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| | |-+  May 28, 2006 Kangaroo Ridge-Silver Star traverse
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Author Topic: May 28, 2006 Kangaroo Ridge-Silver Star traverse  (Read 29449 times)
Pete A
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May 28, 2006 Kangaroo Ridge-Silver Star traverse
« on: 05/29/06, 09:05 PM »

After plan 'a', 'b', and 'c' for memorial day weekend all failed, a bunch of us headed for washington pass to ski whatever the weather would allow to. I thought it might be interesting to try to do a ski traverse from the hairpin on hwy-20 up over kangaroo ridge, over to big snagtooth, over to the south side of silver star, up or around silver star and down silver star creek. 

As our gaggle of skiers sat around the campground saturday, three of us decided to try the traverse, Lee and Murray wanted to climb Big Snagtooth so they brough along rock gear figuring they could make quick work of the summit block while I borrowed their down jackets and took a nap midway through the tour.

Sunday morning we dropped a car at Silver Star Creek, then drove up the hairpin.  Left the car at 8am. Skinned then booted to one of the lower cols on Kangaroo Ridge and had a great ski off the backside.  An inch or two of new snow made for slow turns, and we had plenty cinnamon rolls of snow following us down the slope, but otherwise snow conditions seemed good. 

looking towards Pt.7709 & Big Snagtooth from Kangaroo Ridge
turns down backside of Kangaroo Ridge

Saw an old crown from a pretty big climax avalanche on the northeast side of Kangaroo Ridge. 

climax release

We put the skins back on and shuffled towards Pt 7709.  Got a few good turns off the northeast side after we realized we couldn't link a continous skin track around due to melted out rocks.   
Skins back on and heading for Big Snagtooth.  I had originally thought we'd have to wrap around the east side, but when we got to the saddle just below the summit block we found a great little couloir that would take us straight towards Silver Star.  The majority of the couloir entrance was corniced, except you could walk through between the cliffs in a little slot no wider than one person to a perch at the top of the couloir.

south side of Big Snagtooth
looking back towards Pt.7709 and Kangaroo Ridge
narrow couloir entrance

Lee and Murray roped up and took off to finish the Big Snagtooth climb...I napped for an hour. Once they were back, we put the skis on and down the couloir we went. 

Lee at the top of the coiloir
Big Snagtooh couloir

Around 6800ft in the NW Cedar Ck drainage we figured we should reassess our plans. The weather wasn't too good, we'd had some sun, lots of clouds, occational snow all day and things didn't look like they were improving.  I'd originally hoped to climb the south facing couloir on Silver Star but the top 1500ft was mired in clouds and snow and we couldn't really tell which couloir was the right one, so we headed for the col between Silver Star and Pt.8252. 

looking across to the final climb to the col on silver star ridge

We booted up around 1500ft and hit the col...we were all very excited that the col provided a gentle entrance onto the Silver Star creek side of the mountain as it was about 4:30 and we really didn't want to start exploring an alternative exit via Willow creek that late in the day.  A quick traverse over to the Silver Star creek drainage and then we could finally put the skins away.  There was a fair amount of wet new snow on the upper mountain.  Murray skied right over a glidecrack that didn't reveal itself until the new snow had been shoved away.  Skiing into Silver Star creek was great. Coverage is still decent and we got to within 1000vf of the car.  Finished the tour around 6:00.

ski down silver star creek drainage

Topo software said it was about 8.7 miles, 6300ft up and 7880 down (but with all the traversing, and Lowell's recent thread on the shortcomings of TOPO! who know how accurate that is).

map of the route


weather finally got nice on Monday morning, and a bunch of us headed back to kangaroo ridge to ski this fun one. 

« Last Edit: 05/30/06, 05:39 AM by Pete A » Logged
Murrmeister
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Re: May 28, 2006 Kangaroo Ridge-Silver Star trave
« Reply #1 on: 05/30/06, 09:14 AM »

Damn Pete....sweet traverse! You guys sneaked-in a terrific line so late in the season.  Grin
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markharf
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Re: May 28, 2006 Kangaroo Ridge-Silver Star traverse
« Reply #2 on: 05/31/06, 11:31 AM »

Great report, Pete.  I love all the granite, larch and steep valleys back there.  Thanks also for the route map.  Couple questions: how steep is the exit from that narrow couloir?  Is there a lot of melt low in the Cedar Creek valleys, or is most of the snowpack still intact? Looks like another east side weekend might be in store.

enjoy,

Mark
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Pete A
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Re: May 28, 2006 Kangaroo Ridge-Silver Star traverse
« Reply #3 on: 06/01/06, 04:44 PM »

you could walk through the 'squeeze' to get to the upper couloir and put on your skis there, the top was maybe 45 degrees but i'm not a terribly good judge of pitch.    If it doesn't look good though, it didn't look too difficult to ski/walk around the east side of snagtooth to access an easier route into the northwest fork cedar creek drainage. 

Snow is definitely melting fast on the east side.  I don't think we could've skied more than 1000vf lower than our lowest points on the traverse without running out of snow...but that was primarily on south facing aspects, north and west facing stuff had a lot more snow.



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markharf
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Re: May 28, 2006 Kangaroo Ridge-Silver Star traverse
« Reply #4 on: 06/08/06, 11:03 AM »

Thanks, Pete.  I got inspired by your report and spent a day last weekend putzing around that area.  Snow's definitely getting thin, but the skiing and solitude are great.  South faces are mostly gone, but north and east aspects are still pretty plump.

enjoy,

Mark
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