Forums Trip Reports The Price is Right 5-6-2006
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    The Price is Right – 5/6/2006

    Ever since I started backpacking in Desolation Wilderness I’ve wanted to ski the western-most peaks of the Crystal Range. Access to this area is basically cutoff during the winter months due to no snow removal on the road/s leading into Wrights Lake. By the time the roads melts out…so has the snow on the peaks.

    The standard approach to the Crystal Range in the winter is either from Rocky Canyon on HWY 50, via Echo Lakes to Lake Aloha, or from the trailheads on HWY 89. The latter typically require an overnight agenda.

    While Pyramid Peak sits at the southern end of the range and sees the most skier traffic the more northerly peaks on the range like Mt. Agassiz and Mt. Price see much less traffic. I’d been on Pyramid previously so the natural instinct was to check out Mt Price and Mt Agassiz.

    With a combination of family obligations for Friday night and Sunday-day my window of opportunity would fall on Saturday. I considered pulling a marathon drive to the Eastside for a daytrip but with high gas prices and a Crystal Range trailhead less than 60milesaway from my doorstep, I decided to finally scratch the Westside itch.

    First things first though…the kids had Open House Friday night. 🙂



    They’re both growing like weeds and doing great, I’m a proud Papa. 🙂

    After Open House I headed up the hill to meet mmcpheet and Roman at Strawberry Lodge. Matt had gone up earlier in the day to pick up our secret weapon for the Westside approach………a snowmobile. Special thanks to JayTe!!!

    At the lodge we enjoyed some last minute grease and beverages.

    I got to see my Kings get eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs too. 🙁

    Then if was off on our mission. We drove about 2miles up the Wrights Lake road to the snowline and started shuttling our gear up the road.

    Mmcpheet and Roman head off into the darkness.

    While I make some sandwiches on a makeshift table…..see, snowboards are good for something. 😉

    After a couple miles we set up our camp.

    mmcpheet shows the latest in ultra-light bc gear. The “Ricardoâ€Â

    affix snow
    521 Posts

    Abrupt end??????

    4150 Posts

    Once we regrouped our movement continued upward.


    Roman with the west face of Mt. Price.

    Looking down to Island, Twin, and Boomerang Lakes.

    The approach up the west ridge looked doable but we chose a more conservative route so we could take advantage of a ripe south facing run down towards Lyons Lake.

    Roman and Matt get ready to drop. Our previous week’s decent off Dick’s Peak can been seen in the background.

    Mmcpheet goes first.

    Roman goes next.

    After a short boot up the bowl we were on the saddle between Mt. Price and Mt Agassiz.

    Matt and Roman cross the saddle.

    Looking south over to Mt. Agassiz…

    followed by north to Mt. Price.

    bcrider giving props to the WestSide.

    After a short break at the saddle and look around we continued up the last little pitch to the summit of Mt. Price.

    mmcpheet and Roman.

    mmcpheet and bcr on the summit.


    Looking west.

    Looking northeast down to Mosquito Pass.

    bcr exposure training.


    Accessing both these peaks from the west is literally a “walk-upâ€Â

    4150 Posts

    Looking back at the ridge to Mt. Price.

    Thunderstorms were starting to roll in and we still had to find our stashed sled so we figured it was time to start heading out.

    Roman descends towards Lyons Lake.

    Matt heads towards Smith Lake.


    We found the sled easily and quickly unburied our hidden treasure.

    Then it ws time to head out. Matt gets to drive this time.

    And Roman gets pulled.

    After a few miles a gave him a break……the view from behind.

    All in all it was a great trip, thanks guys!

    I would recommend checking out the westside for anyone interested…..just don’t forget you’ll need some machine assisted help. 🙂

    Thanks again JayTe!!! 8)

    affix snow
    521 Posts

    Nice work!
    Sorry i interuppted your TR!!! Just a little impatient as i need to live vicariously through you west coasters!

    118 Posts

    To alleviate having your arms pulled out of the sockets when getting towed try this:

    Double up an old bike tube(large), clip a large locking ‘biner through both the ends.

    Wrap the halved tube around your ass, putting the ends/biner in the front at your waist. Tie a loop about 12-18″ from the end of the towrope. Now feed the end through the biner, then again through the loop. This way if you bail you can let go of the rope and not get dragged like a human fishing lure.

    The stretch in the tube makes the ride much less jerky, and all the pull is around your waist/backside, your arms don’t get pulled at all.

    We do a ton of towing(8 miles) to the top at Paulina Peak here in Oregon, this is the way you can do numerous laps without numbing your arms.

    Also not sure how much you care about the sled but towing 2 people is way easier on the track/tunnel/clutch than having a rider on the back.

    Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about the tow set-up, it’s really easy and bomber.

    1669 Posts

    I only say this when I mean it.


    😀 😀 😀

    but really, I’m glad you guys made the trip out there. I bummed I couldn’t get out last weekend.

    How did the run down to Island Lakes look? It probably would have put you too far away from the sled, but in summer, that face looks long and fun.

    Maybe I’ll need to call JayTee and repeat the mission. 😀

    46 Posts

    That was a superfun trip! There are definitely some lines to be had back there. Next time I have to remember the crampons. My feet kept pushing out of the verts anytime I kicked steps outside of the fall line on the hardpack. A little bit unnerving at times 😯

    112 Posts

    Sweet trip BCR! Way to keep it real with the makeshift sandwich table!

    460 Posts

    That looks like an awesome trip. Nice work.

    I think this is a beautiful image.

    1421 Posts

    Nice! bcr I hope you don’t wax your board, er… sandwich table… 🙂

    @dibiase wrote:

    Next time I have to remember the crampons. My feet kept pushing out of the verts anytime I kicked steps outside of the fall line on the hardpack. A little bit unnerving at times 😯

    I find that in hard snow, Verts work best if you are facing directly up the slope. Well, they work best in any kind of snow if you go straight up, but at least in soft snow you have more options. You can traverse short distances facing up the hill this way but it’s kind of a pain. It’s best if you can find a direct line straight up, or a series of connected straight lines w/o much traversing. I also find that it’s a hell of a calf workout on hard snow. Hard boots would probably help there. That’s one nice thing about crampons, you have many different stepping options so that one particular muscle doesn’t get overworked. One nice thing about Verts though is that if the snow conditions are mixed, at least you aren’t going to be postholing in the soft stuff.

    Your feet definitely shouldn’t be pushing out of the binding strap though, even if you step sideways! ❗ You might try different mounting holes on the straps to see if you can get a more secure fit.

    4150 Posts

    Thanks for the info on the sled towing set-up jlag!

    The run down to Island looked like a blast. I will say however that it wasnt as steep as it looks like from below. There are a couple steep pitches on the sub-peaks and then it backs off into a mellow (but fun looking) bowl. I’d love to go back and hit it.

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