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| | |-+  January 29, 2008 Old Pass Hill 4885' Hwy 97
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Author Topic: January 29, 2008 Old Pass Hill 4885' Hwy 97  (Read 2363 times)
John Morrow

Posts: 578

January 29, 2008 Old Pass Hill 4885' Hwy 97
« on: 01/29/08, 08:24 PM »

This one is destined to never be a very popular trip.  But a bunch of factors went into my decision to try it:
1.   The Pass was closed, and the avy danger and trail breaking would have been crazy anyway.
2.   I was tired from getting out Fri., Sat., and Sun. and this one had little of a lateral approach.
3.   South aspect shouldn't be a factor with the new snow and cold temps.
4.   Always fun to ski something off a peakbagger's list: Backcourt 100!
5.   I love skiing through open pine forest.
6.   I was getting tired of the usual secret stash.
7.   It was close to home with the bad roads.

Anyway, Old Pass Hill is northeast of the Swauk Campground on Hwy 97.  I parked in a plowed spot on the north side of the road about 1/2 mile east of the campground entrance, a few miles before Swauk Pass.  Here I simply skinned up the pretty open south trending ridge to the main County Line divide, reaching it just west of the top of Old Pass Hill.  Picture one shows the approach ridge.  Picture two shows the run of about 1200 vertical directly south from the top through the baby fine forest regenerating after a 1970's fire.  I then caught my skin track back up to the County Line Divide.  This time I went west for a second run off another southward trending ridge for 1000 or so vertical feet right back to my car.  It is the ridge in the middle background of picture one and picture three is a closer view.

Snow was a bit of a mix with anywhere from 2 to 12 inches of snow over a crust depending on the wind transport.  Ocassionally the crust broke through, once for a dramatic face plant!

This trip has a short window being so far east of the crest and facing south but should only get better all week with the expected snow and cold!  And besides, it is always fun to be out exploring, especially with the second storm front blowing snow horizontally across the ridgetops!

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« Last Edit: 01/30/08, 10:47 AM by John_Morrow » Logged

Posts: 321

Re: January 29, 2008 Old Pass Hill 4885' Hwy 97
« Reply #1 on: 02/02/08, 12:34 PM »

Thanks for this most useful TR John. I've always wondered about skiing that side of the hill. I used to ski camp right on the top, with access via Road 800 with XC skis. Used to until Jane and I almost got blown off the top on one trip.  Smiley After that I started camping a bit lower down nestled right against the line of trees, protected from the wind.

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