telemark skiingbackcountry skiingPacific NorthwestWashington and Oregonweather linksThe Yuki AwardsMt. Rainier and Mt. Adams
Turns All Year
  Help | Search | Login | Register
Turns All Year Trip Reports
Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
12/17/18, 03:45 AM

Become a TAY Sponsor!
Trip Reports Sponsor
Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
Turns All Year Trip Reports
(1) Viewing these pages constitutes your acceptance of the Terms of Use.
(2) Disclaimer: the accuracy of information here is unknown, use at your own risk.
(3) Trip Report monthly boards: only actual trip report starts a new thread.
(4) Keep it civil and constructive - that is the norm here.
Info Exchange

NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2017 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  May 2017 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  May 27, Mt Pilchuck
« previous next »
Pages: [1] | Go Down Print
Author Topic: May 27, Mt Pilchuck  (Read 1873 times)

Posts: 6

May 27, Mt Pilchuck
« on: 05/28/17, 01:23 PM »

Figured it was high time to share some info instead of just lurking here looking at other people's beta all the time! Partner and I did an easy half day on Pilchuck. We got to within about a quarter mile of the trailhead head parking lot on FS42 before hitting snow. There were a bunch of cars parked on the shoulder so we parked there as well and walked it the rest of the way. Turns out the snow patch is just 100 yards or so long and the trailhead lot is completely melted out. I'm pretty sure any AWD vehicle would make it through the snow (plus the patch will almost certainly be clear in a few more days).

Ten minutes of walking on the snow-free summer trail got us to continuous snow. We started skinning here, but I wish we'd booted for just a few more minutes. We hit a short steep pitch soon after we started on skins that would’ve been much faster to boot. After that it was easy skinning along the summer trail. 

Dozens of hikers out, two other pairs of skiers/splitboarders sharing the mountain. Despite the lack of overnight freeze, the mush wasn’t terrible. Maybe an inch or two of ski penetration. I didn’t have any trouble with skins slipping. If I put too much weight on my lower ski while sidehilling on steeper pitches, the snow sometimes gave way. All in all, much better than expected.

After a quick break at the lookout, we dropped into Gunsight Couloir (though couloir seems like a generous term for a slope nearly as a wide as Upper International). The snow wasn’t corn, but it was still fast and fun. Lots of slough running all the way down. At the bottom of the couloir, we booted back up the ridge to climbers left, per the Volken book, then continued to the right up to a little subpeak. Here we diverged from the guidebook, choosing instead to ski fall line down the gully a ways. The snow was definitely stickier in spots through this section, but still better than expected and pretty fun. We crossed one patch of old slide debris. Did not see signs of recent avalanche activity. Having dropped lower than the summer trail at this point, we had to boot back up a short steep pitch to get back on track. From there it was a short ride down the luge track dodging hikers and their glissade troughs back to the dirt.

All in all a super fun first experience with Pilchuck. I wish we’d planned for a longer day so we’d had time to explore some of the cool looking lines that head towards Heather Lake.

Posts: 227

Re: May 27, Mt Pilchuck
« Reply #1 on: 05/28/17, 09:21 PM »

Ten minutes of walking on the snow-free summer trail got us to continuous snow. We started skinning here, but I wish we'd booted for just a few more minutes.

Thanks for the report, and welcome to the community. Glad you and your partner had a fun time on Pilchuck.

We were up on Pilchuck May 28th. It seemed like we had to walk on the summer trail for 40-60 minutes before there was continuous snow past the boulder field. We called it roughly 4000 feet elevation. Based on your report from the day before, that seems like really aggressive melting for one day!

Did you veer off the summer hiking trail to climbers left where there was a big opening? I remember seeing a lot of tracks going that way, probably about 10 minutes in, but I don't think that I've ever gone uphill from there in the past.
Jim Oker

Posts: 1552

Re: May 27, Mt Pilchuck
« Reply #2 on: 05/29/17, 08:53 AM »

We were up there yesterday, and did veer left into the opening with lots of tracks before the summer trail crosses the creek (aka "the  winter route"), and got onto continuous snow very shortly after that. Pretty much top to bottom skiing save for that little bit at the bottom. But it is definitely melting fast - the difference at the bottom at the end versus beginning of the day was quite noticeable.

Posts: 86

Re: May 27, Mt Pilchuck
« Reply #3 on: 05/30/17, 01:03 PM »

Here are a few images from our Sunday May 28th venture

As Jim mentioned we did not follow the summer hiking trail and passed it, staying straight on the old cat track of the abandoned ski area, folks call this the "winter route". We were skiing about 10 min walk from the parking lot, but as Jim mentioned the snow is melting very quickly.

Here are a few interesting links about the history of the abandoned MT. Pilchuck Ski Area. We are fortunate to have the old ski area road and the previously cleared ski slopes for easy access.

They did have night skiing until 10PM  $4.50
Lift tickets $7 bucks
No cruisers
No lift lines

Sunday there was the usual sunny day parade of folks hiking up in tennis shoes with no gear aside from a shirt tied around their waist. The preferred method of decent for most was a sitting glissade (also known as the slurpee enema). This produced very deep butt chutes, sometimes 4-6 feet deep! The butt slide paths were somewhat of an obstacle in some of the more narrow places.
« Last Edit: 05/30/17, 02:08 PM by watsonskipsmith » Logged
Pages: [1] | Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Login with username, password and session length

Thank you to our sponsors!
click to visit our sponsor: Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
click to visit our sponsor: Marmot Mountain Works
Marmot Mountain Works
click to visit our sponsor: Second Ascent
Second Ascent
click to visit our sponsor: American Alpine Institute
American Alpine Institute
click to visit our sponsor: Pro Guiding Service
Pro Guiding Service

Turns All Year Trip Reports ©2001-2010 Turns All Year LLC. All Rights Reserved

The opinions expressed in posts are those of the poster and do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of Trip Reports administrators or Turns All Year LLC

Turns All Year Trip Reports | Powered by SMF 1.0.6.
© 2001-2005, Lewis Media. All Rights Reserved.