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Glacier N.P., MT – Glacier Season #3: Taco Life

Glacier N.P.,...

09
Jul

This past June 6th, a gang of Snow Troopers headed for Glacier, WA to kick off a weekend filled with good friends, campfires, guitars, and sun cup skiing. Every year we try to get up at least a couple times during the “Summer time” to soak it all in. This trip I was extra stoked, because Hugo Harrison had given us shout mid May for a final ski before the Summer mode up in Pemberton/Whistler. We watched the weather for weeks and it never panned out, so the first week of June was looking like we could dodge the Spring rain bullet, so we rolled the dice and went for it. We showed up on Friday afternoon to fantastic weather in Glacier, thinking it would be choice the following day too (calling for 30 percent chance of showers).

We woke up the next morning to a very light drizzle (which we have all seen before in the early hours of prior trips), but by the time we arrived at Heather Meadows, the drizzle had become full on rain! We all decided to chill in Zack’s killer Sprinter van and wait out the storm with stories, nonsense and laughs. I should say all of us, except “young” Andrew Eckels who is know for not being able to sit still for more than 5 minutes at a time. Therefore, in 15 minutes he had mentioned 3 times of the weather looking like it was clearing, “so let’s move everyone!” He had no luck with the group except for two suckers he talked into joining him on a sketchy Mt. Herman adventure ( now in sideways 20 mph rain). Those two suckers were Jerad Merbs and Andrews friend, Frazier. Once they hit the summit and did some micro laps up on top, they skied down Bagley Lakes to hook up with the rest of the group which was now moving uphill too. The rest of the group included Sting, Zack Jessel, Jeff Rich, Woods, Carl Simpson and Hugo Harrison. As the group reached Artist Point the clouds started to lift. Just when it was time to click in and ski off Table the sun started to SHINE and the good times began. Even though the bulk of the day was spent shooting the breeze in the Sprinter Van, the good finish to the day sure sent everyone home feeling much more satisfied (and tired). Below is the video with some of the highlights. To take a look HERE for Sting’s original post along with her pics



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03
Jul
tntruth

TNT boots up sun cups of lower Mt. Ruth

On our last day at Mt. Rainier, WA (this past Sunday), we heard it hit 95 degrees down in the foothills along the i-90 corridor on the eastside of Seattle. Needless to say, we were glad to still be on Mt. Rainier where temps remained much lower. Our crew split up with many opting to head higher to Paradise. However, we decided to stay and hike the Glacier Basin trail where we could park in some shade (at the White River campground) for Trooper dog.  Turns out the 3.5 mile (1,280 vertical ft) hike up was a helluva lot drier than last year – we weren’t able to put skins on until after reaching Glacier Basin wilderness camp (elevation 5,965 ft). Those who question the effects of global warming need only do a hike on a hot, sunny day where there are patches of snow: the huge temperature difference between hiking on dry land vs. on snow will have you convinced about the dramatic accelerated warming that occurs when we start to lose our glaciers. Fortunately, much of the trail up to Glacier Basin camp is shaded. The camp itself is still under snow but it’s getting patchy. What’s left around Glacier Basin and lower Mt. Ruth and Inter Glacier are pretty sun cupped – more so than we’re used to this time of the year in Washington. The better snow looks to be above 7000 ft. We’ll have video of the conditions soon so please visit again. In the meantime, take a look at the photos. If you’re headed that way, look out for a black bear (brown color)- it’s following Glacier Basin campers around looking for food. The rangers told us the bear’s a few years old, become habituated to people and will go through your pack if you leave it unattended. The bear hasn’t become aggressive yet and rangers would like folks to help scare the bear to keep it that way – haze it with lots of noise, sticks and stones in the butt – watch the video to see how they do it. They’d like us to help remind folks that this is a wild animal and we’re on its turf so don’t approach it and take any chances. He’s not Yogi Bear and this is not Jellystone Park (and if you didn’t know, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park exists as a chain of campground resorts! Outside of the Pacific NW where we have the real deal). Live to ski another day!

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01
Jul
sunrise

Sunrise area

With Washington and the rest of the West under an extreme heat advisory (record of nearly 90+ degrees in Seattle today), we were stoked to be chilling at the opening day of Mt. Rainier’s road to the Sunrise visitor area. Temps there felt like they remained in the 70s on Friday and Saturday. Very comfortable indeed. We were joined by a strong crew of friends (Silas Wild, Carl Simpson, Zack Jessel, Jeff Rich, etc.) who hit the Burroughs on day 1 before heading out to Dege Peak on day 2 with us. This is probably the warmest weather we’ve had on Sunrise’s opening weekend (which is a week earlier than last year). So unlike past years, we found the snow levels much lower – perhaps around 2-3 feet lower. There was only one way to skin to Burroughs from the Sunrise parking lot (with bare spots along the way) but if you missed it this past weekend, don’t expect to find it there anymore. Other trails in the area were similarly (or completely) melted out so be prepared for increasingly longer hikes in as the days go by. For Saturday, we headed for Dege Peak at 7,006 ft and the Sourdough ridge to Antler Peak at 7,017 ft -it was the closest zone offering this tireless crew multiple laps of 1,000+ ft. We parked at Sunrise Point parking lot (elevation 6,100 ft -it’s the lower lot at the hairpin turn before reaching the end of the road to Sunrise visitor area). The trailhead is just across the street. You can either hike the whole way 1.4 miles or, if there’s still snow after this week, ski down after a short hike in and then skin/boot up the face for about a 1500 vertical foot ski. We’ll have video soon so please check back again. In the meantime, here’re some photos from the day. Awesome sunsets at Sunrise!


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27
Jun

This trip report for our Alpine Lakes “2nd full day of Summer” tour, actually began the evening before up on Silver Peak. An evening solstice ski took place June 21st up on Silver Peak with apx 20 snow riders joining the fun. The pic to the left is the first sunset of Summer, it was truly amazing, (look for the time lapse in the beginning of the video that Carl Simpson captured from Silver Peak’s Cirque).


The following morning, Carl Simpson, Jeff Rich, Zack Jessel, Silas Wild, Eric Roose and Jim Dockery all met me in the Hyak parking lot to begin our first Summer tour of the year, right here in the front yard (and most likely one of the last of the year at the lower elevations). This was an epic day with some awesome friends, one I will never forget… It’s captured in the video below, I tried to get this video down to 5 minutes or so, but failed having so many memories from one day. Check play to start your day, get pumped, then join us at Mt. Rainier’s Sunrise for a little fresh snow this Friday!



Below – The gang waiting for Silas and Eric to drop from peak 5606′ for the Lake Lillian pond skim. Yeah that’s right, the lake is still covered with snow!?!


 

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26
Jun

sunriserainier1

The sun’s supposed to come out this Friday. Just in time for the opening of Sunrise Road in Mt. Rainier National Park. We plan to be there – 8am on June 28th is what the White River station ranger told us today. That’s one week earlier than last year’s opening of the road. With only road crews up there thus far, the ranger couldn’t confirm snow depth. However, with Glacier Basin camp (elevation 5965ft) still under 3-5ft of snow, we can expect to be skinning from the Sunrise parking lot which is at a higher elevation of 6,400ft -the highest road in the park. The Sunrise area offers endless backcountry skiing and riding from the parking lot and what we think are the best views of Mount Rainier and the Emmons glacier. The road to the White River campground is already open but the campground itself will open at the same time as Sunrise road. The White River campground is snow free. The snow level on the Glacier Basin trail and between Sunrise and White River campground is estimated to be at about 5300ft. If you’re planning to travel above 8700ft (to Interglacier’s Steamboat Prow 9702ft or adjacent Camp Sherman, for instance), be sure to check for snowfall and avalanche dangers. At last check today, NOAA’s forecasting up to 5″ of new snow at or above around 9000ft by tomorrow. NOAA’s also forecasting Seattle’s temps to reach 80 on Friday and climb from there all weekend long. Sounds like Sunrise will be the perfect place to go to escape the heat (NOAA’s point forecast below) and do car laps. At least that’s what we have in mind. See you there? No need to start too early. Our sun doesn’t set until 9:11pm on Friday (sun rises for almost 16hrs now). As if that doesn’t sound good enough, below is last year’s video from Interglacier to give you a view into what could be 4500ft (or more?) of glorious backcountry skiing and riding this weekend. Sunrise is located 60 miles northeast of the Nisqually Entrance and 14 miles northwest of the Sunrise/White River turnoff on Highway 410. Happy summer and Live to ski another day!

 

 

Point Forecast: Sunrise WA 46.92°N 121.64°W (Elev. 6186 ft)

  1. Friday: 30 percent chance of showers after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 67. Light and variable wind becoming west southwest 5 to 7 mph in the afternoon.
  2. Friday Night: 30 percent chance of showers before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 47.
  3. Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 67.
  4. Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 48.
  5. Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 70.
  6. Sunday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 49.
  7. Monday: Sunny, with a high near 74.
  8. Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 51.
  9. Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 77.
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25
Jun

g3

Lots of ski clearance sales going on now. However, before you run out and get last season’s skis, take a look at what G3 has to offer. Over the last few years, G3 has put a lot of R&D into expanding their ski product line. In addition to skis, they now make splitboards! Their 2012-13 line up was impressive. But next season’s is even better. Snow Trooper athletes, Mike and Andy Traslin are proud to be sponsored by G3. In fact, I personally found some favorites amongst their women’s line (Empress rocks!). Check out the goods in this video with Oliver Steffen, President and Founder of G3.

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18
Jun

Black Diamond just sent out the results of an investigation into household chemicals that interact with climbing gear. What prompted the investigation was a climbing harness failure -fortunately, it happened at a climbing gym and no one was injured. If you use climbing ropes, harnesses or other gear for climbing or mountaineering, please read the story. Black Diamond’s Quality Assurance team and the Snow Troopers want everyone to stay safe out there. Live to ski another day.

 

chart2

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16
Jun

This weekend I took Trooper dog for a nice walk up into the Rocky Run zone today and yesterday. I had planned to shoot for Rampart Lakes today but another afternoon start and the weather that turned for the worse around 5PM, I once again stayed around Lake Lillian. Below is a short conditions vid (minus footy of the nasty billy goat trail that leads to the fun). Almost time for this Snow Trooper to start driving for the better/higher snow on the volcanos.


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13
Jun

I wanted to share this video a friend of a friend sent our way, showcasing 11 year old Cody LaPlante who throws down like a champ in the Tahoe zone (and doing so for YEARS now as seen in video below, so click and look out for him in years to come).



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12
Jun

crystalviewWondering where to ski and ride this June 15-16 weekend? Look no further than the Pacific NW – Washington and Oregon have the only 2 ski areas open to the public for lift served skiing and snowboarding this weekend. Crystal Mountain, WA will run its gondola and Green Valley lift from 8:30am – 3pm to access terrain on the upper mountain. Mt. Hood Timberline will run its Magic Mile and Palmer lifts from 7am-2pm for top to bottom access on a 72″ base. This is Crystal Mountain’s final weekend of skiing and riding so get it while you can. If the forecast is right, we’re looking at shorts and t-shirt weather all weekend long. Don’t forget the sunblock – we’re getting about 16hrs of daylight up here in WA now.

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