Alpental Supertour

Chair Peak Circumnav via the Slot/Chair North Slopes/Bryant Couloir. We were going to tag Kaleetan too but it didn’t happen. Suz’s first time in the Slot and knocked off 7500′ vertical to boot! Cap it off with Pie for the People and Dru Bru. The “Pass Life” still giving it up–though, I think the time may be coming to get a little further afield…

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Deepcember To Remember: Alpental Valley Sampler

Last year we skied at Snoqualmie twice and it was only fun because it was so bad. This month, the pass has officially had the snowiest December and the snowiest 1-week period on record! We have been savoring the one hour drive and stellar snow conditions. IMG_3824 IMG_3829 IMG_3832 IMG_3837 IMG_3840 IMG_3841 IMG_3843 IMG_3845 IMG_3847 IMG_3850 IMG_3851 IMG_3852 IMG_3854 IMG_3857 IMG_3858 IMG_3859 IMG_4791.JPG IMG_4793.JPG IMG_4802.JPG


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158″ in 168 hrs.

This was the last 24 hrs. worth…IMG_3815 IMG_3819

After fighting the traffic and the power outages trying to go skiing for days we finally just dug in at Chalet White for a couple days.  The power never came back on at Alpental but we got some touring laps in 8 feet of unconsolidated powder and did a lot of shoveling and playing in the snow.  Being marooned at the pass panned out pretty well after we got invited to a meat feast at an 80s-ski-movie-Playboy-mansion, skied waist deep goodies COMPLETELY alone at Hyak, and got a state patrol escort down from the pass in time for Christmas.

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Winter Strikes Back

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Heliotrope Annual, 11/3/15

IMG_3743IMG_3740 IMG_3741  IMG_3745 IMG_3751 IMG_3752Old reliable delivers again. Nice to ski some powder in the sun and the season is off to a promising start.  LOTS of cracks to fill in in these glaciers, watch out till it stacks up.

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Klickitat: Southwest Chutes, 6/23/15


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Buckner NF Half-Ass: May 7-8 2015


IMG_3337 IMG_3341 IMG_3347IMG_3343 IMG_3364 IMG_3362IMG_3366 IMG_3369 IMG_3375 IMG_3384 IMG_3389 IMG_3390 IMG_3393 IMG_3396 IMG_3398 IMG_3399 IMG_3401 IMG_3409 IMG_3412IMG_3422 We went to look at the north face of Buckner.  Hiked the road again, and headed up the Boston Basin trail with a bunch of food and metal things.  I think the Sahale approach is superior considering all the overhanging alder on the BB trail snagging the skis on our packs.  We exited via Sahale Arm and I think it would have been just as efficient (and more scenic) to approach this way and wrap around onto the Quien Sabe from there.  Even after the winter route melts out it seems that you could leave the Cascade Pass trail at the top of the initial switchbacks and start skiing shortly thereafter by cutting the corner behind Sahale Arm.

We built a plush camp in the warm afternoon sun complete with a couch, dining table and a toilet.  The sunset was acceptably scenic and the stars even better.  In the morning, we reluctantly followed the guidebook route from Boston/Sahale col.  I don’t think this is a viable route in winter conditions due to steep snow and overhanging cornices.  We downclimbed and booted up a gully to directly access the notch where a short snow traverse puts you onto the Boston Glacier.  While not trivial, this seems like a reasonable route.  Sharkfin Col or the westernmost notch east of Boston Peak may or may not be better alternatives.

Ry-Whi didn’t like the stakes of the next snow traverse and T-Cup was not feeling well.  We should have eaten some food and taken a look as sometimes that is all it takes to get the mojo back but I guess we weren’t feeling the magic.  As soon as a nap at camp was on the table it kind of just fell apart. So we went down.  As consolation, we headed back up to ski the west face of Sahale but it didn’t soften so we skied back to camp and back to the road and walked back to the car. We got some good corn turns and more impressive views on the way down.

I feel overdue for a successful “big” trip.   It has been difficult getting partners on the same page as far as goals and motivation are concerned, let alone getting schedules and weather to align.  It is hard to find a balance between pushing toward a goal and being content to just be out in the mountains. Both are important. I see our motivations and risk tolerances evolving season by season and I’m getting better at being less disappointed when a trip doesn’t work out. Still, failing to prepare properly or giving in to laziness are reasons for bailing that leave a bitter taste in my mouth.  But I guess that tension is what climbing is all about.  We will have to try this one again too and hopefully the momentum swings back.  At the very least, not a bad place to spend the night!

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