Post subject: 1/15/10: Heather Ridge/Moonlight Bowl (Stevens Pass)
Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:11 pm
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:14 pm Posts: 42 Location: Washington
So early this past week Thad and I started talking about where to go to use my one-day-hall-pass for the week. He had tried going up to Diamond Head off of Blewett Pass on Tuesday and didn’t have a lot of luck, plus the snow wasn’t all that great. We really didn’t expect to find much wherever we ended up but it would be another day in the mountains which is A-OK in my book. On Wednesday, Abe called to see if there was any snow around Chelan; he was coming over for the weekend with some friends from law school and they were looking to do some touring (this was news to me; I’ve know Abe for probably 15 years and never knew he skied. Guess it was because we were always in Chelan during the summers). So we made plans for a short tour on Friday morning up Heather Ridge (to the N of Stevens Pass/HWY 2) and out E to Moonlight Bowl. Thursday morning Stevens was reporting 5” of new snow with another 4” by Friday morning. Did we luck out and hit the storm just right?!?
It was raining in Leavenworth but quickly turned to big fat, wet flakes as we started up the Tumwater. Holy cow, it was like driving at light speed, kinda giving you a sense of vertigo. By the time we got to the parking lot it was straight up DUMPING and 33*. It was looking to be a wet day so we quickly geared up and started climbing up Heather Ridge. Soon we were at the radio tower looking for cover for the change-over to boot packing for the last push up and over to Moonlight Bowl. Jackets were soaked but spirit were high; we knew it was going to be deeeeeep. We cruised past the drainage to the saddle and figured that was enough breaking trail. As we were taking it in and getting ready for our descent we witnessed 2 natural releases further out the ridge with crowns looking to be about 12”, the new snow from the past 2 days sitting on a rain crust. The aspects that slid were a little steeper than where we were planning to drop in and had more of a convex roll-over from where they propagated, but they ran for several hundred feet and got our attention real quick.
We talked it over, discussed what to do if a situation came up, decided on a game plan and leapfrogging from safe points to safe point with 2 people always watching. Yes, it was everything and more than we expected; 12”-18” of untracked goodness, far from blower but just as far from mashed potatoes. We played it safe but never saw anything else go. Once we got into a little more cover we just rode it out to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) for another change-over. At this point we were completely drenched but just had a mile skin back up the PCT to the parking lot where it was 36* and raining. On a side note, we must have just missed the enormous rock that came down on the highway in [url="http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2010/jan/16/massive-rock-thuds-down-on-highway-2/"]Tumwater Canyon[/url].
Not a whole lot of shots, it was just too weather-y to bust out the camera. Be safe out there.