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| | |-+  Jan 28th, 2017, The Brothers, Olympic Mountains
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Author Topic: Jan 28th, 2017, The Brothers, Olympic Mountains  (Read 1793 times)
samthaman
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Jan 28th, 2017, The Brothers, Olympic Mountains
« on: 01/29/17, 09:12 PM »

Brian and I headed up to ski in the Brothers on Friday. I've been curious about them since I first moved to Seattle a little over 4 years ago and started noticing them across the water. Like the Sisters outside of Bellingham, the Brothers were an object of fascination for me because the were visible on every clear day and because they're so close as the crow flies.

We slept in the car at the trailhead Thursday night. On Friday morning we got a "sub-alpine" 7am start, confident that we could knock out 14 miles and 7k ft described in the Volken guide relatively quickly. This turned out to be an incorrect assumption.

Our other assumption, that we could get by the Lena creek bridge without too much struggle, turned out be correct. The FS had some fairly dramatic descriptions of the state of the bridge and cautioned against attempting a crossing. We discovered a very low flow and were able to splash right through the water. After crossing the creek we had a fairly mind numbing few hours of skinning, trail walking, and generally slow progress up the valley. Around 12:30 we finally made it to the head of the E. fork of Lena creek and finally got out into the sun. The views were spectacular, but the climbing was fairly slow and complicated. After some struggling, and some challenging snow conditions, we topped out on N. Brother at 3pm. The views were some of the best I've had yet in Washington: layer upon layer of wilderness to the west, Seattle, the hood canal and the cascade volcanoes to the east. Below us was a few thousand feet of variable snow and some rapidly lengthening shadows.

For the descent, we side slipped the icy top section, then survived our way to the bottom as quickly as we could. Now through the worst of it, we made some soup, refueled, and then hustled to cover as much ground as we could before the sun fully left the sky. We arrived back at the car around 7:30 with our thirst for adventure fully quenched.

Brian crossing Lena creek


Looking into the Olympics from the top of North Brother


The snow doesn't look too bad in the photo, but it was a horrible breakable crust with dust on top.


Not all the snow was bad though.






Despite all the challenges, this was a really fun outing and a much needed dose of wilderness-time. I've been having a lot of fun at the resort this year, but sometimes there is no substitute for hiking for 13 hours to ski 3000 feet.
« Last Edit: 02/01/17, 02:22 PM by mosetick » Logged
runcle
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Re: Jan 28th, 2017, The Brothers, ONP (ONF?)
« Reply #1 on: 01/29/17, 10:01 PM »

Great pics and TR. Thanks for sharing your suffer fest; glad you survived it. That's not an easy trip to complete under ideal conditions with plenty of daylight! Way to get after it!
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telemack
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Re: Jan 28th, 2017, The Brothers, ONP (ONF?)
« Reply #2 on: 01/30/17, 08:28 AM »

Excellent work.  Many have looked but few have skied.
We got to the base of the summit couloir in slide-y conditions once, but it was socked in and we never got the views. 
What were the snow and trail conditions like between Lena Lake and Lena forks?  Several winters ago the trail was badly washed out.
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There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
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samthaman
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Re: Jan 28th, 2017, The Brothers, ONP (ONF?)
« Reply #3 on: 01/30/17, 08:41 AM »

Excellent work.  Many have looked but few have skied.
We got to the base of the summit couloir in slide-y conditions once, but it was socked in and we never got the views. 
What were the snow and trail conditions like between Lena Lake and Lena forks?  Several winters ago the trail was badly washed out.

They weren't too bad actually. Only a few recent blowdowns. In the "silent men" section, the trail runs in the dry creek bed, so I'd imagine that it's a nightmare during the spring melt. We hit patchy snow below lena lake then pretty consistent snow just a little further uphill. The snow was consistent, but it wasn't deep for at least another 2 miles though, so we were able to skin most of the way in from the creek, but actually walked a good ways out.
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RonL
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Re: Jan 28th, 2017, The Brothers, ONP (ONF?)
« Reply #4 on: 01/30/17, 08:54 AM »

Wow! Nice work getting one of the crown jewels in wintertime. Good for you.
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skier8484
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Re: Jan 28th, 2017, The Brothers, ONP (ONF?)
« Reply #5 on: 01/30/17, 12:44 PM »

Despite all the challenges, this was a really fun outing and a much needed dose of wilderness-time. I've been having a lot of fun at the resort this year, but sometimes there is no substitute for hiking for 13 hours to ski 3000 feet.

Quoted for truth - nice to check this one off the list!
« Last Edit: 01/31/17, 06:08 AM by skier8484 » Logged
Stügie
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Re: Jan 28th, 2017, The Brothers, ONP (ONF?)
« Reply #6 on: 01/30/17, 10:24 PM »

Excellent work.  Quite a trek in.  Well worth it though!
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"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambitions to achieve; they are cathedrals, where I go to practice my religion."  -Anatoli Boukreev
kamtron
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Re: Jan 28th, 2017, The Brothers, ONP (ONF?)
« Reply #7 on: 02/01/17, 09:41 AM »

Cool trip guys. Too bad it wasn't better snow. Think I'll opt for the overnight or alpine start if I head that way!
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samthaman
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Re: Jan 28th, 2017, The Brothers, ONP (ONF?)
« Reply #8 on: 02/01/17, 01:26 PM »

Cool trip guys. Too bad it wasn't better snow. Think I'll opt for the overnight or alpine start if I head that way!

I've slowly realized that once it's dark, it doesn't get any darker. A good headlamp has facilitated quite a few after dark exits over the last few years.
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chmnyboy
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Re: Jan 28th, 2017, The Brothers, ONP (ONF?)
« Reply #9 on: 02/01/17, 01:44 PM »

Well done fellas, get that crap outta your system and come ski summit west with me.
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