McBrian, Martin Volken, …  and many others.

The mountains are big and there is room enough for all.  I feel that as we share we take better care and feel more connected as stewards of the mountains.   Grin
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freeski
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #10 on: 05/27/14, 12:55 PM »

Dan,wasn't Amars' Ruby thread discussion about a PM sent to him by Lowell asking him not to crap on the locals after following their skin tracks? Sure those lines are in plan sight, but then again, most lines are that are easy pickings and yet many are hardly ever skied. Your TR made it a topic to point out the masses across the road and it sounded like you enjoyed your 'discovery' . I'm not concerned about protecting secrete areas. That commonly used argument is lame and has no basis in fact.  The proof is the fact that I and many other locals take  visitors, and those new to our area, on tours where we 'discover' together. Respect is a big part of community. 
« Last Edit: 05/27/14, 01:23 PM by freeski » Logged

"I'm not making love to anyones wishes, only for that light I see." Cat Stevens
danpeck
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #11 on: 05/27/14, 01:58 PM »

Dan,wasn't Amars' Ruby thread discussion about a PM sent to him by Lowell asking him not to crap on the locals after following their skin tracks? Sure those lines are in plan sight, but then again, most lines are that are easy pickings and yet many are hardly ever skied. Your TR made it a topic to point out the masses across the road and it sounded like you enjoyed your 'discovery' . I'm not concerned about protecting secrete areas. That commonly used argument is lame and has no basis in fact.  The proof is the fact that I and many other locals take  visitors, and those new to our area, on tours where we 'discover' together. Respect is a big part of community. 

I don't remember the specifics of the conversation Amar started.  But I remember that Lowell and perhaps others may have sent him a PM encouraging him to either remove the post or to use restraint in the future when posting because locals wanted to keep such treasures secret.

Amar made the case that he didn't mind sharing as he benefited from what others had shared himself. 

I'm rereading my original post and for us it was a first time and so a discovery.  I don't think I conveyed a tone of smugness… just that we were going in a direction less people were headed.  We were amazed as Mike pointed out when we returned to find a lot of cars… and yet *no one* where we had gone.   That is what amazed us.  We were all alone where we were… we wondered why people didn't cross the road.  But we all shared Jamie's sentiment that it was a good thing for so many people to be out having fun.

Thanks for being respectful.

And to scotsman… I'm honored to have you post on one of my TR's.  I enjoy what you often say and find it to the point  Grin
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danpeck
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #12 on: 05/27/14, 02:11 PM »

I guess my final point is that I would be surprised if my little TR resulted in lines of people up in this area.  We'll see eh?  If it does you might just see less TR's from me  Wink
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bcskibdy
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #13 on: 05/27/14, 10:25 PM »

We were two of the multitude on the Birthday tour. Kind of surprised there isn't a report on it already. (BTW birthday suit skiing is still fun at 70.)  It was little disorienting to have that many folks and no lifts in sght.  Still, everyone was pleasant and respectful, as were their dogs, and since we'd already had an early am exploratory tromp back near Easy Pass that yielded zip in terms of turns, we were happy to be there. And there were lines to be had in the Madison Ave (?) area, though the drop in off the col back to the Hwy was like skiing moguls off 7th Heaven.  Less un-churned on that side.  Snow got soft and there was avy debris to navigate on the hwy side, but it was easy going and a helluva nice way to spend the day.

We noticed your vehicles and made a mental note of it, so your TR only confirmed what we were thinking for another day.   Great pics.
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LangleyBackcountry
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Re: May 24, 2014, Cutthroat Peak Environs, Point 7250
« Reply #14 on: 05/29/14, 11:23 AM »

Seems to me that if you chose to participate in a community of skiers such as TAY, and you read, post, and comment here, that it is contradictory to suggest what trip information someone else shouldn't share. The whole point here is to share experiences.

If there is a "local ethic" about sharing information, that is fine for the locals. But unless you are part of that local community there is no way to know if such a prevailing ethic exists. The local may choose to keep a discovery to him/herself, which is perfectly fine - they have no obligation to share - but they also have no authority to prevent others from making the same discovery and sharing it. In some cases spreading the impact may benefit everyone.
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Mark Langley
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Langley Backcountry Consulting
langleybackcountry.com
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