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Author Topic: July 1, 2016 To Hell and back  (Read 5105 times)
mikerolfs
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July 1, 2016 To Hell and back
« on: 07/01/16, 10:42 PM »

A couple weeks ago Jamie and I skied off Cannon Mountain, and while there, I got a view into Hel Basin, which is directly between the upper enchantment plateau and Cannon Mountain. This is the view from Cannon:


Above the Hel Basin rim you can see Little Annanpurna on the left, Dragontail on the right, and Colchuck Glacier to the right of Dragontail. The cirque in the foreground is Hel Basin.

We decided we needed to get in there and ski. Jamie had work out of town, so the trip festered until noon on the last day of June when Jamie called and said "lets do it!".

The road to hel is paved with boulder fields. Most of it looked like this:



We saw no trace of trail. I had found some guidance in the Brown Beckey Guide related to the NW Buttress of Colchuck Balanced Rock. It said "Approach from Stuart Lake Trail and ascend to Hel Basin". Thanks Fred. We did have good views. Here is Mt Stuart from the approach:


Some pretty plants along the way:




The road to Hel got better higher up. We still had boulder fields to ascend, but we also had nice forest, meandering streams, and waterfalls:



When we finally arrived in Hel, we were not disappointed. It looked like the set of Sound of Music. It was spectacular. Grassy meadow, meandering stream, snowfields, cliffs.. Add in some poppys and we'd have drifted off to sleep!







We witnessed two summer scary snow events in the cirque. Here is the first. This happened before we arrived, but not much before. The sidewalls are still crisp. Maybe yesterday?  Scary avalanche:




The next made both of us uneasy. The sound was so strong we both felt it. Felt it right down in the sphincter. We heard and watched this bus-sized rock fall from the cliffs and roll/bulldoze down the hill.  WOW!



We were in a good place, but it spooked us anyway. We went up and stood next to the big boulder to see just how big it was. It was as tall as me and 20' long.

And then we skied. And what fun it was!

From the top of the snow:


Jamie skiing



We saw not a trace of human activity from the time we left the trail until our return. It was amazing to be so close to a popular trail, and not see people. We looked. I wanted to find something. Nothing. No campfire ring, no litter, no toilet remnant, no quarters. Back on the trail, we met 30 people between the footbridge and the trailhead, and then counted 85 cars in the lot. A very popular trail.
« Last Edit: 07/03/16, 08:26 PM by mikerolfs » Logged
Zap
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Re: July 1, 2016 To Hell and back
« Reply #1 on: 07/01/16, 11:00 PM »

A great TR and photos of "To Hell and Back" . Wink
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Andrew Carey
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Re: July 1, 2016 To Hell and back
« Reply #2 on: 07/02/16, 09:57 AM »

Yeah, nice report!
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... want your own private skintrack? Better move to the yukon dude. (B'ham Allen, 2011).
...USA: government of the people by corporate proxies for business.

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
Lowell_Skoog
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Re: July 1, 2016 To Hell and back
« Reply #3 on: 07/02/16, 10:05 AM »

We witnessed two summer scary snow events in the cirque. Here is the first. This happened before we arrived, but not much before. The sidewalls are still crisp. Maybe yesterday?  Scary avalanche:



Interesting to see the old ice surface underneath the slide path. Cool area!
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jtack
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Re: July 1, 2016 To Hell and back
« Reply #4 on: 07/04/16, 11:07 AM »

A few more pictures from the adventure, a hard won spot,still have a sore knee.







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Marcus
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Re: July 1, 2016 To Hell and back
« Reply #5 on: 07/06/16, 08:02 AM »

Nice!  Does that ribbon/couloir up to the right lead to the backside of Colchuck Balanced Rock?  I remember looking down on a sweet line from just below the summit.
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wickstad
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Re: July 1, 2016 To Hell and back
« Reply #6 on: 07/06/16, 08:48 PM »

Surely you tried to push it to see if you could get it going again.
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mikerolfs
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Re: July 1, 2016 To Hell and back
« Reply #7 on: 07/06/16, 09:02 PM »

Nice!  Does that ribbon/couloir up to the right lead to the backside of Colchuck Balanced Rock?  I remember looking down on a sweet line from just below the summit.

I think that is the one you probably looked down on. It looked to me from the map that it might be too steep on the enchantments side to be a pass through. Do you recall if you could have gotten from the top of the couloir into the upper enchantment basin? (If a normal person could?)

Surely you tried to push it to see if you could get it going again.

HA! No. Where it came to a stop was a low enough angle that it would take heavy machinery to move it further.
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Marcus
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Re: July 1, 2016 To Hell and back
« Reply #8 on: 07/07/16, 07:49 AM »

As I remember, it looked pretty easily accessible to get into it from above, yeah.
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mikerolfs
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Re: July 1, 2016 To Hell and back
« Reply #9 on: 07/07/16, 08:05 AM »

I'll poke around next time I'm up there and see if I can find it from above. Thanks for the tip.
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