Well the floods really managed to mess things up here in Washington. Many of the access roads are washed out and most of our Peaks are covered with Avy Debris. The Monday before the floods Dan and myself left our gear up at Crystal long story short 410 was closed till sunday so we were itching to go touring. We arrived at Crystal Monday morning to get our gear ride some groomers and check the conditions of the surrounding peaks and it didn’t look good. The snow was avy chundered MANK as far as the eyes could see and it was going to be blue bird for the next couple of days. We had planned on tackling a beast in the Central Cascades but decided it should wait for a later time and try to find Powder somewhere in the Cascades. According to telemetry Washington Pass barely went above freezing level so our best bet at good snow was to tackle the North Facing Col of Silver Star in the North Cascades.
Tuesday afternoon we made the 280 mile drive through the Cascades and onto the Eastern side of Highway 20 where we camped at the Silver Star creek Parking lot and now for some pics
The sunrise alpenglow with the moon in the North Cascades We got off to a late start after heading back to Mazama to get some final gear Dan heading up highway 20 to the Trail Head Skinning was somewhat easy on the Bulletproof Mank at lower elevations If only these pillows had Powder We skinned through dense woods but slowly got into more alpine conditions After hours of skinning we finally got our first view of Silver Star We built our Base camp in the lower basin with a perfect view of Silver Star and tested out our new Go lite Valhalla 4 person tent. Its a bomber proof 4 season tent that weights 5.1 lbs. ( I was going crazy in my old 2 person tent) That night it got into the single digits and I slept almost too warm in my Go lite Adrenaline sleeping bag while Dan had problem with his Northface snowshoe all night. The next morning we slowly got ready while watching the alpenglow Dan skinning up the basin near the Helicopter landing spot Finally were at the base of this massive peak and traversing toward Silver Star Myself taking a break ontop of a pillow with the North Cascades in the Background While traversing we noticed these nice looking chutes Getting closer to the Col with Silver Star peak in the Background When we finally made it to the Basin which leads up to the col we were horrified by what we saw. It was wind scoured and had rocks exposed it was going to be a pain to skin and not fun on the way down We decided the chutes looked more sheltered so we traversed back We skinned as far as we could then switched over to bootpacking on the windbuffed pow Looking up the chute Looking back towards the North Cascades We named it the middle finger chute because of the prominent rock up top Dan climbing the Chute It was slow travel and got a bit exposed to say the least I was happy I had my Ice Axe Looking down the Run One last view to the East Dan went down the Wind packed Pow first then myself on the lower apron The upper area was variable conditions from wind packed pow to solid Ice but soon it turned into MANK for the lower 2/3 of our run back to basecamp.
It was gettin late so we decided to camp another night not taking the chance of hiking in the dark. It was a long cold night trying to sleep for the 17 hours of darkness. The next morning we broke down camp as fast as we could and started heading for the car. The coverage was still thin and the area was rather flat so I was forced to boot pack 90% of the way but Dan was able to ski most the way. After 90 minutes of bush whacking we were back at the Car ready to do the 7 hour drive home. Our final view of Silver Star The Surface Hoar was everywhere I took this shot of my car when we got back to the parking lot It wasn’t Powder but it should keep us happy until the next storm arrives