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“Six leave int a storm…”

Skyline Ridge, Stevens Pass

 

Hippy turns at Skyline Ridge in a blizzard –(aka Heather Ridge)

Jan 12, 2013

Zack, Jeff, Eric, Silas, Jerry, Peter and Franklin

Weather: Still a blizzard, high winds and snowing, temps in the upper 20’s rising by end of to rain at 5:30p

 

Prequel

It’s still stormy, temps stayed cold last night.  We figure conditions will be volatile, and the resort is a mob scene.  Silas brought up a car load and we headed up for safe routes on Skyline Ridge.

 

Safety is number one, and two and…

We gathered at Jeff’s in the RV lot at Steven’s, then headed across the highway bridge and up the track to the ridge. 

 

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Half way up we passed a guide and his Avy 1 course group. 

 

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Jerry did a slope, layer, snow check. Before the Verizon tower (4700’) a postholer, getting his exercise while healing a spinal injury. 

Up toward the lake we passed Doug who had camped at the lake in the blizzard and was coming downhill.  Small world!  I stopped to chat and when catching up with the group, they had done the second big snow check of the day.  We headed to the ridge east of the lake then headed east up the ridge.  Slow and checking crossing a slope.  Then at the next the conditions warranted turning back (11am, c5321’).  On to option “B”. 

 

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Contemplating option “A”

 

Option “B”

We dropped a mellower slope north through the trees to the creek at c4100’.  A good run and only two snowboard tracks seen.  Silas had veered left and we had arranged for a group split to meet at the top (three and three). 

 

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Jeff and Silas from the top

 

Jeff broke a great trail up and ran into the other groups skin track.  It seemed like a long way up.  Less than 50 minutes (1:06p, c5239’) we were again back on the ridge. 

 

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At the ridge the avy group was checking out a pit.  We took a break, drank and ate, and headed again north for lap 2.  A short drop, taking turns, a flattish traverse and some beautifully gladed big trees. 

 

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We took turns playing on bumps and pow to c4496’ this time.  At the bottom a good bump to jump.  Then back up our previous skin track. 

 

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Would I make it?  Last time I felt worked.  This time we were at the same spot on the ridge again in less than 20 minutes (c5239’) not bad, maybe another run?  We ate and contemplated options.  Silas took the direct run down the south face while the rest of the crew headed to the relay tower (c5146’, 4.7m, 2:30p), de-skinned and headed to the SE ridge. 

 

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More care on this slope.  Navigation to keep away from steeper ready to slide slopes. 

 

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Jeff had the urge to drop a good size rock drop, then we got in more turns til a few hundred (or less) feet above the PTC. 

 

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The last bit was tighter trees and slide alder and rapidly increasingly wet snow.  We landed on the PTC all smiles from a good day (c3920’, 5.3m, 3:11p).  A quick re-applying of the skins and a shuffle back to the parking lot.  Skiers walking down the bridge as we skinned up it.  The RV lot looked like an apocalyptic scene.  Piles of snow, people shoveling, vehicles in random positions and a bobcat moving snow.

 

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Back at the RV, we had another fine Jeff nacho ski après as the temps warmed.

 

Again, timing is everything.

Thanks guys for another great tour

And thank you for reading, and happy turns,

Franklin

 

Stats:

Ascent/descent: 6.2m, +/-3782vert, 5h50m

 

Gear:    Skins, of course avy gear!

 

Map:

 

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