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Author Topic: Royal Basin & Deception, April 29-May 1, 2016  (Read 2367 times)
radka
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Posts: 114


Royal Basin & Deception, April 29-May 1, 2016
« on: 05/05/16, 08:56 PM »

Royal Basin

With Radka’s new Century 102 skis mounted, we wanted to go somewhere with lots of big open terrain. The pictures we’d seen of Royal Basin in the Olympics illustrated lots of open slopes and big bowls. Despite the 7 miles of trail to get to the alpine, it seemed like a fitting objective.
We started hiking from the trailhead around noon. We didn’t realize on the way there that we’d been here before, when we climbed Warrior a few years ago. We took our first break around 2:45pm then continued on until we took our 2nd break at the lower meadows around 4:45pm. We continued to follow the boot pack from previous parties for another 10 minutes before we lost it. We decided to veer left of the summer trail to an open slope with a few bands of boulder fields. After climbing to the top of the 2nd one, we transitioned to skis, Radka taking her first steps in to a bold new world. She quickly discovered her new skis were much more maneuverable on kick turns.

Wild rhodies in the wonder forest


so much green!





Getting to lower Royal Lake was cumbersome since we were well off the summer trail. After a few short carries and turn-arounds, we finally made it to the lake, and found it frozen enough to confidently skin across it. Once on the other side, we continued southward, and had to cross another creek by foot. Then we traversed to the Royal Creek drainage and stayed climber’s left of it. The terrain here was mellower and more open. Soon we arrived at the flat swamp and skinned across it to the gulley that leads to Upper Royal Basin.
We finally arrived at the tarn, which marks the end of the summer trail and set up camp, somewhere around 7pm. Fortunately, one small spot had melted out and water could be filtered. Early evening brought mountain top clouds in and out. As the evening progressed, skies cleared completely and not the slightest breeze was felt all night.

Mystical mountains


Mt Deception


Moonlit Clark Mtn


Day 2

We decided we wanted to climb Mount Deception for today’s objective then maybe do an evening ski run. Well, turns out climbing Deception took quite a bit of time and energy, so that’s all we ended up doing. We left shortly after 9am and east facing slopes were already starting to soften up. The NE Couloir (which is west of the summit) looked to be in fine shape but we didn’t do that route. Instead we did the route which goes to low point along the ridge between Deception and Martin (high point 7638’). From there it drops down to the Deception Glacier, and can go on either side of Gilhooley Tower. The snow slopes on the east side of the tower were still guarded by large cornices so we went the long way around the west side and crossed the south side back to east. From there, it’s easy class 2 to the summit of Deception.

We only skinned about 600’-700’ feet up before the terrain got steep enough that booting made more sense. Some post holding occurred but nothing too bad. We also passed near a few glide cracks without any incident. It took about 2 hours to reach the ridge. We found a wide snow slope to descend down to the glacier. We were lazy and didn’t transition to skis but in hindsight we wish we had. The west facing snow was still quite firm and steep enough that descending with crampons was tedious. After about 20 minutes (which would have taken 2 minutes to ski) we reached the glacier and headed across still booting. The ridge crest west of Gilhooley Tower welcomed us with fantastic views to the south.

starting up




gaining the ridge


Walking along the ridge looking for a place to drop


After about 5 minutes of wrapping around the south face of Gilhooley, we got a clear view of Deception, and enough bare rock that it was clear carrying skis further didn’t make sense. We dropped skis and booted the rest of the way to the summit of Deception. Where the snow had melted, lots of loose rock and talus was encountered. We finally reached the summit and lounged around for a bit. This mountain seems to be directly under multiple flight paths since we had tons of planes overhead during the trip and some were very close to us. The views did not disappoint. On the descent we walked over to the top of the NE Couloir and checked it out. Pretty steep!

Deception Glacier


wrapping around


walking up the summit ridge past the only small tree around


Mt Olympus


Mt Constance & Mystery





Once we got back to the ridge crest, the moment we’d been waiting for finally arrived. It was time for Radka to get her first turns on her new skis. After a dozen turns, she was so excited about her new skis that the sadness of losing her previous pair was completely forgotten. Then we traversed as far as we could back to the beginning of the short climb up the Deception-Martin ridge. We didn’t go back the same way we came down, instead further south, since the slope was shorter and easier. It topped us out directly above a cliff though and we had to go a few minutes north before finding a good place to drop in to the steep east slopes. East slopes were now completely in shade and firming back up. A slight crust had started to reform but was barely noticeable.

Back on the ridge


Dropping!


We dropped in and traversed back over to our up-track, navigating between glide cracks. Once we regained our tracks, we enjoyed fun skiing back down to the moraine. From there we skinned back to a still sunlit camp and went in to the nightly routine. The evening was again calm and clear.







Two shooting stars


Spinning stars


Day 3

Since very little skiing had been up until this point, we knew we had to do a run before we left. So we packed up our camp then headed for an east facing slope. We topped out around 11am, or corn-thirty. The corn was quite amazing from here back to camp.





Mt Mystery


Deception







We wished we had more time to ski all the lines and bowls in Royal Basin especially given the effort it took to get there. We skied back to camp, quickly packed all the ready-to-go gear, and left by noon. The hike out was much quicker then coming in. We descended from Lower Royal Lake via the summer trail which was a little more straightforward but not that much easier since lots of holes lurked under the snowpack. This was a sweet area but definitely warrants spending more time in and possibly hitting a little earlier in April or late March.


More detailed photo report here: http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8020533
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danpeck
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Posts: 504


Re: Royal Basin & Deception, April 29-May 1, 2016
« Reply #1 on: 05/05/16, 10:19 PM »

Amazingly Kül!!!  I love that place and you two did it right.  Thanks for the beta.
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radka
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Posts: 114


Re: Royal Basin & Deception, April 29-May 1, 2016
« Reply #2 on: 05/05/16, 10:25 PM »

Thank you, Dan! I have some ideas how to do even it better  Wink For starters, spend 4 days to a week. Skip Deception and just ski all around - so much incredible terrain. The slopes in Deception Basin, Fricaba, Hal Foss, and Mystery peaks looked fantastic. This place is a gem and the views are incredible.
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danpeck
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Posts: 504


Re: Royal Basin & Deception, April 29-May 1, 2016
« Reply #3 on: 05/05/16, 10:50 PM »

Indeed!  You just made my heart beat faster... I've looked at all of those peaks, longing to ski.  Some day soon!!!
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T. Eastman
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Posts: 439


Re: Royal Basin & Deception, April 29-May 1, 2016
« Reply #4 on: 05/05/16, 11:06 PM »

Fun, fun , fun!
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cascademystic
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Posts: 83


Re: Royal Basin & Deception, April 29-May 1, 2016
« Reply #5 on: 05/06/16, 08:09 AM »

great photos and report!
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runcle
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Posts: 287


Re: Royal Basin & Deception, April 29-May 1, 2016
« Reply #6 on: 05/06/16, 07:26 PM »

Thanks for inspiring report! Great pics as usual.
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