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Author Topic: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour  (Read 3128 times)
ADappen
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April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« on: 04/23/15, 06:47 AM »

Tom Janish and I concocted a Six-0 Tour around Chinook Pass on Sunday as a 60th birthday celebration (mine, unfortunately). Rules of engagement: bag at least six, 60-something peaklets. On the list are such high points as Peak 6046, Peak 6250, Peak 6420, Peak 6458, Peak 6606, Peak 6904 and a half dozen more that are within striking distance of a day tour.

Our tour started on the south side of Highway 410 near Tipsoo Lake and touched three high points including Naches Peak (6,452 feet). We enjoyed all manners of snow here from night-frozen crust to day-thawed glop (highly technical snow terminology).

Around noon we moved over to the north side of Chinook Pass and were surprised that peaks that were only two miles distant from the morning peaks had so much less snow (though better consolidated snow). We had to hunt-and-peck for pads of snow taking us upward and had to shoulder the skis a number of times. Before arrival I thought we would easily make six of the peaklets we had identified but it took some creativity to find skiing objectives rather than walking ones.

The bummer about our rules of engagement: The objective becomes so much harder with each passing decade: At 90 slaying 9 nine-thousand peaks in a day is gonna be a bitch.

A story about this tour here at WenatcheeOutdoors. And a map of one Six-0 Tour here.


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jtack
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Re: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« Reply #1 on: 04/23/15, 07:05 AM »

Nice going you old goat! Glad I don't have to worry about doing something like that for my 60th!
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ADappen
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Re: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« Reply #2 on: 04/23/15, 07:54 AM »

We thought of you on this tour. Every time we took off the skis we debated whether we should 'Tack' 'em or Pack 'em.  Tom nearly sliced a jugular on the final steep bushwhack back to the road when we were 'Tacking' it and he took a slip on the slimy ground. It's hard to slice a neck during a tumble, however, with ski edges that are never sharpened.
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Chamois
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Re: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« Reply #3 on: 04/23/15, 09:07 AM »

Love it!  Will be 6-oh next year so will keep this on the back burner -   
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Zap
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Re: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« Reply #4 on: 04/23/15, 10:12 AM »

Andy,

Thanks for providing the insight of a 60 year old on your 'birthday' tour.† Iím glad you posted this on April 23.† When I skied the northwest slopes at Naches Peak on the 21st, I kept saying to myself that I should go to the east and north facing slopes, but my 68 year old body is not up dealing with the frozen snow (forgot the crampons), dropping through the unfrozen slope, avoiding the frozen balls, and saying I should have been here earlier.† I think Jill and I will go to Timberline and ride the lifts with our season passes.† When the groomed slopes ripen we will put on the skins, climb a bit higher, and then have a great ski down.† I hope.† It is nice knowing that the snow conditions this week are fairly consistent....† I don't like the surprise conditions as much as I used to.† Wink
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« Reply #5 on: 04/23/15, 10:14 AM »

Around noon we moved over to the north side of Chinook Pass and were surprised that peaks that were only two miles distant from the morning peaks had so much less snow (though better consolidated snow). We had to hunt-and-peck for pads of snow taking us upward and had to shoulder the skis a number of times. Before arrival I thought we would easily make six of the peaklets we had identified but it took some creativity to find skiing objectives rather than walking ones.

Chinook Pass lies in a zone of enhanced precip and snowfall which extends due eastward from Mount Rainier, basically aimed straight at Tipsoo Lake and Naches / Yakima Peaks, while the area farther north is increasingly rain-shadowed by Rainier with a strong downward gradient in snowpack as one goes north. Average April 1 snowdepths at the Chinook Pass NWAC site (5500 ft, just NW of the pass) and the Cayuse Pass snow course (5270 ft, located SW of Yakima Peak inside the upper switchback of SR 410, not actually near Cayuse Pass) are roughly comparable to Paradise at 175-180". Just 2 miles farther north at Morse Lake SNOTEL (5400 ft, SE of Threeway Peak at the border of the Crystal Southback), the average April 1 snowdepth is more like 140". Another 2 miles north in Green Valley at Crystal (6200 ft), it's down to 120" despite the much higher elevation, and 6 miles north of that at Corral Pass SNOTEL (5800 ft), it's barely 90". Many longtime Crystal backcountry skiers are well aware of this snowpack gradient. The effects of this gradient appear to be even more enhanced this year due to the bizarre weather patterns which have left minimal snowpack on most southerly slopes north of Chinook Pass.

Similar zones of enhanced precip and snowfall can be found extending eastward or northeastward from several of the more prominent Cascade volcanoes, with strongly rain-shadowed areas located immediately counter-clockwise on the compass. The most spectacular example is from Mount Shasta, where one can stand on the summit in spring or early summer, and actually see the zone of deep snowpack extending eastward, with bare ground in the rain shadow to the NE and north of Shasta. Such zones of enhanced precip and snowfall also extend east and NE from Baker and Saint Helens, especially so prior to its 1980 eruption and decapitation. The cause of the zones is not really known and no scientific papers have ever been written about them as far as I could find several years ago. My own pet theory is that these zones are due to small-scale convergence zone effects similar to the much larger Puget Sound convergence zone caused by the Olympics, which also has a corresponding rain-shadowed area located counter-clockwise on the compass. The direction of the enhanced zones varies on the different volcanoes due to effects of the surrounding terrain.

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ADappen
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Re: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« Reply #6 on: 04/23/15, 02:46 PM »

Amar, Thanks for that snow-shadowing bit. Interesting to see such dramatic differences on peaks of the same height during the same tour.
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Griff
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Re: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« Reply #7 on: 04/23/15, 07:41 PM »

Congrats on the tour! I hope to say the same in 11 years on 4/22/26.

Great info Amar, data to support my experience at Crystal (especially when I taught full-time in the 80s). Now, that said, there are times it gets more. Rare but true. Can you explain that???
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Amar Andalkar
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Re: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« Reply #8 on: 04/23/15, 10:29 PM »

In any given storm system, Crystal can certainly get more snow than Chinook Pass, it's more of a cumulative averaging effect that makes the snowpack gradient obvious. In particular, storms with strong NW flow tend to hit Crystal hard, as the flow gets channeled upslope by the White River valley and there is no rain-shadowing effect from Rainier. Storm systems which track east along the WA/OR border and Columbia Gorge also tend to hit Crystal hard, with wrap-around moisture in a SE flow also unaffected by Rainier. Those systems are the same ones which produce major snowfalls along other parts of the Cascade east slopes and the Wenatchee Mountains including Mission Ridge. If there were a lot of such systems of these 2 types in a given season, Crystal could end up with a snowpack depth closer to that of Chinook or perhaps even exceeding it rarely.

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ADappen
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Re: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« Reply #9 on: 04/24/15, 06:09 AM »

I envy you those 11 years, Griff. Enjoy 'em!
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danpeck
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Re: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« Reply #10 on: 04/24/15, 09:49 AM »

Skiing with Tom the weekend prior to this I heard rumors that this might occur.  Nice to see it done! 

Thanks for all the inspiration and stoke in your 60 years. 
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Norseman
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Re: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« Reply #11 on: 04/24/15, 10:22 AM »


The bummer about our rules of engagement: The objective becomes so much harder with each passing decade: At 90 slaying 9 nine-thousand peaks in a day is gonna be a bitch.


Chuckled at this one. Better make the plans soon, too, lest one forgets.
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ADappen
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Re: April 19, 2015, Chinook Pass, Six-0 Tour
« Reply #12 on: 04/27/15, 06:04 AM »

Dan, Sorry to miss the tour around Ingalls Peak/Lake with you all. Sounded like a good one.
Norseman, good point... I think... what was it you were getting at?
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