Forums Trip Reports Cascade Pass Couloir raining slog May 26
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    46 Posts

    Two weeks ago I saw a great couloir out at Cascade Pass that was begging for turns:

    Couloir just right of center

    I had grand ambitions for a volcano summit early in the week, but the weather and my health deteriorated.
    Started with a sore throat Wednesday, had the makings of a sinus infection Friday. All my riding partners dropped off, except Jen. She was dead set on getting turns in before fire season starts.

    It’s probably going to rain….
    “our gear is waterproof”
    I’m getting sick
    “I’ve been sick for 2 weeks running up hills with 45lbs and carrying a chainsaw, man up!”
    I don’t think I can get up that early
    “yes you can, I’ll beat you if I have to, we are riding, get your gear ready”

    So we set out for Cascade Pass at around 4:30, that was the earliest I could muster with my nose clogged and throat feeling like sandpaper ripped through it. We arrived first at the gate to a light drizzle. A couple drove up who were intending to hike Sahale, I think they turned around on the road after realizing how misserable this was. We hiked the 2 mile road to the summer lot in runners and then switched to touring.

    Typical North Cascades in the spring, there’s creeks under there

    The valley was all sun cups and large avy debris. The size of slides out here is incredibly sobering. Noticed some rock fall coming off Sahale Arm where I saw people skiing two weeks prior, the snow is going away fast. Middle slopes were a PITA to tour up with very wet glop. No glide, all stomping to get traction.

    Switched to boot packing when I couldn’t get enough grip to set kick turns. I broke trail up in to the base of the couloir at which point my throat felt like I had swallowed a box of tacks. Jen took over the tedious job as the slope steepened.

    Jen taking over the lead

    Average of 45 degrees with some steeper sections combined with the extremely wet snow made for a frustrating slog. We got to the Y where the upper section of the couloir breaks off and saw that the westerly wind coming through the pass was not holding the cloud down in the valley any longer. We decided to bag it before loosing all visibility.

    Note the PBR trucker hat and ominous cloud approaching below

    Death slog.

    The steeps were decent where you could get on an old bed surface, great edge hold and minimal slough. The un-touched snow was stick enough to try and throw you over the bars.

    Jen slashing it

    Where the slope mellowed out the snow was a bit stick, but still good turns.

    Avy runnel slasher through the eyes of a wet phone

    The ride out through the valley was pretty painful on the feet. It wasn’t muir in September, but definitely not fun.

    Looking down the valley earlier that morning, the car is down at the clouds

    Hike out on the road was spent with increasing rain. Ran into an Alpine Ascents group of mountaineers on their way out to camp. Her friend Gabe, a bus neighbor from heli-skiing up in Haines, turned out to be one of the guides. It really is a small world. We enjoyed a nice drive back to Seattle and I even let myself sleep in on Memorial Day……..before hiking mailbox, in the rain, still sick.

    864 Posts


    Now i realise which couloir you are talking about.

    A simular, yet wildy differnat day. Here they both are on the first day of winter. We too bailed on cj, and i didnt have the energy for both either, but erik svege is a fit mofo. I would say it looks a lot more filled in!

    Fitst day of the 11-12 winter.


    Way to get out in a cool area nick and jen!

    46 Posts

    Yeah this little guy is really easy if you go straight for it. I don’t know anybody that would have energy after CJ!

    Digging the winter pics, how far up the road were you able to park?

    864 Posts

    Hey nick.

    We parked. Two or three miles from the eldo th. My friend has done the cj in a half day using a sled.

    Im not so fit, but the biking crowd seem to have legs and lungs of steel.

    864 Posts

    Heh. Now that I look closer, erik was actually in a mini cooler lookers left of the one you where in.

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