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| | |-+  June 12, 2017 Shuksan - Sulphide
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Author Topic: June 12, 2017 Shuksan - Sulphide  (Read 1338 times)

Posts: 8

June 12, 2017 Shuksan - Sulphide
« on: 06/13/17, 10:39 PM »

Sort of surprised myself by summiting Shuksan yesterday. I left Bellingham below clear skies, got good views of both Baker and Shuksan on the drive up, and then watched the two slowly get consumed by clouds as I made my way up Baker Lake Rd.

The clouds were thick when I arrived at the Shannon Ridge trailhead. Skinable snow starts a little over two miles in. I stashed my hiking boots under a stump that looked identical to just about every other stump in the national forest (bad move), clicked into the skis and kept moving up despite my quickly diminishing motivation. Upon reaching the open part of the ridge, clouds obscured everything further than 100 yards out, and moving through the mist was enough to get my hair dripping wet. I only kept going because runnels and tracks in the snow maintained enough definition to be easy to follow. I ran into two other skiers at the base of the Sulphide who were turning around due to visibility. We lamented the bad weather and they talked about how it was much better visibility the day before. Without any trees to point me in the right direction, I figured I'd soon be following suit and heading back down. I tucked up against a rock, bundled up and waited for things to pop. They didn't, but I did get a nice nap in.

Over an hour later, I figured I might as well keep going and judge the visibility one step at a time. There's a pretty solid trail beat into the Sulphide - comparable to the one on the Coleman Deming. Light occasionally popped through the clouds enough to be able to see crevasses off to the right and the ridge to the left. Occasionally it got much worse, but the track remained solid and easy enough to follow.

After what seemed like an eternity in the whiteout purgatory, blue skies and the summit pyramid appeared overhead. Now I was psyched! It was about noon, warm and probably too late in the day to spend much time in the steeper terrain, so I gunned it fast up the bootpack and only stopped to take a quick photo or two. Things were sloppy, with long running roller balls and slow hissers. Ice occasionally tinkled down from the summit - but despite the rush, it was a happy place to be. From my vantage, Baker and Shuksan were the only sunny spots in Washington state - islands among a vast sea.

I was able to ski from maybe 100 feet or so below the summit. Despite the slushy nature of things on the way up, the snow skied fast and well. I was back down into the clouds much sooner than I wanted to be, and cruised the long ski out.


Posts: 81

Re: June 12, 2017 Shuksan - Sulphide
« Reply #1 on: 06/13/17, 11:01 PM »

Nice!  Tried the White Salmon on Sunday, but ran turned around rather than skin across a 45 degree slope with cliffs/cracks below and unsupportive mush on top.  Guess we should have tried the Sulphide!
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