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| | |-+  Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter
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Author Topic: Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter  (Read 3024 times)
danpeck
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Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter
« on: 02/24/15, 12:13 PM »

Jason and I found winter in the Glacier Peak lands this weekend.

We made a leisurely start Saturday morning at the TH around 8:30 am.  The temps were cool and nice and gradually warmed, ... we could see signs of fresh snow on the trees up high.

We hit snow at 4600 just as you pop out of the forest into a large slide path.  From there se skinned on thin snow, avy debris, and enjoyed some glorious alpine views of the mountains to the south.




We arrived at the col just w. of White Mtn taking in a breathtaking view of Glacier Peak.  Our first from this spot.  Much more alpine and rugged looking than I expected.  Dramatic to be sure.



The ski down the N. facing slopes was amazing, cold, powder.  Probably 8 inches.  We found some water in a meadow and continued skiing up to another meadow.  In this second meadow winter had really taken hold.  The trees disappeared and White was all we could see.  And it was cold in the shadows.  




We continued on up to another meadow where we camped at 6400.  It looked and felt like we were in the Antarctic.  We were fortunate to find running water through a crack in the snow near to borders of the lake.





That night temps sank to around 10 degrees outside of our tent and 15 inside our tent.  Then we woke up at around 7:30 am and were off on our tour for the day by 9 am.  We intended to summit Glacier if conditions warranted since neither of us had been there.  We could see wind carrying quite a bit of snow off the high ridges and peaks.  We were hopeful that the wind would die down by the time we got up high.



Alas, the wind seemed to only get stronger.  At 8800 feet it was like sand blasting, and we estimated that up at the col just SE of Disappointment peak at 9100 that the winds could be gusting around 30 mph.  




Onward we went.  Because the wind was coming from the east most of the snow had been blasted off the Cool glacier and so we found ourselves challenged with skinning on ice.  We made it over the ridge to a more westerly facing aspect hoping to escape some of the wind with no luck.  Now the wind was just coming from all directions... up, down, left, right--a vortex.  

We put on boot crampons once the ice turned blue around 10,000.

Around 10,400 the wind was so strong it threatened to blow us down so we had to remove our packs, anchor them very securely, and literally crawl with axes and crampons firmly gripped.  On the summit we clutched what little earth there was on our hands and knees, took a quick photo, and descended while being bombarded with bullets of ice.




Darn, I forgot to look at the view while up there.  I really wanted to look north.  Oh well, next time eh?

Does anyone know what winds it takes to knock a man down?  I'm guessing 50-60 mph?  Just curious what we might have been in the middle of up there.

We enjoyed some edge-able turns from 10400 to 10300.  



Then icy turns down to about 8800.  Then we found some softened dreamy turns down to 7800.  Hey!  1000 feet of fun turns Smiley




After that we followed the ridge-line back to glacier gap and from there enjoyed another few hundred feet of decent turns.






It was magical coming back to our lonely tent in the land of snow and cold where we enjoyed about an hour and half of sunlight and watched it set.  Once the sun was down it got cold and it was time to jump into the tent and make hot dinner.  



Our second night was about 10-15 degrees warmer.  The way out was fun.  



We felt satisfied.  Skiing the S facing slopes below White and Red mtns turned out to be very well timed for us.  The snow was smooth and creamy, firm enough to have little avy danger if any.  

Perhaps the most adventurous part of our trip occurred at tree line when Jason hitch a hard patch of snow, slipped into some trees and then his ski popped off and shot straight down the mountain heading for a drainage way out of our way.  We both just gasped and thought the ski was gone.  But then it hit something, flipped up, sailed through the air flipping a few times, and landed with the bindings in the snow arresting it's fall.  It was a miracle.  

More pics here... lots, so be forewarned ... for those who care to indulge

https://www.flickr.com/photos/danpeck/sets/72157651005941002/
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runningclouds
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Re: Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter
« Reply #1 on: 02/24/15, 12:48 PM »

Nice pics Dan! Awesome adventure! And powder!!! Glacier Peak in winter, the current snow situation notwithstanding, takes a strong effort.
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jtack
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Re: Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter
« Reply #2 on: 02/24/15, 12:49 PM »

Gosh Dan, what beautiful pictures, and it did look darn cold.........and windy! thanks!
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danpeck
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Re: Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter
« Reply #3 on: 02/24/15, 12:55 PM »

I should say that Jason took the really fine pics  Smiley I'm the super model  Grin

Thanks guys. It really was a trip of beauty.
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Norseman
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Re: Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter
« Reply #4 on: 02/24/15, 03:39 PM »

Strong work, Dan! Stoked for you.

Nice find with the running water! Love the description of the ice-exfoliation, too.

-S
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water
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Re: Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter
« Reply #5 on: 02/24/15, 04:22 PM »

incredible! truly spectacular scenery and thank you for the play-by-play with pictures, always appreciated! thanks for the TR.

my understanding for average # person.. 50-60mph your mass gets pushed around but you one can generally continue (friction/anchoring playing a role of course). Need to be 75-85mph gusts/constant to be knocked down/out of control.
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danpeck
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Re: Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter
« Reply #6 on: 02/24/15, 04:43 PM »

Sounds about right.  I'm guessing we were around 60 mph.  We could stand up, but it was hard sometimes, and we felt safe as long as we were firm on our feet.
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peteyboy
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Re: Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter
« Reply #7 on: 02/24/15, 10:15 PM »

Fantastic trip, report, and spectacular pictures - thanks so much.  I remember a January Baker summit trip two years ago in sustained 50 to 60 mph winds when my partner Mark, a great climber and skier, got picked up off the Roman Wall - and got himself in perfect position in the air to land in textbook self-arrest.  The issue there was that we had our skis A-framed on our packs.  The sail effect sent him airborne.
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Rowan Stewart
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Re: Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter
« Reply #8 on: 02/24/15, 11:32 PM »

POWDER!!!!! Thanks for the great trip report and photos. Funny, a week ago a member of the party I was with lost a ski on the cool glacier that miraculously stopped itself despite the icy conditions. Glacier peak has been kind those who have ventured out there recently.  Smiley
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JimD
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Re: Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter
« Reply #9 on: 02/25/15, 11:11 AM »

Thanks for the TR. I love the shots in the wind with the flying bullets of ice - that takes photo dedication to grab. Hope your lens wasn't hurt!
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danpeck
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Re: Feb 21-23, 2015, Glacier Peak--we found winter
« Reply #10 on: 02/26/15, 07:39 PM »

Thanks for the TR. I love the shots in the wind with the flying bullets of ice - that takes photo dedication to grab. Hope your lens wasn't hurt!

That was Jason's dedication... I was amazed when I saw his photos that he was taking pictures while I was cowering in the wind!!!
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