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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-21-2014, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
Off the Beaten Path
runningclouds's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Vancouver, BC
Interest: skiing
Posts: 693
Default 18-19 April 2014, Glacier Peak via White Mountain

The weather forecast was not favourable but it also seemed to be rather uncertain and changing quite a bit so we tried for a lucky break. It did not happen.

The NF-49 road is drivable to 300 m before it forks to the North Fork Sauk River Trail. The last bit is covered by about 40 cm of wet snow, should be gone pretty fast. At one point between mile 5 and 6 there is a spot the Forester just barely cleared (washout, water over the road surface). There is lots of fall down branches and debris on the road.

The North Fork Sauk River Trail #649 has intermittent dirty snow all the way to 1300 m. We skinned from mile 1 but there was a lot of walking, lot of crossing the short bare ground patches on skis. On the way back we had skins on from Mackinaw Shelter back to where we stashed hiking boots, this worked well for the terrain and conditions (rain on wet, dirty snowpack).

Continuous snow from around 1300 m. Made it to about 1850 m on the S side of the ridge between White Mountain and Red Pass before turning back. Around 1800 m the snow changed quite a bit from spring isothermal pack to 6 cm crust buried under 5-10 cm of new snow. The new snow was forming proto sastrugi on the spine of the rib we were skinning up. In the depression between the ribs a weak wind slab (possible cross loading). The storm snow was not bonded uniformly, it was sliding here and sticking there.

Several natural avalanches on S side (size 1-2, estimated 1-2 days old, likely from solar radiation, the biggest run about 250 m, debris field 20 x 20m) seen. No natural avalanche observed on Saturday.

Skiing the steep part sucked, the mellow terrain in the treed avy path bellow was much better but woefully short. A long way to get so little skiing done, good physical and mental workout though.

Slideshow: Attempt at skiing Glacier Peak via White Mountain.
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