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Author Topic: January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse  (Read 4463 times)
skier8484
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January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« on: 01/03/16, 12:21 PM »

Looking to take advantage of the weather window and hopefully find less wind affected snow (than Snoqualmie, et. al.) we headed for the Chiwaukum Range. Skies were clear and temps were single digits as we headed up the Icicle Road.



The skin up Chatter Creek went smoothly, especially due to the skin track already in place (thanks!).



We reached the saddle shortly after dark, enjoyed some excellent settled pow turns by headlamp, then camped in the basin.



Sunny skies and calm winds greeted us in the morning, and we were hopeful a clear, windless day was in store. The skin up to the col above Edna Lake was pleasant and the turns on the other side were scenic and powy.









Skinning towards Snowgrass Mountain we started to note ridge-top winds, which would end up keeping us off most of the objective skiing along the route.





Variable wind slab on the East slopes beneath Big Chiwaukum made the climb a little tenuous, and with the questionable stability and fading day light we bagged the idea of going after the NW Couloir and instead focused on finishing the tour that night.









The climb up to the entrance of the Swath went smoothly despite stiff, very cold, East winds along the ridge. Skiing near perfect boot top powder down the Swath and adjacent trees by headlamp proved to be the best turns of the trip and perfect finish to a fantastic trip!
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Kenji
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Re: January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #1 on: 01/03/16, 01:02 PM »

Very nice!  We were talking about the traverse when we were on Arrowhead/Rock.  It's definitely on our list.  Good to know the Swath is in a good shape.  I love skiing powder with a headlamp Smiley  Thanks for the report.
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PhilH
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Re: January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #2 on: 01/03/16, 04:54 PM »

Strong work! Thanks for posting.
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silaswild
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Re: January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #3 on: 01/03/16, 06:43 PM »

"The swath"?  In the old days known as  "highway to heaven (above the Bible Camp)". Smiley
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z-bo
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Re: January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #4 on: 01/03/16, 07:45 PM »

nice work!
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ErikT
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Re: January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #5 on: 01/03/16, 07:47 PM »

beautiful photos... had been thinking about that trip for the weekend, but settled on just skiing Rock on 2nd. Stiff winds on ridgetop made summit traverse there a bit interesting, so I can imagine what it was like being exposed to that for longer!

Did the Swath get brushy down low? We weren't quite sure looking across the valley from the oblique angle from Rock.
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Pete_H
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Re: January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #6 on: 01/03/16, 08:43 PM »

"The swath"?  In the old days known as  "highway to heaven (above the Bible Camp)". Smiley

AKA " The Funnelator" Smiley
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skier8484
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Re: January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #7 on: 01/03/16, 10:09 PM »

"The swath"?  In the old days known as  "highway to heaven (above the Bible Camp)". Smiley

Highway to Heaven - I like it!

beautiful photos... had been thinking about that trip for the weekend, but settled on just skiing Rock on 2nd. Stiff winds on ridgetop made summit traverse there a bit interesting, so I can imagine what it was like being exposed to that for longer!

Did the Swath get brushy down low? We weren't quite sure looking across the valley from the oblique angle from Rock.

No brush to deal with - you can ski the trees short cutting a number of the logging road switchbacks as well.
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Bryan_B
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Re: January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #8 on: 01/04/16, 06:47 AM »

Strong work finishing on Saturday. My brother and I were about a drainage behind you most of the day. Every time we'd crest a ridge, we'd see you cross the next. Thanks for putting in the skin track. We camped at Larch Lake Saturday night. Woke to snow showers and stiff E winds on Sunday. Got a real wind blasting crossing the ridge above Scottish Lakes. The Swath still skis nicely. Agreed, "Highway to Heaven" is a much better name.
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mikerolfs
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Re: January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #9 on: 01/04/16, 09:04 AM »

Great trip! Great report! You hit the weather and snow perfectly. Thanks for sharing!
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: January 1-3, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #10 on: 01/04/16, 10:34 AM »

Susan and I were surprised to see not one but two groups catch up with us. ("Do you hear voices? Nah. No, look, there's another group way back there on the skintrack!")  It was great to meet and ski with all of you. The first photo shows the lights of Allen, Brian (Bryce?), and Sam's headlamps as they crested the top of the Chatter Creek drainage after sunset.

It's an adventurous tour; do it more for the journey than for any one set of turns.

Icy cold in the Icicle; wiggly up Chatter Creek; hot, sunny, and running loose-wet up to the first pass; pow; pretty camp at lake Edna; rockin' wind and a steep entrance to Snowgrass diverted us around; windboard to below Chiwakum at Lake Charles; fun following the FIS crew up to the Chiwakum descent; tired legs down to Cup Lake; beautiful pow at Larch Lake; firm up to the plateau; nose-freezing ~30mph wind across the plateau; tentative scratch down the Swath ridgeline; pow in the Swath's trees; out.

Expect a suncrust on SE-SW faces at all elevations, especially steeper slopes. Rockin' wind from the East Saturday and Sunday. Of all the windboard and windslab we skied, we only popped out the tiniest patch (4m-wide, no run) beside Lake Charles.

We had two great friendly chats with the friendly people at Cascade Meadows Camp. They, too, were surprised to have three groups (plus non-skiers) roll through. They have limited parking, are concerned about liability, and (I believe) plow the road themselves (not to mention their location as a quiet retreat, rather than parking lot). As Forest suggested, we chipped in to help offset their plowing costs.  This tour would be quite logistically-challenging without CMC's very fine road and parking. As a community, we should find ways to help CMC value skier access as a bigger asset than liability.


* SamAllenAndBryceCrestThePassTAY.jpg (185.87 KB, 1000x451 - viewed 1073 times.)

* SunBreaksOverCapeHornTAY.jpg (188.44 KB, 1000x667 - viewed 1095 times.)
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runningclouds
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Re: January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #11 on: 01/04/16, 03:45 PM »

Beautiful country!
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teledavid
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Re: January 1-2, 2016, Chiwaukum Traverse
« Reply #12 on: 01/05/16, 08:53 PM »

Nice job everybody!

That looks like a blast. Kenji and I were admiring it from Rock last week. I love the second pic with the huge Ponderosa Pine, my favorite tree!
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