Post subject: The Osceola Traverse 3/6-10: Mount Rainier National Park
Posted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:54 pm
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:40 pm Posts: 527
Sometimes I come up with some crazy ideas. I look at topographical maps a minimum of an hour everyday. "Well maybe I could go climb over, down and around these mountains and hopefully I can make it out here". This was one of those ideas and like others Hummel thought I was crazy. I admit there have been a few times that I could tell he was not stoked to go on a trip but this one was comparable to when I persuaded him to do Goode. I've only heard that tone a handful of times
So here is a trip that took 3 years of convincing............
Contour the northside of Rainier starting at the Carbon River then ending at White River where a snowmobile (Thanks Boot) would assist us back to the Crystal snowpark.
One thing I loved about this tour was that it had minimal traverses, it was set up for and by a snowboarder. Each day we would put it low angle skin tracks on smooth canvases of snow, ride down a big line, then skin up the next mountain.
Our team in crime was Ben Starky, Jason Hummel and I and here were are nowhere near snow level.
Over the next few hours we wondered through the woods and found ourselves at Tolomie Peak.
Sadly someone locked it! :bawl:
Since we still hadn't snowboarded much yet we decided to ride all the way down to the Mowich lake road then skin up to the Campgrounds where we slept right next to the lake outlet which gave us access to water.
Our home for the next 3 days. A Katabatic tent with only 4 poles and no rain fly.
Here is a happy Hummel. It seems the NeoAir is all the rage these days.
Imagine waking up to this knowing you are going to have to put it on.
It's painful watching the sun slowly rise when you are in the darkness of the valley.
After a 30 minute ordeal of putting on frozen snowboard boots we made our way out into the sun which happened to be on Mowich Lake.
The first thing you learn skiing in the backcountry is there are no trails, so instead we made our own.
It was Jasons first time up to Knapsack Pass and we both agreed "Eagle Ridge to Spray Park is one of the more annoying trails in the park".
Silly Telemarkers :huh:
From here on it was uninterrupted sunshine for hours on end and a fresh canvas of snow to put a skin track on amazing slopes.
Ever wonder what Spray Park looks like in Winter?
Look at that skin track
No trip to Spray park is complete without checking out Echo Rock. Here Ben is stoked to eat his Pastrami sandwich.
Now back to skinning.
The view was nice.
and the shadow lines were unreal.
We felt like Giants until we looked up.
Soon enough we made it to our highpoint on the Russell Glacier.
and Snowboarded Powder.
Over 3000 feet of it!
Turns out the Carbon is a rather dark and inhospitable place.
We made it up onto Curtis Ridge just as the light show began.
and Ben enjoyed his second day ever being on the North side of the park.
and rode some pow to a place we found fitting for camp.
We thought it couldn't get any colder
We were wrong.
The next morning we woke to the sunrise and smiled as we looked up at our snowboard tracks.
Then it was back to work putting in a clean skin track
It was cold under the Willis Wall
Hours and hours of breaking trail
All for a 4000 foot powder run
What looks nicer a tele turn or............
A snowboard turn. Here is Ben enjoying a bit of pow on the Emmons
I don't know if I am telling Hummel he is crazy or I really have to take a piss.
Soon enough we were near the Toe of the Winthrop and it's time to break trail up Granite Creek.
After a few minutes of steep sidehilling we made our way up the creek.
and finally broke into the alpine once again.
it was time to put in a gorgeous skin track.
So that's what we did
Occasionally stopping to take in the views. Yes I ski tour in cotton!
Don't ask what is going on here. On top of the second Burrough
I have seen this view hundreds of times. To see it in the winter had become an obsession.
Enough of the sentimental stuff lets get back to snowboarding. Pow riding off the N face of the 2nd burrough to Berkley Park.
and back to putting in some skin track art.
and enjoyed our last sunset of the trip and rode the east face of the 1st Burrough.
We skinned to dusk racing to get to Sunrise before needing to use headlamps. Once arriving we had a wild party on top of the Visitor Center.
before calling it a night.
Being wild and crazy Ben and I woke up at 4 a.m. the next day and skinned a few miles down the Sunrise road and watched the sunrise from Dege Peak.
and rode yet again amazing NE facing powder.
Once again this was a peak I had drooled at for over a decade dreaming of getting it in pow conditions. I would stare at it day after day from the summit of Crystal Mountain
The peak on the far right side (we also skied the two far ridges in the background)
We looked up at our tracks for what felt like hours but was more like a few minutes.
Before heading back to Sunrise and waking up sleeping beauty (AKA Mr Hummel).
I love when terrain works in your benefit and directly across the parking lot was a chute that went fall line to the White River Campground.
Which is still covered in a tad bit of snow.
and were saved by "Our hero" Boot!.
Hummel being the Badass he is decided to continue the traverse adding in 16 miles of road while Ben and I relaxed on the sled.
In total it was 36 miles ,18,000 feet and 4 days.
and I am proud to say.....
Hummel got worked!
As Seth Waterfall said so eloquently "southcentralcascadesrules4life!!! "