Forums Trip Reports a week on americas deadliest
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    864 Posts

    highway 2… one of washingtons deadliest drives. 14 days since a serious accident. It doesn’t boast the biggest and baddest, but it is home to americas single biggest avalanche fatality accident at just under 100 deaths in one swoop. Been pretty sketchy in the PNW lately with too much snow and wind, black roses, and historic sized slides.. So whats a guy to do? Go play in one of Americas deadliest avalanche zones, that’s what. Just be careful on the ride up.

    Day 1

    march 8th the snow levels dropped low enough to ease travel up a drainage I have been scouting out since I got here. A 3 mile scenic skin up a creek with mulitple and overlapping slide paths. Some actually run uphill on the opposing side of the valley. Not enough energy to get them to reach their full potential today. plus, most everything slid in the 24 hours prior anyways… several hasties through out the day had me stoked on the stability.

    first up was Thunder.

    great travel from the valley bottum on up.

    gonna have to boot a little…(left of teh horn)

    final couple hundred feet where to exposed for my dog, so we dropped a neat little line from our highpoint, and then to a nice line thorugh the cliffs we avoided on the way up. Snow was superb for nearly 2,000′.. upclimbing a ice bulge in the cliffs to convince kololo it wasn’t as bad as it looked was not. A little smoked salmon goes along way here.
    (note kololo’s straightlining)

    So stoked on the day so far it got even better when I realised it was barely noon… On the way up I noticed Nimbus had a continous line that looked like fun.

    sorry, you’ll have to use your imagination… solid line left of center.. it goes nicely to the valley 2,000′ below, with a mini couloir near the middle of teh run.

    on the way up I scolded Kololo for bad ettiquette

    summit shot, decent anxiety..

    oh yeah, what she came for…

    Had to doa little cross country, then, for the grand exit. Dog’s tired, but not time to sleep yet.

    pillow killa…

    Thank you, come again.

    864 Posts

    Next couple days we went througha cleansing cycle, so it was all about swiss music and big trees…. didn’t take any pics.. It looked something liek this..

    Day 4…

    Lil Plug

    Day 1 gave a good look at the other side of the valley and confirmed what looked like something ont eh map. A big avi cycle took place since the previous visit, with a few feet of snow falling over 2 days. A little pressed for time with an incoming warm up, we opted for something a little shorter so we could get out of dodge before the death rays started cooking the slopes above our exit. Most everything had once again slid, so my mind was at ease in the suprise valley.

    A lot steeper of a climb then the other side, but the travel was once again easy with several well bonded inches of new ontop of soft avbi debris

    I ended up booting several hundered feet until coming upon some shifty looking snow.. took a tougher way aorund basically climbing a tree off to the side with my dog on my shoulders. didn’t take much effort to get this to go. definatly big enough to knock a man down and carry him.

    after working around the other side up to the top, we came back the same way and finished clearing out the hangfire. from here it a solid 2,500+ to the valley. un debrised pow was found for the entirety.

    more pillow love.

    1165 Posts

    Looks completely rad mang! Thanks for sharing. Right now I am really wishing plane tickets weren’t through the roof…

    864 Posts

    Saturday a Baker loc came down to hide from sliding arms and take a friend touring fro his b-day.. He agrees that while Baker has the best side country anywhere, stevens is prime for storm riding in heightened danger. Nomad knows the spot. short steep chutes, big trees, and bigger pillows. Mini golf at it’s finest.

    Little sky.

    .. not a great trip for taking pics. plus, no camera since I already have hundreds of shots from the area. The following where taken by Brian.

    birthday boy Chris getting some in chute

    me exhibiting how to properly do the barrel of monkey arm steeze..

    not deep

    spent sunday with my girl….

    Then yesterday it was off to visit a resort communtiy that was halted by an avalanche.. this stroy comes from long time stevens local, and resident seaettle avi guru Gary Brill…

    “The mid-January 1971 avalanche incident took out one cabin and damaged another. Both cabins belonged to Seattle neighbors. If you cross the highway from the Stevens Pass housing facility and take the road to the west, then follow it as the road turns north perhaps a hundred or two hundred yards, you are there. The cabins were only 50′ or so west of the road.

    There was an ice layer on top of which it snowed 99″ in three days, warming as the storm progressed. The avalanche happened in the night and killed the parents of two young girls. The girls survived in bed downstairs after being buried 24 hours. That cabin was destroyed. Snow came into an upstairs bedroom of the other cabin and suffocated the young niece of the owners of the other cabin, who were our next door neighbors. As a youngster, in my late teens and early 20’s, I had stayed in the second cabin several times. Stevens Pass was closed for a couple of days after the slide. Two friends of mine who were on the ski patrol at Stevens (I was also on the patrol) described highway crews plowing a route out the east side over the top of a 75′ pile of debris ( I wonder if this was at Schilling Creek?)

    At the time of the avalanche, I was in Sun Valley with the neighbors who owned the cabin. I remember driving over Snoqualmie Pass with my neighbors and having to chain up near Asahel Curtis. It was snowing very wet snow. Two or three days previously I had skied at Alpental in the deepest, light snow I ever skied – I actually went completely under the snow at one point – not a cloud, completely under. It was around 15 degrees that day. We got a phone call as soon as we arrived in Sun Valley. Both girls have lived in Sun Valley for more than 30 years.

    Apparently Ed LaChapelle had surveyed this area before the cabins were built and had said it was an unsafe area and had given a certain return rate for avalanches for that location which the developer had not disclosed. I don’t know or don’t remember any other details about this, however. “

    I’ve been up here several times this year. Kind of my go to easy access spot. Even took the ColoRad guys up here when they visited. some days in the tree and safe ridges, a few times right down the gut. A little sketchier yesterday though, so I handrailed the creek longer, and gave the avi path trim line a wide berth. a couple of laps in classic cascade concrete.

    and then, I grand finallied the week with another lap on yodelin. snow was a little better in north facing trees, but the nsow machines din was killing my serenity, so I left and let them have at it.

    The end. hanks for reading.

    864 Posts

    @killclimbz wrote:

    Looks completely rad mang! Thanks for sharing. Right now I am really wishing plane tickets weren’t through the roof…

    ha! You snuck that in on me..


    Too bad you can’t make it for a quickie. Your favorite type of riding is finally going off.

    Lot’s of historic sized avi’s popping loose though. We had a death and a severe injury during the first weekend of the month. Both in terrain I am familiar with. several close calls as well.

    heard the hike to part of the shuksan arm slid very very large yesterday too. unconfirmed.

    689 Posts

    Heck yes Ale!

    I enjoyed your description of Baker Vs. Stevens. So so true. I really need to go down and explore the Alpine Lakes area!

    1113 Posts

    Stay safe out there Ale and you PNW splitters! Crazy amount of snow recently eh? 22 FOOT base at Pan Dome?

    551 Posts

    Nice work Ale! Keep having fun up there and stay safe!

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