Post subject: dec. 4, mt. baker backcountry - table mtn
Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:01 am
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:35 pm Posts: 66
for my 2nd full backcountry day trip, i went on a tour around table mountain in the mt. baker backcountry with the alpine club of canada (ACC) vancouver section. i don't think i could have asked for a better day weather wise. total bluebird in the PNW is pretty rare.
the 3 skiers in my group. the couple leading the trip were more mountaineers/tourers than powder hounds, the older dude was in it for pow lines like me. all great people though. a view of the giant bowl that we started and ended in with table mtn in the background. lines everywhere. the line we did at the end of the day in red
shots of the long traverse around the back of table mtn that we skinned. first run we did way in the background. this was my first long traverse on a reasonably steep slope. i found my downhill ski kept slipping off the skin track. i mauled it real good for the skier that was bringing up the rear. she suggested i try to edge more by driving my downhill knee into the slope and that helped but i still slipped occasionally. i guess i need to edge more? the skiers didn't have any problems and i'm guessing this was due to their narrower skis allowing them to apply more pressure to their edges.
looking back on the traverse:
looking back on another traverse to our first run:
first run with the line we took. snow was pretty windpacked but the terrain was so fun. gullies and rollers everywhere. would be ridiculous on a pow day
skinning up the back of table mtn. the skin up to this point was so tiring. steep and spring like snow made for a slippery skin track. bought crampons online for my karakorams when i got home.
a quick stop for a group pic before continuing up to a mtn lake. one of these things is not like the others...
crossing the lake:
lines coming down to the lake that i wish we had hit (and will the next time i'm back)
after crossing the lake, another skin up to the "saddle" back into the bowl we started in. looking down at my line. this was the snow i'd been waiting all day for. north facing so it stayed powwy and i guess it was sheltered from the wind cause it was reasonably fluffy (by PNW standards).
a couple riding shots
looking back on my line:
looking back at the bowl on the way back to the parking lot. so many lines to do. the traverse around back was fun but i think i might just lap this bowl next time.
an awesome trip all in all. it was beautiful up there - bluebird and not too cold. got a lot of practice skinning stuff i had never done before, including a lot of downhill skinning, and was happy i didn't slow the skiers down too much (when i asked how quickly he could have done the tour without me, the trip leader said a quarter of the time but i didn't think i was THAT much slower). crampons would definitely have sped things up and made things less tiring. first run was fun but not great snow, last run made the whole trip worth it. definitely going to go back the next chance i get after a pow day. so much to do in that bowl and it's accessible right from the parking lot.
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:18 pm Posts: 886 Location: reiter hills
Sick! nice score on day 2....
I wouldn't worry about your speed. it's a marathons worth of energy. some people finish in 2 hours, some 8. dial in your technique and the rest will follow. being fit doesn't help if you are using up your energy fighting a kick turn.
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:33 am Posts: 166 Location: S.F.
i'm guessing this was due to their narrower skis allowing them to apply more pressure to their edges
and more laterally stiff boots, and longer sidecut radius (that uphill ski that wasn't sliding out has a straight edge no?).
You can make up for some of the disadvantages with technique that improves over time, but get some mr. chomps or voile crampons. They even out the equipment issue and make sidehilling much more tolerable.
I was up on Herman at the same time you were skinning around the side of Table. We left the parking lot by 8 and made the false summit by 10 following the established track up the southwest face that faces mini AK. It was the first day that I had my K'ram crampons out in the snow and I was really happy to have them. It made the kick turns a lot less stressful.
We rode back down the middle of the obvious slide path on the south face and the snow conditions were variable. It was a great day to get out. I should have made the lap of Table on Sunday instead of riding the ski area.
thanks for the comments. i'm sure the skinning will get easier as my technique improves. i'm looking forward to trying out the crampons too. one thing i was very happy with was my kick turns - didn't bail once on any of the steep icy turns i was expecting to have trouble with.
silver, yeah my uphill ski with the straight edge on snow didn't slip out. but i would have thought that my downhill ski with the sidecut on snow would have had better grip than the straight edge.
jason4, this was my first time in that area so i'm not too familiar with all the terrain names. herman is the saddle i guess? where's mini ak? that sounds pretty rad. i guess the lake we crossed is iceberg lake.
The saddle that you came through at the north end of Table Mountain was Herman Saddle and connects Table to Mazama Dome. Mount Herman proper is northeast of that saddle but that is the common name for the false summit that is almost directly above and northwest of the upper parking lot at the ski area. Mini AK is part of the north face of Table Mountain into Bagley Bowl. Bagley Lake is getting harder to see but I bet you skiied across it to get back to the parking lot after riding down from the saddle. Most of this stuff shows up pretty well on google maps.
Glad you had fun up here, make sure you let everyone know how icy it always is at Baker.