Super long, beautiful, Spring skiing was found by Zack Jessel, Rory Robison, Andrew Berner,Tara and Carl Simpson this past week, off of Mt. Rainier’s Little Tahoma. Here’s a short video showing the good Spring fun to be had in the Cascades right now, and for weeks to come! Get out and get some and remember “Live to Ski Another Day!”
The Barrett brothers get the goods at remote camp grizzly in Alaska’s Chugach. They report that, with 2 weeks of high pressure, north and west aspects were skiing beautifully with minimal avy danger –Sled served spring skiing at its finest. Thanks Cole for sharing.
Here’s a short park edit from Tyler Tran’s last trip up to Vancouver’s Mt. Seymour… A fairly quick day get away, for the Bellingham, WA locs.
A new climate change study was released this week: the Third National Climate Assessment: Climate Change Impacts in the United States. Of particular interest to the Snow Troopers are findings impacting our ski industry: the report cites studies by University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group (“CIG”) projecting that by 2025, we could be looking at a Snoqualmie Pass ski season lasting less than 3 months – YIKES:
“Snow model simulations show that average ski conditions at Snoqualmie Pass (Washington) ski area, whose base elevation is about 3000 ft, could change dramatically by 2025. The simulations suggest that the likelihood of opening by Dec. 1 could decline by 50%, average season length could decline by 28%, and the likelihood of rain when the ski area is open could increase by 25%. The changes in snow conditions by 2025 are less pronounced for Stevens Pass (Washington), whose base is at about 4050 ft. The simulations for Stevens Pass suggest that the likelihood of opening by Dec. 1 could decline by 25%, average season length could decline by 14%, and the likelihood of rain when the ski area is open could increase by 50%.”
In this article 49 Degrees North and Stevens Pass talk about how they’re making changes – like moving lifts higher – to survive climate change. What will Snoqualmie Pass do? Only time will tell…As for backcountry skiing and riding in the spring and summer, well, here’s more from the CIG report: “About two-thirds of the glaciated area in the lower 48 states (174 out of 266 sq. miles) is in Washington. Although there are some exceptions, most Washington glaciers are in decline. Declines range from a 7% loss of average glacier area in the North Cascades (1958-1998) to a 49% decline in average area on Mt. Adams (1904-2006)….only 2 of the 12 North Cascades glaciers with annual measurements are expected to survive the current climate.”
Super fun trip edit, Tim Black sent over, of a recent trip to “Keith’s Hut” in Pemberton, BC, (4/25 thru 4/27/14) with Thomas and Tyler Tran. They spent the weekend dodging “Some Clouds”, but as you will see in the video below, they found the goods in the higher elevations. Check it!
The most remote volcano in the state of Washington, Glacier Peak, was the target for Carl Simpson, Jeff Rich and company during last week’s sunny Spring window. Below are Jeff’s notes along with a sweet edit put together by both Jeff and Carl.
We started hiking the North Fork Sauk trail at 3 a.m., Tue. morning. To try and beat the noon day sun that would surely be cooking the south slopes of Red and White pass. You can drive to trail head. There is a slump about 2 miles from the end that may be trouble for a lower clearance car. We booted in to the Mackinaw shelter, as the snow was firm and was not continuous. (on the way out, we skinned 1 1/2 miles past shelter, skinning over the dirt patches with no problem). Arrived at the shelter at 6:30, meeting Chrols, who had hiked in the following evening to try and get some more sleep. He said that the mice tried to carry him away. The trail was in and out of snow till about 4200k, as the following report stated. After ascending the trail, to where it benches out of the avi swath, we took an ascent route through the heavier timber to the lookers left. Grabbed the ridge and melted some water. The wind was blowing steady at 15 mph, at this point. Which was a godsend, as it was keeping us cool and more importantly, the snow pack… We had one little exposed route to Red pass, but with the early hour and the cooler temps. we opted for that , rather than mess around with the cornice infested ridge. The rest of the trip to camp (@ 6600′ on the south lobe of the White Chuck glacier) went with out any hitch. Enjoying the marvelous scenery along the way. The wind was steady at 20 mph with gusts to 35 mph all through the night, so there was no urgency for an early departure the next day. We left camp for the summit at 9 a.m.. Snow was firm and ski crampons were helpful. By the time we had climbed north of Glacier gap, the winds were dissipating. Before arriving on to the Cool Glacier there was not a breath of wind. We easily skinned to the summit, just as the rime was softening. No wind and a t-shirt summit, had us giddy. We had a little memorial service for my GF’s late father, per his request. A F-18 did a barrel role right over the top of us, followed by a B-25 ( from Paine Field?) that circled the mountain at about 8k. By far , one of the best summit parties of my life! I may add that we did not see a single other soul the whole trip. We skied off the summit at 3 p.m., to nice soft rime pillows. Then most of us did the little boot pack up to Disappointment peak. That skied great with about 2″ ski penetration with no wet slide activity.
After skiing down to just below Glacier Gap, we opted to climb up to point 7829′( that splits the upper reaches of the White Chuck Glacier), so that we could have a better fall line ski to our camp. The next morning we broke camp and headed back home at 9a.m. We opted to turn up valley early, (instead of heading to Red Pass again), to a hanging valley and pass just west of White mountain, to try and gain the ridge as soon as possible, before the oppressive heat baked our exit route. Topped the pass at 10:30. The South facing snow was a little baked, but was easily controlled and We made our descent down the gauntlet of slide paths with out any incident. (I surely wouldn’t have wanted to be on those slopes a few hours later, though) We took a nice long break on the sand bars of the Sauk river, and headed for the barn. We arrived at our cars at 4:00, with plenty of time to get some Mexi food and Margaritas in Granite Falls. Here is a little Video I did of the trip. Freebird has a bunch more vid and will post when he finally gets time to do an edit.
Fun times on Snoqualmie Pass, WA this past week. Good dose of sunshine and lots of skiing, included a trip out to the Stompin’ Grounds with Heidi, Matt, Adam and myself. Even though the loose granular was super deep, and sticky/tricky to ski, we had a great time. Note: WET Growlers were found on all sun lit slopes, making me glad we were keeping it safe, on micro BIG terrain (rather than anything 1000+ feet or greater, like the 2000′+ shots found from the summit to the lakes). Glad we soaked up the vitamin D all week, because just like clockwork, the PNW rain returned last night, for the final lift served weekend on Snoqualmie Pass… The weather experts are calling for the next rain free “Western Cascade front” day to fall this upcoming Wednesday. Gore-tex ‘til then, or head East!
Monday morning (4/28/2014), Brian Leahy gave a shout to rally me for a chute he has had his eye on for a while now. The chute, Brian has dubbed “Zig Zag”, is located just outside our Silver Peak playground (or should I say with in the zone?). We caught the chute with somewhat cold snow that far exceeded my expectations. Super fun Monday, that was followed by nothing but full on sunshine all week. Better get out today or tomorrow, because the wet Western front weather returns for the lift served weekend. Might be a good weekend to hit the Eastern slopes!
If you are wondering what this post is all about, by the title, you might be thrown off a little. The Booter Buddy event is a big air comp/festival going off this May 3rd. The 2nd annual event is being held in the backcountry of Alpental (which is no longer the backcountry but the “Back Bowls”). To access the “Back Bowls” you need to obtain a pass from the ski patrol at the top of Edelweiss Chair, no gear or partners required, but highly advised. For this event, which is held on knoll 0, I believe you can view without a “Back Bowl” pass, then swoop right back inbounds for you return to the base area.. Check with the Summit at Snoqualmie for more details on the “Booter Buddy” event and/or getting a “Back Bowl” pass
Below is a short edit of last year’s event.
Fresh tracks, sun and warming temps -that hit 60s today up at Snoqualmie Pass, WA- had us thinking that spring doesn’t get much better than this. TNT, Eric Roose and I tested out the conditions in some safe zones (while we decide on some bigger trips for rest of week) – frontside at the Summit at Snoqualmie’s Central area and old growth trees and lower angles terrain in the backcountry all skied amazingly well – soft and creamy. Last lap had us back at our cars a bit after 7pm – by then the snow was slightly faster, denser but still soft. Remember to keep it safe – around 2ft of snow fell this past week and NW Avalanche Center has raised the avalanche warning to HIGH for “very dangerous avalanche conditions” below and above treeline. We spotted several fractures, slides and sloughing on steep, open bowls and unsupported slopes in the backcountry as well as hip high pin wheels. Live to ski another day!