telemark skiingbackcountry skiingPacific NorthwestWashington and Oregonweather linksThe Yuki AwardsMt. Rainier and Mt. Adams
Turns All Year
  Help | Search | Login | Register
Turns All Year Trip Reports
Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
12/15/18, 10:42 AM

Become a TAY Sponsor!
Trip Reports Sponsor
Second Ascent
Second Ascent
Turns All Year Trip Reports
(1) Viewing these pages constitutes your acceptance of the Terms of Use.
(2) Disclaimer: the accuracy of information here is unknown, use at your own risk.
(3) Trip Report monthly boards: only actual trip report starts a new thread.
(4) Keep it civil and constructive - that is the norm here.
Info Exchange

NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2016 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  April 2016 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 9, Pyramid Traverse
« previous next »
Pages: [1] | Go Down Print
Author Topic: April 9, Pyramid Traverse  (Read 2390 times)
Kevin Steffa

Posts: 92

April 9, Pyramid Traverse
« on: 04/17/16, 12:35 PM »

"who cooks for you?"

A beautiful crescent moon hangs on the horizon, and the evening walk out the pyramid lake trail is almost pleasant by light of headlamp. The chatter in the forest has been especially vibrant today. We bid the owl goodnight.

Back at the road, We are starting to feel hunger pangs with the realization that no one is going to cook for us -- no horchatas or burritos in Burlington -- even the quickie marts will be closed as we chase the setting moon back west.

It had last been in 2003 since we had been up this trail, on an attempt to climb snowfield peak. Jule didnt remember anything particularly hard about the climbers trail back then, though time had not erased my memory that it is not an easy route... especially carrying skis. This time we are only up for the day. While certainly harder than the eldorado trail, only sparse cairns and an even fainter tread, we did not loose it. Progress was fairly consistent and without brush (at least to snowline at the first open knoll at 4k).

The noon day sirens in Diablo went off as we transitioned to skis and lunched in the sunshine. The north cirque of Colonial looms, though with the warm temps and slushy snow, we will not be heading that way -- slide paths evident enough from the weeks warm temps. Instead we eye a 'vista' traverse of the pyramid cirque, and over in the far western corner, there appears to be a gap in the cliff which is not guarded by a cornice or a convexity!

The traverse west stays low and in the trees, about 4400'-ish, only gradually rising to meet the path of Pyramid Creek -- In here large debris piles from the north face. We cross easily below it, transitioning to more open moraine country, staying below any runout paths we see. Finally at the last stand of big trees we have a clean route to head up and check things out.


The skagit gorge area is riddled with faultlines, and with some of the most dramatic changes in elevation packed into this small area, the rocks tell a story. We have come to a crossing point. We travel along one line, running in parallel to the big faces of Pyramid and Colonial, also trending in the general direction of the Picket line to the northwest. Cross-wise, another fault line appears to originate from the little town of Diablo, proceeding over ridge and valley to the southwest, eventually lining up with Big Devil peak.

Perhaps this area of crossing fault lines provided the weakness that allowed the Skagit, aided by glaciers, to push through the range here at Diablo, for if not here, it would almost certainly have coursed northward closer to Hope, BC.

This fault line also provides a continuation ski route, for one could access the Neve from its ladder creek terminus on low angle terrain from here on out... Alas, the shadows grow longer and that noon day siren was a long time ago. We briefly debate a direct bushwhack descent of the Diablo fault back to town. However, from a previous investigation, there are known waterfalls in there, along with thick salal brush even in the easy parts, plus the snowline is just too high to cover all the other unknowns...

The late afternoon light is lovely on our traverse back to the 4000' knoll and return to the trail. I think all told for the day we scored a combined dozen turns, of which at least 2 kicked off wet sluffs, 2 ended in collapsing tree moats, and most of the rest had a large amount moss and licken embedded within. Such is the nature of ski touring under the gaze of el Diablo Wink

- Mossman

Posts: 358

Re: April 9, Pyramid Traverse
« Reply #1 on: 04/17/16, 06:55 PM »

Classic Cascadian adventure!  The "Diablo Directismo" will have to wait for the next deep low elevation snowpack...

Posts: 699

Re: April 9, Pyramid Traverse
« Reply #2 on: 04/17/16, 10:10 PM »

I think some of your pictures are just fantastic, thanks for the report.

Posts: 479

Re: April 9, Pyramid Traverse
« Reply #3 on: 04/17/16, 10:48 PM »

Sounds just like your kind of trips, thanks for the TR!

Posts: 31

Re: April 9, Pyramid Traverse
« Reply #4 on: 04/18/16, 04:39 PM »

Best trip report ever.

Posts: 190

Re: April 9, Pyramid Traverse
« Reply #5 on: 04/18/16, 07:07 PM »

Yes very informative report and some fantastic photos of pyramid and triumph to name just a couple
Pages: [1] | Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Login with username, password and session length

Thank you to our sponsors!
click to visit our sponsor: Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
click to visit our sponsor: Marmot Mountain Works
Marmot Mountain Works
click to visit our sponsor: Second Ascent
Second Ascent
click to visit our sponsor: American Alpine Institute
American Alpine Institute
click to visit our sponsor: Pro Guiding Service
Pro Guiding Service

Turns All Year Trip Reports ©2001-2010 Turns All Year LLC. All Rights Reserved

The opinions expressed in posts are those of the poster and do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of Trip Reports administrators or Turns All Year LLC

Turns All Year Trip Reports | Powered by SMF 1.0.6.
© 2001-2005, Lewis Media. All Rights Reserved.