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| | |-+  June 25, 2003, Pugh Mnt: North Couloir
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Author Topic: June 25, 2003, Pugh Mnt: North Couloir  (Read 3143 times)
kam
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June 25, 2003, Pugh Mnt: North Couloir
« on: 06/26/03, 06:05 AM »

Fresh hand-shucked corn found in the north couloir of Pugh mountain (elev. 7201)!  I was intrigued by the idea of skiing the couloir after I noticed it hiking Pugh mountain two summers ago ( Click here for a photo of the couloir shot in early September).  Back then I thought, "Wow, this would be a nice ski!"  In fact, this is a fantastic ski!

I managed to talk Ingrid and Chris into exploring it with me. Since the couloir requires a bit work to get to, I suggested that after skiing the couloir we follow Stujack creek down to the White Chuck river, finally intercepting FR 23.  Our options of getting back to the TH were either to ride bikes or use the California carpool system (i.e., leaving a car on FR 23). Ingrid was really into the bikes idea.  On the other hand, Chris thought we were both nuts and he was more than happy to use his car as the get-away vehicle.  It would have been a 9-mile ride back to the TH: the first 3.5-miles descends to the Mountain Loop highway and the rest is uphill.  So there you have it, the solution to the minimum energy problem.

Getting to the TH of Pugh mountain is easy: drive about 14-miles past Darrington on the Mountain Loop highway, hang a left on Road 2095, then drive about a mile to the TH.  We dropped off the get-away vehicle about 3.5-miles into FR 23, from the Mountain Loop highway.  There's a nice turnout where Stujack creek intercepts FR 23.  At this locale, Pugh mountain and the north couloir is not visible because of the dense growth, but if you look carefully, the bushwhacking is doable Grin.

The TH starts at 1900', climbs to the small Lake Metan (nice swim), then continues to Stujack Pass (~5600'). From the pass, the trail climbs southeast, eventually gaining a ridge which leads to the top of the couloir (~6400') and the start of the scramble to Pugh mountain.  You can't miss the couloir, it's HUGE and gently sloped.  We left the TH at 9:30am and made it to the top of the couloir in about 3 hours.  We ran into snow at the top of Stujack pass.  Without snow, the summer trail is very easy.  On the other hand, snow cover adds a little excitement (i.e., exposure).  We brought and used axes.



The snow in the couloir felt great, about 2" of corn on a firm base.  It also looked like last weekend's weather deposited a trace of new snow, subsequently covering up developing sun cups.  A small glacier resides at the top of the couloir and Chris remembers seeing a few small cracks here and there during late summer.  I remember more the moat/b-shrung, nothing too threatening but we kept our eyes open anyway.  The couloir is very gentle and WIDE.  This would be a great ski too earlier in the season, but one thing to keep in mind are the steep slopes that drain into the couloir.  There was noticeable trace of avi debris at the bottom, otherwise very smooth.  We skied down to ~4800' where the snow ended.  It was turn after turn of great skiing.  At the bottom, we decided to save the bush whacking for another day, and climbed back to the top to descend our ascent route.  Overall, if you don't mind the approach, this is a great ski.

Here's a mini-movie of the ski:
http://www.leang.com/kam/gallery/movies/

-kam
« Last Edit: 06/26/03, 12:09 PM by kam » Logged

What do you mean you didn't bring skis?
wickstad
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Re: June 25, 2003, Pugh Mnt: North Couloir
« Reply #1 on: 06/26/03, 07:36 AM »

hey kam.

nice work!

is the only way in to the couloir from the top?
i.e. on your return did you climb all the way to the top then backtrack the ridge?
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ron j
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Re: June 25, 2003, Pugh Mnt: North Couloir
« Reply #2 on: 06/26/03, 10:08 AM »

Woo Hoo!
You nailed it.  Outstanding.
Well Done.
Great Vidy, too.
So you ended up not using the "get away car"?
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"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
kam
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Re: June 25, 2003, Pugh Mnt: North Couloir
« Reply #3 on: 06/26/03, 12:45 PM »

wickstad:

We climbed just shy of a few hundred feet from the top, then traversed to the ridge trail.  It looked easier to stay in the couloir than to scramble up mixed snow and rock.  We didn't look carefully, but there's probably another exit option without having to bush whack down to FR 23.

-kam
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What do you mean you didn't bring skis?
Mad_Dog
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Re: June 25, 2003, Pugh Mnt: North Couloir
« Reply #4 on: 06/26/03, 04:37 PM »

nice report and photos, thanks for sharing.
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