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| | |-+  November 12, 2015, WA Pass, Cutthroat Lake Basin
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Author Topic: November 12, 2015, WA Pass, Cutthroat Lake Basin  (Read 3075 times)
garrettww
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November 12, 2015, WA Pass, Cutthroat Lake Basin
« on: 11/12/15, 10:48 PM »

We arrived at Washington Pass at around 9am, excited to see that winter had arrived! Then we saw a sign that read, “temporarily closing the pass at 10am.” Our interpretation was that “temporarily” just meant a couple hours to do some control work. The road was clear and it wasn’t snowing at the time. So, we figured the closure wouldn't affect our day too much. Fortunately, just as we were about to head out from the car at the Blue Lake TH, WSDOT arrived to tell us that the pass was closing…indefinitely…due to incoming weather over the next few days. Good thing they caught us, or we may still be up there right now. The WSDOT employee was super nice and suggested that we park down by the Silver Star creek closure gate and hitch a ride with him back up to the Cutthroat Lake road turnoff. We hadn’t planned on this as our “tour,” but had brought a topo that covered that area. We figured that there had to be some good skiing somewhere back there, and the coverage looked excellent.

On the way up the trail we found 8-10” of dry soft snow on top of a firm base. Overall depth varied from 12-24 inches. Unfortunately, it took a few miles of skinning the trail to gain much elevation. We finally broke out of the trees up high, just as we hit our turnaround time.  The ski back down to Hwy 20 was fun due to the amazing setting and new snow, but overall…kind of flat. It snowed most of the day, and the road walk back down to the car was peaceful.

FYI, in case you missed the memo above – HWY 20 is now closed, temporarily, indefinitely, until WSDOT reassess on Monday.










« Last Edit: 11/12/15, 10:54 PM by garrettww » Logged
Norseman
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Re: November 12, 2015, WA Pass, Cutthroat Lake Basin
« Reply #1 on: 11/13/15, 06:12 AM »

Good timing!
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Mofro
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Re: November 12, 2015, WA Pass, Cutthroat Lake Basin
« Reply #2 on: 11/13/15, 07:29 AM »

We recieved the closure news @830 in Newhalem, hung our heads and turned around, thinking worst case scenario was we'd have the DOT drive by while booting up at the car and tell us to leave anyway, like you guys. Also wanted to stay directed to the west and not get funneled towards Winthrop. We called the WSDOT and the guy actually said "well, you could probably still get out the gate if you did try to go ski, but I don't recommend it...."

Later start, a bit more of a hike, but a sweet pay off for the effort.


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not always bad
kamtron
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Re: November 12, 2015, WA Pass, Cutthroat Lake Basin
« Reply #3 on: 11/13/15, 09:05 AM »

Excellent work. Hopefully they reopen early next week.
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Sidecut
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Re: November 12, 2015, WA Pass, Cutthroat Lake Basin
« Reply #4 on: 11/15/15, 07:36 PM »

Nice work! We're thinking of heading to Winthrop next weekend - are there any relatively easy to access areas for backcountry turns if the 20 stays closed?
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Good2Go
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Re: November 12, 2015, WA Pass, Cutthroat Lake Basin
« Reply #5 on: 11/17/15, 04:06 PM »

Nice work! We're thinking of heading to Winthrop next weekend - are there any relatively easy to access areas for backcountry turns if the 20 stays closed?

WSDOT often plows up to Delancy Ridge in the early season.  You can tour right up from the snowpark if that's the case.  You could also bring beer and a tow rope and barter for a tow up to Cutthroat.

If the snowpark is at Mazama, you're screwed for touring.
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