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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2015 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  January 2015 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  January 29-30, 2015, MRNP, Fuhrer Finger
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Author Topic: January 29-30, 2015, MRNP, Fuhrer Finger  (Read 4019 times)
Rowan Stewart

Posts: 111

January 29-30, 2015, MRNP, Fuhrer Finger
« on: 02/01/15, 03:16 PM »

Conrad, Tom and I rode the fuhrer finger in excellent corn conditions on friday the 30th.
I agreed to meet the other two in ashford at 8. In my head I saw us making camp by early afternoon and maybe doing a lap on the turtle. That was not to be. We didn't leave ashford until after nine, then had backtracked 20 minutes once I realized I left my sunglasses in my car, killed more time getting our permits at the ranger station, and after organizing and packing all of our overnight and mountaineering gear into undersized ski packs, started slowly skinning under the hot sun sometime well after noon.

We roped up while crossing the broken lower nisqually, then unroped to climb the firm east facing slopes of the wilson glacier to gain the ridge on its western border.

The sun set while we were still climbing, and we reached camped an hour later with crampons and headlamps, and a little help from the moon.

After I retrieved my water bottle from a deep mote between snow and rock, we got the tent pitched and made dinner. We talked about goals for the next day, and decided against trying for the summit, given the probably terrible skiing conditions on the upper mountain, and potentially tricky glacier travel on the upper nisqually glacier. The alarm was set for 630.

After making breafast and enough water for the day, we left camp with light packs, and crossed the wilson glacier roped up and wearing crampons.  Once onto the fan of the finger we stowed the rope, turned our attention towards falling debris, and continued climbing on firm but not icy snow.

Bits of rime ice were falling almost constantly, but mostly small and hamless. The occasional softball sized rock or ice chunk would go humming by though, and kept us on guard. We climbed quickly, and took a couple of breaks in the most protected spots we could find. Our high point was just above where the finger and thumb join.

The thumb falls away skiers right here, and the finger to the left. Around 11600 we found a rock ledge to transition under. It offered some protection from above, but not a lot, so we drank the last of our water carefully switched over to ski mode.

It was 1130 by the time we ready to drop in, and the snow was a still a little firm for my taste, but Conrad skied down a ways making confident turns.

The snow here hadn't softened much, but the steeper more south facing slopes in the finger itself had softened to perfect corn.
Great edge hold, a smooth surface, and no sluff concerns made for a great descent. we regrouped in a safe zone below the choke, then rode down the apron, across the wilson, and back to camp.

I had been wanting to ride this line for a while, and am stoked to have scored such nice conditions, and in January too! We packed up camp and stayed west of the wilson glacier for our descent, finding good corn on the steeper slopes, and eventually riding the wilson gulley down to the nisqually.

We were back to the parking lot by 230.

here is a short Video with some clips from the descent.


Walking makes the world much bigger, and thus more interesting.
-Edward Abbey

Posts: 230

Re: January 29-30, 2015, MRNP, Fuhrer Finger
« Reply #1 on: 02/01/15, 03:28 PM »

Andrew Carey

Posts: 1418

Re: January 29-30, 2015, MRNP, Fuhrer Finger
« Reply #2 on: 02/01/15, 04:54 PM »

Great photos, video, and conditions!

... want your own private skintrack? Better move to the yukon dude. (B'ham Allen, 2011).
...USA: government of the people by corporate proxies for business.

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise

Posts: 373

Re: January 29-30, 2015, MRNP, Fuhrer Finger
« Reply #3 on: 02/01/15, 07:22 PM »

Sick dude. The finger and the wilson gully! Stoked.


Posts: 142

Re: January 29-30, 2015, MRNP, Fuhrer Finger
« Reply #4 on: 02/02/15, 09:49 AM »

Nice! With horrible conditions in the Cascades, you guys make chicken salad out of chicken you-know-what. Inspired tour.

Posts: 498

Re: January 29-30, 2015, MRNP, Fuhrer Finger
« Reply #5 on: 02/02/15, 10:18 AM »

Way to play it.  Years like this make big lines like that more doable. 
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