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| | |-+  April 23 - Shuksan, White Salmon Glacier
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Author Topic: April 23 - Shuksan, White Salmon Glacier  (Read 3894 times)
AndyMartin
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April 23 - Shuksan, White Salmon Glacier
« on: 04/25/07, 09:19 PM »

Dawn’s early light saw the author, Armin and Claire and long time Cascades ski tourer Jim Witte skulking around the Mt. Baker White Salmon parking lot. The objective? Shuksan’s summit via the White Salmon glacier, many miles and almost 6,000 feet above.
The first order of business on a bluebird morning was to locate the so-called “magic carpet ride” through the forest to the base of the route. An hour and a half later, sweaty, bruised and scratched we stood in an other-worldly scene of avalanche debris, having gained exactly zero feet of elevation!
From here the route proper climbed steadily on firm snow to the toe of the glacier around 5,000 feet. By now some menacing looking clouds had rolled in, raising worries about visibility – but all was well. The next couple of thousand feet offered challenging trail breaking in heavy wet snow, which no amount of skin wax seemed to deter. The irony of buying light touring gear and adding pounds of snow to each foot was not lost on us! The short steep pitch up Winnie’s slide gave us pause, with some concern as to stability of the heavy wet snow. We elected to boot up the slope to climber’s right, next to the rocks, which seemed to minimize the exposure. A short hike through a notch brought us on to the Curtis glacier, which offered an unsettling runout below. Here the snow dried out and improved markedly, and we skinned easily around the head of the glacier to Hell’s Highway. The sun also came out, accompanied by a fresh breeze and scudding low clouds which made for awesome views. A couple more booted sections brought us on to the Sulphide Glacier at about 7,800 feet. The last 700 feet of skinning led us to a depot at the foot of the summit gully – 600 feet of steep snow with great coverage. Here Armin put in the lead of the day, booting to the summit with 2 foot deep steps. The rest of us were content to bring up the rear, swimming up the 45 degree slope in his footsteps.
We reached the summit around 2:45 pm, a long 8 hours plus from the car. A couple of minutes in the stiff breeze were sufficient for the obligatory high-fives and photos. Baker looked awesome with a girdle of clouds, the summit clear above. The author was rash enough to ski from the true summit, side-slipping gingerly at first to avoid any inadvertent sudden descents down the north side! Once in the gully conditions were ideal for steep turns in soft snow, kicking down plenty of sloughs, but with no suggestion of anything more serious.
After re-grouping at the depot, we skied the route out, almost 5,000 feet of some of the best back country skiing the group had ever enjoyed. Not a track to cross, nothing but soft turns in heavy snow against a stunning alpine backdrop. The steeper pitches were skied cautiously, one at a time, but nothing even hinted at sliding.
The slog out through the woods went easy, staying around 3,600’ elevation seemed to minimize the gully crossing headaches, and brought us right to the Rumble Gully exit to the ski area. After 12 hours touring on a fabulous, varied route burgers at Grahams in Glacier were the icing on a superb cake. Thanks to my touring buddies for making the trip possible, and for sharing in the heavy trail breaking!


* White_Salmon_017.JPG (48.49 KB, 800x600 - viewed 1259 times.)

* White_Salmon_024.JPG (86.42 KB, 600x800 - viewed 1272 times.)

* White_Salmon_034.JPG (53.26 KB, 800x600 - viewed 1229 times.)
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TonyM
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Re: April 23 - Shuksan, White Salmon Glacier
« Reply #1 on: 04/25/07, 09:35 PM »

Great TR Andy!!  Way to get after it with Armin and Claire... you guys have all been busy!!   Excellent photo's as usual!
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mountains will add years to your life, and life to your years
jcocci
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Re: April 23 - Shuksan, White Salmon Glacier
« Reply #2 on: 04/26/07, 08:24 AM »

I was out at Lake Ann that day and saw you guys coming down from the ridge above Lake Ann that looks at the Curtis Glacier. Saw you coming down from above the Curtis Glacier and then across it. Were you in a gold van that was parked by the gate of the lower lot?
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Jason_H.
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Re: April 23 - Shuksan, White Salmon Glacier
« Reply #3 on: 04/26/07, 04:21 PM »

Awesome, that's a fun route. I saw a picture on another TR somewhere and the Pyramid looked really filled in, too. I wish that I would've had friday or monday off. Ha. They were both nice days!!!

Thanks for the pics.
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AndyMartin
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Re: April 23 - Shuksan, White Salmon Glacier
« Reply #4 on: 04/26/07, 09:22 PM »

jcocci - that was us in the Honda van. We car camped at the logging road turnoff about a quarter mile lower down.
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jcocci
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Re: April 23 - Shuksan, White Salmon Glacier
« Reply #5 on: 04/27/07, 12:23 AM »

jcocci - that was us in the Honda van. We car camped at the logging road turnoff about a quarter mile lower down.

What I meant from my previous post is that I was on the ridge above Lake Ann that looks at the Curtis Glacier and saw you guys coming down. I drove past you guys on the way down right as you were pulling out. I was in a white VW van. Glad the weather held for you guys. Hoping to get up to Shuksan sometime soon.
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skinveen
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Re: April 23 - Shuksan, White Salmon Glacier
« Reply #6 on: 04/29/07, 09:42 AM »

Well done Andy! I had no idea you had such photo skills. That first picture is incredible. If you are ever feeling injured and slow, I would love to get back up with you.

Scott
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Don_B
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Re: April 23 - Shuksan, White Salmon Glacier
« Reply #7 on: 04/29/07, 10:21 AM »

Andy,
Great trip and photos! That is my favorite mountain, but I don't hope to ski it like that!
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wlm3
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Re: April 23 - Shuksan, White Salmon Glacier
« Reply #8 on: 04/30/07, 12:48 PM »

Great to meet the three of you on Eldorado a little over a week ago.  Casey and I were happy to have others to share the beautiful day with. 
Nice job on Shuksan!  -Will-
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