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| |-+  April 2016 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  April 28, 2016, Mt Pilchuck, road open, going fast
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Author Topic: April 28, 2016, Mt Pilchuck, road open, going fast  (Read 1776 times)

Posts: 68

April 28, 2016, Mt Pilchuck, road open, going fast
« on: 04/28/16, 08:16 PM »

I knew the road was likely closed but was told it would be open by the end of the weekend.  But I wanted Pilchuck now.  It's a close drive, reasonable length and has a variety of interesting and challenging terrain, so it is one of my favorite tours, in the right conditions.  Unfortunately, the conditions today fell short.

The road did open "for the season" around 4pm.

I biked the road (about 1 1/4 hours), so a nice workout.  There is no snow in the parking lot, as opposed to every opening (ex last year) that I can remember.  Booted on the winter route about another 1/2 hour until I could skin on continuous snow at about 3500'.  The whole mountain looks like it has suffered from bad heat stroke, with deep holes around trees making it tricky skinning.  But once you are up around 3800' there is a nice layer of smooth newer snow (3-6 inches it seems).  From there up, the skiing could be quite good for a while, but it needs to consolidate.  If you don't mind the walking at the start, go up later and take a couple laps. Today it was unconsolidated mush.

One thing to know about Pilchuck:  When the forecast is for partly sunny, that means that it will be sunny some places and not sunny others.  That place were it is not sunny is known as Mt. Pilchuck!  Near the top I actually had trouble finding the lookout, although I was very near it.  I though maybe it burned down or something, but figured I would have heard about that.  Eventually I did find it, as cozy as ever. 

Did not ski the steep SE chute due to obvious wet snow slide potential and zero viz.

Clearly the FS could have opened this road much earlier, especially up to the second gate.  They appear to want to wait until the lot is snow free, but by then the skiing is nearly over.  I think if this continues I will get an electric bike, which will also come in handy dealing with the Seattle traffic.

Posts: 34

Re: April 28, 2016, Mt Pilchuck, road open, going fast
« Reply #1 on: 05/01/16, 10:36 PM »

Up there today. Road is open now to drive to the trailhead. Continuous snow from 4300' on the summer trail. We booted all the way up and then skied the gunsight, great day.
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