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| | |-+  January 15, 2006, Cloudbreaker Country
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Author Topic: January 15, 2006, Cloudbreaker Country  (Read 1618 times)
Kevin Steffa

Posts: 92

January 15, 2006, Cloudbreaker Country
« on: 01/17/06, 06:45 AM »

It was a dark and stormy morning driving over the pass. There was certainly deeper powder to be had closer to the crest, but alas the sunshine, a scarse commodity these days, broke out in full as we passed the Teanaway turnoff.

Blewett Pass looked like a motor convention with trucks, trailers, snowmachines quickly fillling the snowpark. The slopes to the east on Diamond Head and Tronsen Ridge looked in good form, but we kept going, down the other side. There are not really any good paths immediately west from the pass into the wenatchee crest unless you have a snowmobile... lots of roads, clearcuts, and ups and downs before you actually get to an appealing summit...

Plan A (Negro creek up to the Three Brothers / Ingalls divide) was quickly discarded due to the class 5 whitewater. Apparently my earlier scouting was done in the dry season... The snow didn't look that good here anyway.

Back up the road a bit to Plan B, and the best option for getting some vert was the King Creek road system. It quickly ascends from the highway up to about 4400' or so toward the ridgeline around Iron Peak, and benefits from an actual bridge over the river! The road was an easy cruise on open slopes, and it would have been easy to make turns except that the snow had a rain crust until about 4000'.

We ascended toward the prominent peak on the ridgeline in increasingly better snow. The peak is actually the start of a gendarmed ridge, and here those of us on snowshoes outpaced those of us with skins up the increasingly steep and tight path.

Gary, Robert, and I broke off on our own path into a north facing gladed area below the ridgeline where the skinning was more possible. All the obstacles in the woods were covered and the fresh powder coat on the trees was nice. We gained the ridgeline about a half mile past the gendarmes where the terrain mellowed out some, and we were able to follow the ridge up to one of the summits of Iron Mountain.

The wind was whipping, powder flying everywhere, etching patterns into the drifts. Clouds vaporized into the blue a ridgeline away, and direct sun made the snow particles sparkle. Views off toward the Three Brothers looked tantalizing and the Enchantment peaks were shedding their veils. A certain collection of ponderosas and rock outcrops seemed almost deliberately placed by an artist!

Some obligatory powder harvesting was to be had in the bowl beneath the summit before heading back down, and the descent through the trees was fun back to the the initial open slopes. Examining the tracks (one smoothly arcing snowboard path, multiple plunge steps, and ski tracks with crater marks) led us to the conclusion that the others headed down sooner, so we cruised down the road and met up for dinner in sparkly leaven-town.

- Kevin

p.s. To access the Brothers, one either needs knee-high waders, a second change of footwear, or a snowmobile to access the road system west from Blewett Pass.

p.p.s. Gary took some good pictures, so hopefully can see those soon, as mine are on the slow film... (digital camera on the way)

- Mossman
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