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+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2006 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  June 2006 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  June 16 - 19, 2006 Triad, Harts Pass, Silver Star
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Author Topic: June 16 - 19, 2006 Triad, Harts Pass, Silver Star  (Read 3430 times)

Posts: 36

June 16 - 19, 2006 Triad, Harts Pass, Silver Star
« on: 06/21/06, 01:36 PM »

A tale of weather and back up plans...Eric and I had visions of a 4 day (3 night) trip up the direct route to Eldorado with camp on Eldorado’s Inspiration Glacer, and climb/skis of some combination of Klawatti, Primus, Austera, Eldo and perhaps even a day trip down to Moraine Lake from one side, up to Forbidden’s lower north ridge, then back down to Moraine Lake from that side.   

At the last minute, we changed approach to Sibley Creek.  This route was reputed to be more scenic, it started 1100 vf higher and would be easier (although longer) travel.  We had a good map but no Sibley approach route description, only Eric’s memory of what he had read.

Friday’s early weather defied the wet forecast and we enjoyed a beautiful approach up a trail (first few minutes close to a crick with crappy little ski snagging trees).  Hit continuous snow at 4800 feet.  The drainage tops out around 6300 feet at a shoulder with the ridgeline to the Triad on the left and with Hidden Lakes Peak across and to the right.  Rain and wind caught us midafternoon and came and went rest of day, pleasant enough while we were moving but not conducive to sitting around.  Routefinding slowed us down (as did the big packs) so we camped in a sweet spot around 6300 feet after skiing a few hundred feet and dug out a bivy platform with big walls.  Felt we had id’d the correct route onto Eldo glacier for early the next morning, rather then commit to finishing that night and setting up a late camp.

B4 dark began howling wind and rain that turned into graupel and wet snow covered us with some 3-4 inches by morning.  Wind stopped by 4-5 am.  We got up (not “woke up”) to mixed viz and uncertain weather.  We decided to bail.  If we had known it would be a sunny Saturday, we’d have pushed on but the prospect of another crappy day with no viz skiing ending into wet bivvies was unappealing.

The ski out was very nice.  Not corn, but soft with enough resistance 3 – 6 inches down for some edging.  The basin down towards the Sibley creek trailhead yielded 1500 vf.  We also had an initial 3-400 vf coming over the ridge.  We had skied maybe 500 vf the night before on the camp side.  We were both pleased that the snow was good enough that skiing with the big packs was still fun – we even tele’d almost all of it.  Lower in the drainage there was drit and debris on the snow, which is a slide path.

From there we had two days left.  We headed for the Methow and slept in beds that night.  Took a late Sunday start up to Hart’s Pass.  Road closed couple miles from Slate Peak lookout.  We hiked 30 minutes up and over the ridge (with feather light day packs) to find a cirque with 500 vf (guess) of good skiing and nobody around.  Ended up doing 8 runs, every one untracked, all by our lonesomes, with sun and blue sky and a cooling breeze.  Conditions were still good at 7 pm!  This weekend should still be good.  As the day wore on, talk turned to Monday.  Birthday Tour and Kangaroo bowl were possible but the ski down to hairpin is no longer continuous.  From the top, we had good views of Silver Star and thought, hmm, why not a little glacier skiing?

Monday arrived bright and late after a huge sleep.  Next thing we knew, we were starting up Silver Star way late, at 11:00 am.  But what else were we gonna do?  Go home? Thought being see how long it takes to get to snow, then decide whether to go for the gold and race darkness back to the car, or just get some turns in, or bail.  Snow report is that you hike up the climbers trail for an hour, get to first flats/boulders, and find 15-20 minutes of continuous snow.  After that, it is marshy and the last step below the glacier has only patchy snow.  Two chutes look like they go, but both appear to have running water underneath and so I wouldn’t touch em.  So the true snow line is at glacier level.  We were coming up Silver Star creek, but given current  snow levels, I'd recommend the climbers path to the wine spires as more time efficient.  The high saddle below summit and a chute lower and to climbers right looked awesome and a good boot track from the burgundy col over to summit shoulder looked inviting.

We opted to get home at 10:00 pm with dinner on the way rather then at 2 am chowing on cliff bars.  But we did ski the continuous snow in the middle trees, probably 10 minutes worth, to avoid having taken our skis for a walk.  Fun playing around in the very firm snow in the trees,  plenty of space but still had to be very conservative as the snow was fast.

Excellent wildlife sightings - 2 separate close owl encounters, serious bear tracks, dive bombed by ptarmigans (I think), bear jumped across road in front of us.  saw nobody on days 1, 3 and 4.

Not the trip we planned, but we did ski four days and still have some food left for the next one (we did manage to drink all of the beer) …

Jimmy O

ps will add a couple of pix if we figger that out
« Last Edit: 06/21/06, 04:58 PM by JimmyO » Logged
Sam Avaiusini

Posts: 240

Re: June 16 - 19, 2006 Triad, Harts Pass, Silver Star
« Reply #1 on: 06/22/06, 08:03 AM »

Hey Jimmy,
Nice report!  Glad you guys stayed flexible in your plans and had fun.  It was very rainy here in town on Friday morning, so I'm glad you were able to hold it off as long as you did! 

Sam Avaiusini
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