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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2014 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  June 2014 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  June 21-22, Muir/Nisqually & Pinnacle Glacier
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Author Topic: June 21-22, Muir/Nisqually & Pinnacle Glacier  (Read 2463 times)

Posts: 23

June 21-22, Muir/Nisqually & Pinnacle Glacier
« on: 06/23/14, 10:20 AM »

Another solstice and another ski trip.  The last solstice was a bit disappointing to say the least.  Road tripped to central Oregon for the Winter Solstice only to be surrounded by breakable crust, an impregnable icy layer on top of beautiful powder, the kind that makes you want to cry in frustration.  The shortest day of the year was spent hibernating in my -20 sleeping bag sandwiched in between 2 gassy ski guys in a tent.   It was a valid assumption that my Summer Solstice ski trip would be much better.

Saturday morning, 5am departure from Portland with a ski-less climbing friend.  She is climbing the Kautz soon and wanted to do a conditioning trip to Muir.  We've both gotten lazy and slow these past few months of cragging so I obliged, happy to bring my skis along and to have an easy relaxing weekend while finally getting my heart rate up. 

I was slow getting ready in the parking lot.  There were a few other skiers but mostly climbers.   As you all know, there is nothing too exciting about the skin up to Muir with hundreds of stranger although a few fuzzy marmots came out to sunbath.  I skied from the parking lot to approximately Glacier Vista where the skis stayed off until above Pan Point.    I was planning on skiing down along the climbers trail, close to climbing friend but when I ran into a different ski friend, he and I decided to check out the Nisqually Chute. My climbing friend is more than capable of taking care of herself on a good weather day at Muir, along with hundreds of strangers, so after keeping an eye on her for a bit, we departed agreeing to meet up below.

As far as I'm concerned, skiing on the Summer Solstice will always be Paradise.  Perhaps this is because I grew up skiing ice and moguls on countless bitterly cold days in the NE.  So, where others might find it boring, the Muir snowfield  and Nisqually Chutes were very very nice!  Creamy corn, smooth butter, whipped cream cheese, soft serve vanilla ice cream, it was all yummy.  I'm guessestimating that we were the third and fourth skiers down the Nisqually Chute on Saturday.  I left a few additional nice turns, the huge grin kind of turns.  We hiked up and out to the Glacier Vista.  The ski down from there was ok, a little grabby.  Dodged lots of tourist down to the parking lot and managed not to kill anyone.

Sunday, we slept in and heading up to the Tatoosh at a leisurely pace.  I've scrambled and hiked part of the Tatoosh multiple times but I was extra excited to finally ski some it.  I love the Tatoosh and I'm curious if it’s possible to comfortably ski the Tatoosh Traverse?  We parked at the Pinnacle trail head and headed up towards the saddle between the Castle and Pinnacle.  I boot packed with skis on my pack.  We spotted a large party ahead making nice steps so the ~1200ft hike went quickly.  The plan was to scramble both Castle and Pinnacle and then I’d get in a ski while my friend slogged down.  At the saddle, we decided to scramble up the Castle first because the other group was preparing to climb the SE ridge of the Pinnacle.  I left my skis at the saddle and then we headed to the South side of Castle traversing to the last gully. After scrambling up the castle, we rapped and climbed down and around, circumnavigating counter clockwise around back to my skis.  At this point, at least 25 people in one group came up the mountain to the Pinnacle saddle so we decided to head down and not bother with any potential cluster on the Pinnacle.   The ski down was nice for a few turns in the beginning but quickly became grabby and bumpy. Navigating through the trees at the bottom always keeps it exciting though.

Once again MRNP delivered for me.  I've survived the 7 month itch of TAY...June is month 9 of TAY, a record for me. 


Nisqually Chutes


Climbers on Pinnacle

South side Castle


BS misleading climbing photo (class 3-4)

Queen for the day, on top of the Castle

Unicorn with climbers approaching saddle

4 Skiers crossing below the Castle, Pinnacle Glacier

Marg Rapping

Circumnavigating Castle

More Happy Turns, from Pinnacle Saddle

My climbing partner

Wait up!

« Last Edit: 06/23/14, 10:37 AM by Kismet » Logged
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