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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2017 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  February 2017 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  February 6th, 2017, Rattlesnake Mountain
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Author Topic: February 6th, 2017, Rattlesnake Mountain  (Read 2041 times)

Posts: 228

February 6th, 2017, Rattlesnake Mountain
« on: 02/07/17, 09:56 AM »

With a late start leaving Seattle, KJB and I were hoping that I-90 would open east of North Bend at a more reasonable time, like 11am. With the goal of skinning up Hyak or something near the pass. Alas I-90 did not open when we hoped, so we ventured to our backup destination, Rattlesnake Mountain where there was a lot of snow greeting us at the lake when we parked.

We were able to skin and ski truck-to-truck. The trail was well covered, and the switchbacks went fast. Only a few rocks and branches stood out in a few places. There is a really small snow-free creek crossing around 1500' ft. There is a second larger creek crossing just a little above the first one on the next switchback. We were able to leave our skis for both crossings.

We made it to the ledge quickly. At the ledge, which is pretty much unsheltered by trees, pole penetration in the snow was about 1/4 to 1/2 the length of a pole. For brief moments, visibility improved enough, that we could see across the valley and that was pretty cool to see all the snow covered trees.

We continued up the mountain a little past the ledge to examine the snow conditions higher up. It started getting deeper, and we were breaking trail. However, it did not seem like continuing much higher was going to yield significantly better skiing conditions for the way down. (With regard to tree spacing, etc.) We found another small overlook, and opted to start skiing down from there.

We opted for the skins-on, dyna-tele technique on the way down, as we pretty much had to stay on the trail the whole time on the way down. There are plenty of stretches with enough gravity to make even dyna-tele fun. We only saw a couple people on the trail the entire day. This helped keep the trail in good shape for skiing.

I've only been here a couple times during summer months. It was fun to see this mountain with significant snow cover, and looking like a winter wonderland.

I need to verify exact coordinates, but from a first glance, it seems like Rattlesnake is perhaps the farthest west I have ever skied in the Cascades. I've skied on Mount Pilchuck many times, and it seems like Rattlesnake Mountain, is perhaps a sliver farther west than Pilchuck. Rattlesnake is not nearly as tall Pilchuck, and does not offer the plethora of skiing options, but it appears to be farther west, which makes it notable to me.


Posts: 1719

Re: February 6th, 2017, Rattlesnake Mountain
« Reply #1 on: 02/07/17, 12:28 PM »

Fun times! 
When we exited Bullion Basin in December we ran into (almost literally) a group that had struggled with the narrow trail and stopped to re-skin for the rest of the descent....about 150 yards before the footbridge  Sad   

There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.
George Santayana

Posts: 14

Re: February 6th, 2017, Rattlesnake Mountain
« Reply #2 on: 02/07/17, 10:21 PM »

Chris, nice grab there! 

"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambitions to achieve; they are cathedrals, where I go to practice my religion."  -Anatoli Boukreev
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