Forums TR Archive Washington Gateway to the North Cascades, Whitehorse
Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 21 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #571627
    Kyle Miller
    510 Posts

    With large amounts of accumulation over the past few days and a forecast of partly sunny skies and lower freezing levels Hannah and myself were ready to tackle something big. The question was where to go and what area would deliver quality snow. Whatever it was it had to be north facing and top out at a relatively high elevation. After combing topos and passing ideas back and forth there was one peak that kept on coming up, Whitehorse right outside of Darrington had all the right components, a long North facing run, relatively easy access and A summit just under 7’000 feet.

    We knew it was going to be a long day so we arrived at our starting point under the cover of darkness at 5:00 AM and started the Trek around an hour later. Our first view of the objective was discouraging, a huge cliff cirque with no obvious ramps up to the mellower terrain above and the largest avy debris piles I had ever seen at the base, this was going to be a challenge. The first thousand vertical feet was slow moving as we bush whacked for hours through dense forests to make our way to the base of the massive cliff band covered in small patches of snow and multiple waterfalls ranging from ten to hundreds of feet. After close inspection we found a ramp to gain access to the higher terrain and switched from shoes to ski/snowboard boots. We left our shoes at the top of the ramp and started a long traverse through deep heavy mank with avy scoured drainages.

    Hiking on the road through the moss covered forest

    Crawling across the tree bridge (notice my ski pole stuck in the tree)

    Hiking through the massive debris pile

    Same debris pile with Whitehorse in the background

    Bush whacking through the dense forest (notice the skate shoes)

    Getting out of the bush whacking and to the base of the cliff band

    The cliffs were covered in waterfalls

    The sound of Avalanches echoed through the canyon every few minutes as the sun heated up the massive rock walls around us. It was unnerving to see the wet slides slowly move by as we made the skin track on areas that had minimal exposure. The snow conditions changed rapidly as we gained elevation changing from wet nasty mank to quality dry snow on the more shaded aspects above 4’000 feet. Breaking trail was tiring with well over two feet of new accumulation and the sun over us most of the time. The objective loomed over us as the hours passed by and seemed almost untouchable but we still kept going.

    It’s all about the BROS

    Contrasts in the high terrain

    Getting out of the Mank and into the mellower terrain

    Slowly gaining elevation

    Contrast on the rollers with our objective in the distance

    The biggest stress crack I have ever seen

    Surrounded by massive peaks

    Breaking Trail
    Looking back towards the valley more then 5’000 feet below


    Enjoyed the lines of our skin track as we get near the top

    Awesome terrain up high

    The time started getting late so we decided to make it to what we believed to be a low spot on the summit ridge then turn around. The last few hundred feet was the steepest and we felt the most avy dangerous so we switched over to boot packing to gain the high point. When we finally made it up to the ridge the summit proper came into view 600 feet above us and a decision had to be made “what to do, take a big chance and go for it or turn around and be safe”. After a long mental debate we both decided turning around was the right choice, so we said farewell to the looming giant and started our decent.

    Switching to boot pack

    Climbing with Darrington in the background

    Looking down

    Near our high point


    Enjoying some candy with the summit proper in the distance

    Switch over for our decent

    The Darrington valley in the background

    The top 2’000 vert was amazing ranging from a foot to three feet deep and to our surprise it was stable with minimal sluffing and no slabbing. Around 4’000 feet it was a completely different story the Wet heavy mank had developed a nasty Ice crust and changed the riding to survival skiing.

    And now a few riding shots (sadly my camera batteries died so I only got pics on the accent)




    We slowly made our way down trying to stay in the untouched as it was smooth compared to the now hardened avy debris. We finally made it back to the cliff cirque as the sunlight had depleted and dusk had started to take over. “Where is the ramp and where are our shoes?” It was important to find the right ramp as it was the only one to get off the cliff band but our marker the shoes and our boot pack was gone. Avys had run down the area leaving a smooth slope and taking our shoes with them so after checking out a few different ramps we went down the one that seemed the most familiar.

    By the time we made it into the drainage filled with avy debris darkness had settled into the valley leaving dark sky and stars as far as the eyes could see. That morning I had made a stupid decision that I would come to regret for hours upon hours, I decided to leave my headlamp in the car and now the only light was the headlamp that Hannah had brought and worst of all we still hadn’t made it to the most technical terrain. Travel was slow as we carefully made steps on the now icy slopes with Hannah following behind me as her headlamp illuminated our path. I felt frustrated with my decision as we slowly bushwhacked back down the dense steep forest using trees as hand holds trying to stay on our old trail. After what seemed like hours we made it to the massive avy deposit zone which was even more impressive in the dark. It felt like an alien landscape with the glowing white mounds going for what seemed like forever. After countless ups and downs we finally made it to our last main obstacle the fast moving creek crossing in which we had used a slippery log as a bridge. We slowly crawled across the bridge making sure we didn’t slip into the creek. We had been hiking for well over 18 hours and we were both exhausted as we made the slog down the 2 mile stretch of road back to the car. We made it back to the car around 1:30 in the morning worked and without shoes.

    #617020
    Tophervw
    203 Posts

    Simply Stunning Kyle…….

    So what your saying, is that Whitehorse is a lot bigger than it looks from the road?

    Good! damn work!

    #617021
    spicoli11
    288 Posts

    The Horse!!!!!!!!!!!!

    #617022
    jcocci
    699 Posts

    Nice work Kyle.

    #617023
    ale_capone
    864 Posts

    Nice!!!

    Hannah has pretty ear rings.

    #617024
    fullers2oh
    525 Posts

    sweet north cascades! looks like a cool place. too bad your cam batts died, but still some nice shots on the way up.

    hope the price of admission was worth it, but to me it looks like it was.

    good thing your partner had a headlamp or you may have had to spend the night out there. thats one thing i never never never leave behind.

    #617025
    Kyle Miller
    510 Posts

    @fullers2oh wrote:

    good thing your partner had a headlamp or you may have had to spend the night out there. thats one thing i never never never leave behind.

    Funny thing is we considered bivying up high overnight so we could get the summit but after debating the idea we realized that would be a really stupid idea.

    #617026
    jbaysurfer
    947 Posts

    Absolutely unbelievable TR and photos! I’m guessing you’ll decide to bring your headlamp next time? That bushwacking looked brutal…and in the dark!

    Thanks for sharing that awesome photography…what kind of camera do you use?

    #617027
    jbaysurfer
    947 Posts

    @Kyle Miller wrote:

    @fullers2oh wrote:

    good thing your partner had a headlamp or you may have had to spend the night out there. thats one thing i never never never leave behind.

    Funny thing is we considered bivying up high overnight so we could get the summit but after debating the idea we realized that would be a really stupid idea.

    What kind of bivy gear did you have? It can be fun if you’ve got the right gear…and the weather outlook is good.

    #617028
    Kyle Miller
    510 Posts

    We both had point and shoots. I have a I have a sony Cybershot w-7 and Im not sure what Hannah has. I like small cameras because you are more willing to take shots when you have easy access and i’m to poor to afford a nice camera.

    We had no overnight gear what so ever. We were going to dig a cave and tough it out but we decided it would be a long night and a really bad idea.
    I have to thank Hannah for her patients with me I made a stupid mistake leaving behind my headlamp :banghead: .

    #617029
    D-GREEN
    336 Posts

    First, Was it light when you started at 5-6:00 in the morning?

    Second, that was an awesome TR. Good Show!

    #617030
    waltzingmatilda
    74 Posts

    That looks awesome. Some of those pics are amazing.

    #617031
    BGnight
    1382 Posts

    Very cool TR! Never hear much about the N. Cascades even though they’re right there in WA. Is everything in the N. Cascades this heinous to access?

    (Calm down fullers! There’s no sagebrush 😀 )

    #617032
    Nikon
    218 Posts

    That’s amazing. Another seemingly silly east coast question coming at ya….do a lot of people get out to an area like that? Looks amazing but that’s one hell of a hike from what you made it sound like. We don’t really have stuff like that out here so that seems crazy to me. Looks like it was worth it though and even more so for an overnight….

    Hannah is pretty BTW… :rock:

    #617033
    goldoro
    11 Posts

    Excellent photos! I’m inspired and blown away…

    #617034
    Kyle Miller
    510 Posts

    @Nikon wrote:

    That’s amazing. Another seemingly silly east coast question coming at ya….do a lot of people get out to an area like that?

    Whitehorse doesn’t seem to get alot of attention especially during the winter months

    @BGnight wrote:

    Is everything in the N. Cascades this heinous to access?

    Yes and no when Highway 20 opens (which is soon) it allows you access to many massive peaks but there are also some that require slogs that make this trip look like a walk in the park.

    Thanks again for all the kind comments I plan on tackling this giant again real soon.

    #617035
    TEX
    2486 Posts

    Your TR’s never disappoint Mr. Miller

    Thank you.

    Note to fullers 2 oh and the usual suspects. Need to go to Washington

    #617036
    Kyle Miller
    510 Posts

    TEX I owe you a big thank you

    I dont know if you remember this but last year at the Scrubfest I was having problems traversing a Icy slope and you showed me how to side angle while using my poles to stabilize myself. I feel I have finally perfected the sideangling and I thank you for taking the time to show me the tricks :headbang: .

    #617037
    bcrider
    4150 Posts

    Great stuff Kyle! :thatrocks: :bow:

    I’ve only seen one or two TRs from that place. Looks rad.

    #617038
    Hyakbc
    53 Posts

    Why can’t I see the pics?

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 21 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.