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 Post subject: Pyramid Peak area (N. Cascades) 3-18/19
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:35 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 6:48 am
Posts: 207
Location: WA
With the cold temps and lower freezing levels there was sure to be powder out there, even though it was already a week old. My intentions of a Rainier chutefest on possible corn or crust was put off by the temptation of powder. And just like that on Friday (St Patty's) I was headed to Eli's in West Seattle. After consuming my fill of guiness at the local Irish pub everyone was sound asleep by 2am or so. 6am came quick I tell you! By 6:20 Eli and I were on the road headed towards Pyramid Lakes trailhead in the heart of the North Cascades.

9:30am we started hiking from the trailhead. Clouds were in and out with sunbreaks and sparse snow coverage around 1000ft. So our original plan was to do Snowfield Peak (8400ft) and camp at the Colonial-Neve glacier col at 6800ft, which was around 6 miles in. Well after traversing treed slopes on a 30 to 45 degree pitch for 2k and what seemed like an eternity of zig-zagging both of our legs were feeling it, especially while shouldering overnight packs. Before gaining the ridge it started snowing and soon after we bumped into another splitter and freeheeler from Portland.

Colonial Peak and it's many possible/suicidal lines...
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After boiling some water and making hot chocolate we continued with our crazy steep traverse under cliff bands and tight trees until found a nice shoulder around 5400ft. With 20 degree temps predicted down in the valley and a clear night, we decided digging a snow cave would be warmer than crashing in our bivys outside. It was definitly a good idea since our shells had frozen stiff. After a well deserved dinner and a good visit from our mexican cousin Jose it was lights out.

Again the morning came too soon. The clouds from previous day gave way to nothing but sun. With our goal still set on Snowfield Peak we traversed until we came across this...
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According to Burgdofer in order to continue we had to descend a 200ft slope around 40/45 degrees, which appeared to be wind loaded and deep. Then we would have to traverse underneath the cliffs seen on the right and skin up and traverse under what you see in the background until the obvious col middle left. Neither of us were real excited at the idea that we would have to boot up the 200ft pitch on the way out. The day before we bumped into two dudes from Portland and talk of climbing it together ensued. Maybe with 4 of us it might have been doable but they were nowhere to be found. What we needed was another day but that wouldn't work of either of us.

So we had to settle for this...
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And this...
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After some laps in 1-2ft of goodness a decision was made not to retrace our ascent and all that traversing. That's when we stumbled into this gem of a line...
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2k of nice protected powder!
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Like I mentioned before neither of us wanted nothing to do with the torture we endured on our ascent so we decided to ride it out to the valley floor. Eventually when the snow got thinner it became frozen and tricky.

Hmmm...Eli thinking how in the hell am I gonna get down this?
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This was one of two sections where we had to negotiate. After this it was vine maple assisted ski for Eli and board/skin for me before deciding to shoulder them around 2000ft.

Back at Eli's pad it was burgers and guinys with this view of the sun setting on the Olympics...
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And this interesting advertisement...
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:59 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2006 11:01 am
Posts: 28
Location: massachusetts
Awesome TR. Curious, any pics of your snowcave. On the East Coast we/I havent used or seen any. Your trip sounded awesome.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:55 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 6:48 am
Posts: 207
Location: WA
Sorry no pics of the snowcave. It was so damn cold that it hurt to expose anything, even our faces. We dug, ate, swilled some Jose and crashed. My gloves were still partly frozen when I arrived back at the car...the next day


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 12:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm
Posts: 4958
Location: California
Great stuff snoslut! 8)

I'm really stoked you started adding pics to your TRs. There are some sweet one in there!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:29 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 6:51 pm
Posts: 203
Location: PNW
Nice, way to get out there. Man doesn't it suck when you have to settle for acres of untouched powder? :D

We slogged a ways up Baker this weekend under beautiful skies. There is so much snow right now, it's unbelievable. We had to start skinning at 1300 feet!

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