Here’s a short ( June 2, 2014 ) visual update of the snow removal from Heather Meadows to Artist Point. The 3 man crew, running 2 dozers and 1 snowblower, were working their way up the switchback, just below Austin Pass. I ran into E.Beam and his new family member, Coco, a fine 2 1/2 year old rescue pup. I joined them for a quick lap on the Horn. Coco was beyond happy, out on her first ever ski adventure. After seeing Coco bomb down the mountain, I would have to say she is now hooked on skiing and her new life! The only bummer of the day for me, was somehow getting a perfectly BLURRY long shot of Coco’s first ever descent. The skiing was great June fun and it’s looking like a great start to this upcoming weekend. The sun cups are out there in the lower zones, but they still are soft and clean, so get it while it’s good!
Watson Traverse was just completed by some Snow Troopers this past Saturday, the 31st of May. They had excellent conditions on the Park Headwall as you will see in the sweet video Jeff Rich banged out somehow in between all of his volcano “Shreds”. Below are a few notes from Jeff in regards to the epic trip.
This edit is of the Watson Traverse that I did with 10 other fellow skiers & a splitboarder.The traverse starts out at the NW corner of Mt.Baker, Climbs over the summit, descends the Steep East face, & a long traverse over to the Mt. Baker ski resort. There is over 9K of vertical elevation gain and 16+ miles of travel. With a Very experienced and strong group, We pulled the trip off with out even a glitch. Thanks all, for the great memory and ski!
I must also add that 5 others did this trip as well. Who? Lowell Skoog & crew. Lowell was responsible for archiving and naming the traverse of the first pioneers that completed this route 75 years ago.
This past Monday (as I was walking around the Mt. Baker zone) Jeff Rich, David O’Donnell, Tara and Carl Simpson were all chowin’ down on a HUGE “Fryingpan” of saute’ed corn. The Fryingpan Glacier is found via the Sunrise entrance to the Mt. Rainier National Park. Beautiful area with nice campgrounds close (especially when the White River CG opens for the season with in the next few weeks).
photo credit/Tara Simpson
Here’s a video from Chinook Pass, WA during the opening weekend courtesy of Carl Simpson, Tara Simpson and crew. The 5,430 ft high pass opened on May 23, 2014 for the summer season. So if you’re looking for an easy to get to area for backcountry skiing and riding in June, check out Chinook Pass – serving up car laps now. If you’re headed there, note that WSDOT is reporting that traffic is reduced to single lane alternating traffic east of the pass through a 150-foot section where the barrier and guardrail was damaged from snow and avalanches so minor delays are expected.
The road to White River Campground in (and according to) Mt. Rainier National Park is scheduled to open tomorrow, May 30th at Noon. The campground itself remains closed until further notice. Next up could be Artist Point. This week, WSDOT began clearing that 2.7 mile stretch of the Mt. Baker Highway (SR 542) that ends at Artist Point. They are expecting it to take about a month – meaning a possible opening by July 1st (same date as last year’s opening as seen in video below with Hugo Harrison). Mt. Rainier National Park estimates Sunrise will open on July 3rd – meaning White River Campground will open at or before that date. Looks like there’s going to be a ton of choices for backcountry skiing and riding In Washington come July 4th weekend….Stay tuned.
The final video for our 2014 Washington Pass visit is finally finished… Hope you can take one more North Cascade Spring stoke!?!? This was our final day on the pass (5/16), and we went old school by hitting “Sally Portman’s Birthday Tour”, changing it up slightly, but keeping on track so we could get a little N.Cascade mogul skiing for our final descent back to the hairpin.
Sweet one from this past week up in the Cascade Pass, WA zone. Wishin’ I didn’t miss out on this one, but stoked so many cams were rolling to bring it to our computer screens. Below are some notes from Jeff Rich along with a sweet edit that he and Carl Simpson put together.
A group of us headed up to the Cascade Pass area for a few days, to take advantage of the nice weather. The tree that was blocking the road is now cleared and travel to the upper locked gate is no problem. The road above the gate is snow free within 1/3 mile of the Picnic/trail head area. Travel to the Pass is easy and straight forward. We opted for the short boot pack up the little head wall to the pass, but the north trending traverse is filled in nicely and was soft. We skied Sahale the first day with great snow all the way down to Doubtful lake. The following day, We headed down the Pelton Basin to ski some steeper lines, with the exception of a few others of our group that had such a great time on Sahale, the day prior, they just had to get her again. Our main objective was not in shape, but we had a great consolation prize of skiing from the top of Pelton Peak. Cascade Pass is Prime!
On our somewhat recent trip to Washington Pass, we had all sorts of cams rolling as BIG lines were slayed, capturing far too many clips for one vid. Not wanting to archive so many good clips, we decided to go for 3 vids. Well, that was looking good until, I chopped up “take 3″ and it looks like there will be one more fairly short video dropping in a couple dayz (“take 4 – Birthday Tour). That will wrap up our WA Pass adventures for this year, pushing us higher into the volcano zones for the upcoming Summer/Fall seasons. Also, if you like the kick ass photograph above, by Jason Hummel, then be sure to check out more of his art by giving his facebook page “Jason Hummel Photography” a like.
With more backcountry terrain becoming accessible in Washington on a daily basis now, you’ll want to check out the latest version of USGS’ free US Topo maps for WA. The update includes segments of the Pacific Crest and Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trails along with other improved layers. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail passes through the recently opened Chinook Pass and North Cascades Highway. In total, that trail covers a distance of 2,650 miles from California at the Mexico border, through Oregon and Washington, all the way up to the Canadian border. The PCT is one of the original National Scenic Trails established by Congress in the 1968 National Trails System Act and 54% of the trail lies within designated wilderness. Every year, the Snow Troopers see scores of hikers going through Snoqualmie Pass (a popular rest stop) as they attempt to complete the entire stretch of the PCT. The Pacific Northwest Trail begins near the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park and travels more than 1,200 miles through Montana, Idaho, and Washington, including some of the most beautiful stretches of the North Cascades National Park complex, before reaching its western terminus at the Pacific Ocean near Cape Alava.
These new maps replace the first edition US Topo maps for Washington and are available for free download from The National Map and the USGS Map Locator & Downloader website. As with all US Topo map updates, the replaced maps will be added to the USGS Historical Topographic Map Collection and are also available for download. Before heading out into the backcountry, remember to always pack a map and other “Essentials”. Live to ski another day!
Hooray for our WSDOT teams on getting Chinook Pass cleared in time to open tomorrow, May 23, 2014 at Noon for the Memorial Day weekend. The 5,430ft Chinook Pass summit is one of our favorites. Check out this video featuring WSDOT’s Avalanche Specialist, John Stimberis, and former Crystal Mountain’s King of the Hill, Andy DeVore, from a past opening day at Chinook Pass to see why. Study up on all the incredible terrain with the definitive guide by Martin Volken and his team at Pro Guiding Service: Backcountry Ski and Snowboard Routes Washington. Live to ski another day!