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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2014 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  June 2014 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  June 2, 2014, Mt. Shuksan Sulphide Play Day
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Author Topic: June 2, 2014, Mt. Shuksan Sulphide Play Day  (Read 4278 times)
Susan Ashlock

Posts: 50

June 2, 2014, Mt. Shuksan Sulphide Play Day
« on: 06/05/14, 08:07 AM »

Carla asked if I could take Monday off to do some skiing on Shuksan.  She didn't have to twist my arm very hard!

There were two other cars at the trailhead (2600'), but by about 6000' we'd seen both parties descending (on foot).  We had the entire mountain to ourselves!  We didn't see anyone after that until we were nearly back at the cars.

By 7:15 a.m. we were on our way (we had left Bellingham at 5:15 a.m.).  The trailhead is at 2600' and patches of snow started around 3000'; by 4000' it was consistent.  We put on skis and skins when we got to the start of the ridge at 4600'.

The snow was a bit firm and steep just below the col at 5400', but fine without ski crampons.  The view of the steepish slope that we needed to traverse after leaving the col gave me pause.  It looked really steep!  I threw on ski crampons, though they really weren't necessary, and a pre-existing skin track made things easier.  The soft snow was well-enough behaved for our traverse.

We continued onward and upward, doing some heavy snacking at 6400' before continuing up to the base of the summit pyramid.  The views of Jagged Ridge and Mt. Baker did not disappoint.  The views of the summit and the sea of white below lured us on.  The summit itself looked steep enough to be impossible to climb.

Around 12:30 we made it to the base of the summit pyramid: 8400'.  I have to admit that getting there was a bit anitclimactic.  Clouds had started to roll in; enough to obscure views.  And we hadn't brought equipment (ice axe, rope, etc.) to go to the summit, since we figured we wouldn't have the time or energy to do so.  But it was still a wonderful day in a beautiful place.

As clouds near us started to get taller and closer, they helped motivate us to start moving from our lunching high-point.  Around 1:15 we started down; at about 2:30 we were taking our skis off at 4000'.  At 3:30 we were back at the car, trying to figure out what to do with ourselves and the rest of the day.  Enjoying the other awesome thing about June - the lack of mosquitoes - we lingered for about an hour at the trailhead, drinking our beer and ginger ale, doing some reading, even making a cell phone call.  (Yes, there was cell reception at the trailhead!)

What a fun day!

If I did it again (with the same conditions), I'd bring an ice axe and posible a rope + pickets for the summit.  And perhaps start a bit earlier to get more corn and less shmoo on the descent.  On the other hand, the conditions were good and efficient on the way up, so I'm not complaining!

* Carla_skis_below_the_summit_resize.jpg (192.16 KB, 640x480 - viewed 1106 times.)
Jim Oker

Posts: 1594

Re: June 2, 2014, Mt. Shuksan Sulphide Play Day
« Reply #1 on: 06/05/14, 02:26 PM »

Nice day! Haven't been there for more than a decade...

Another option instead of climbing the snow gulley is the right skyline of rock. One of my ski partners would happily solo it  while I napped at my high point on a few outings, but my wife and I climbed it with him on belay on one trip (two ropes, three climbers style) but as we were almost to the top on the last pitch I spotted a pretty nasty looking thunderhead coming our way so we bailed and good thing too as soon enough we were cowering by the top of the route from/to the White Salmon letting a pretty nasty squall pass over. Fortunately none of the lightning bolts got us! But at any rate, that rocky ridge was fun easy climbing (I think I'd have been fine going up w/o rope but was more than happy to have the rope for going down!) with most excellent views!

Posts: 32

Re: June 2, 2014, Mt. Shuksan Sulphide Play Day
« Reply #2 on: 06/06/14, 11:46 AM »

Hehe, thanks for the phone call  Smiley

Great skiing with you and Carla last weekend, Ruth was a lot of fun!

I'll get to Shuksan one of these days...

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