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NWAC Avalanche
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  2006 Backcountry Trip Reports
| |-+  December 2006 Backcountry Trip Reports
| | |-+  12/7/06, N. Face of N. Twin Sister (N. Cascades)
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Author Topic: 12/7/06, N. Face of N. Twin Sister (N. Cascades)  (Read 2605 times)

Posts: 51

12/7/06, N. Face of N. Twin Sister (N. Cascades)
« on: 12/08/06, 08:47 AM »

I've dreamed about skiing the N. Face of the N. Twin Sister for a long time.  This line is a beautiful, long, N facing bowl set among fantastic cliffs.  You can look out over the San Juan Islands for much of the route.

The problem is that the approach is relatively long (on logging roads) and climatologically strong winds in the area make avalanches likely in the bowl. 

Work has been tough lately, so I decided to take a "mental health" day yesterday to scope out other objectives in the area.  Happily, my Bham friend Dave had time to join me.

It turns out that the road into the Sisters range was icy and had some rocks and trees down (I'll post a rd conditions report later) so we could only drive to about a mile from the trailhead for the N. Twin.  Undaunted, we changed objectives and started heading up to the N. Twin.  I've been up this route several times in the winter and have often had problems with snow-covered trees covering the (gated) logging road, but this time the trail was relatively clear.  I expected the snow to be porridge or crusty, but while heavy it was never horrible and never crusty.  Once we got into the basin below the N. Face, the snow was homogenous styrofoam (down at least 4') that skied like hardpack.
Stability seemed good, which surprised me because I've never seen the route in skiable condition and simultaneously low avalanche conditions.  No pictures of the descent because it was starting to get dark and we were hurrying.  It's a long trip for the short daylight hours we have this time of year!

  I expected to encounter wet gloppy snow and possibly crust, but conditions were actually relatively good.  There were less branches across the (gated) logging road than I've seen on previous winter trips in the range and the snow generally supported our weight well.
« Last Edit: 12/08/06, 08:53 AM by PeterC » Logged

Posts: 628

Re: 12/7/06, N. Face of N. Twin Sister (N. Cascades)
« Reply #1 on: 12/08/06, 09:58 AM »

Nice trip!  Must have been a long day...

Are the winds there usually stronger than other places?

Posts: 51

Re: 12/7/06, N. Face of N. Twin Sister (N. Cascade
« Reply #2 on: 12/08/06, 10:29 AM »

About the winds - I haven't looked at any data, but most times I've been up there it has been blowing.  I wouldn't be surprised if winds were stronger in the sisters because it sticks out further W than most of the Cascades, so N or S winds ripping across the Puget Sound lowlands would slam into it, as opposed to regions closer to the Cascades spine, where friction off other peaks would slow the winds down.  On the other hand, there wouldn't be strong gap flows in the sisters' range (as there can be in the Cascades passes).  Consider my comment about the winds in the Sisters range speculative...

Posts: 31

Re: 12/7/06, N. Face of N. Twin Sister (N. Cascades)
« Reply #3 on: 12/08/06, 11:09 AM »

I've skiied the North Face in the Spring with nice skiable corn and stable conditions.  The only problems is that the road is all pavement, so tennies are a must and it's still a long day.  As I recall it was pretty breezy up there then as well.


Posts: 797

Re: 12/7/06, N. Face of N. Twin Sister (N. Cascade
« Reply #4 on: 12/08/06, 11:12 AM »

I cut two slabs off the North Face when Ben and I skied it in March 03.  That's a fun ski descent.  Way to go get it.
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