Last weekend, a band of eight ruffians hell-bent on personal destruction went to ski Mt Logan's Banded Glacier.
The approach is very long. At least it is a nice hike through old growth the whole way. Beautiful views really help, Thunder Creek and Fisher Creek being gems in the Cascadian cache of beautiful glacier-fed creeks, but nevertheless the hike is long with skis on pack. Shoulder check.
Bear track by Fisher Creek
Josh skis along Fisher Creek.
For this reason we were very thankful to be able to skin only a mile from Junction Camp. For those in the know, excitement grew to epic proportions with the realization that the steep forest from Fisher Creek Trail to the 5,200' lake was fully skiable. Finding a beautiful hole in the snowpack for water at the outlet of the lake completed the coup.
Sunday saw the derelicts leaving camp at half past two in the morning, climbing to the nameless glacier and the notch to the Banded. I'll bet John Roper gave that glacier a name. Did ya doc? The skiing crux of the trip was skiing steep, frozen south-facing slopes in the dark before dawn to get to the Banded.
Booting up the glacier, we were hoping to see snow from close to the summit as we rounded the saddle between the Douglas and Banded Glaciers. There was plenty snow on the south-facing ridge all the way to a false summit only 20-30 ' short of the true summit.
As yours truly didn't like his first attempted route to descend from the false summit toward the summit, there was some climber vs. ski mountaineer smack-talk in the background. My second route was fine and it was spicy fun gaining the summit on exposed, snow-covered class 3 rock. I tip my hat to Pete, Cascadian hardman who proved his superior stupidity by firing the route I abandoned. Now go climb more winter routes so I can ski one and talk some shit!!! <img src="/threadz/images/graemlins/cantfocus.gif" alt="" />
View from the summit. Eric is about to join me. Skis and skiers are visible on the false summit from which we skied.
We enjoyed three beautiful descents. The Banded had good powder and entertaining slabs...
Casey hunts slabs on the Banded Glacier.
The descent from the notch to camp was twenty-two-hundred feet of goodness. The top was a few inches of fast, dry powder over a crust. By the bottom it had transitioned to creamy corn without ever getting nasty between the two. Get nasty.
The top bit of skiing the woods was more creamy corn through rolling cliffs and tight trees. Hu-ah! Pure survival skiing by the time we reached Fisher Creek, but better than booting.
Thanks for the great photo Sky! I'm glad I don't have to go back out there for awhile again. That approach is brutal, but the views made the effort worth the trouble. Now I just need to buy a stroller for those Monday approaches from the car to my desk. Ha.
I think maybe Lowell took a similar route on and over Logan a few years ago on a ski trip from Rainy ->Cascade Pass. Sky is making up for last winter's dirth of snow by hitting it up 2x as hard this winter.
"With Gary Brill and Carl Skoog. A Memorial Day weekend with atypical, fine weather. Skied from the North Cascades Highway over Easy Pass to Fisher Creek. Skied up the Douglas Glacier to the Banded Glacier col and somewhat higher, then scrambled on foot to the summit. We were attracted by the 7910' snow peak ESE of Logan but skipped it due to concerns about warming slopes. We skied back down the glacier into the valley below and returned the way we had come."
Quote: I'm not sure what Lowell did, but I'd be curious to hear about his trip.
I've climbed Logan three times by ski. Since our trips were later in the spring, we probably left the skis a little lower on the peak than you guys. The first trip is mentioned above. Here are the other trips, from my on-line journal notes:
1987, May 5-10, "Thunder High Route" (Rainy Pass to Eldorado Peak)
With Jens Kieler and Dan Nordstrom. This trip was inspired by the view from Mt Arriva obtained during the Rainy-Mesahchie traverse. Starting about 2-1/2 miles NW of Rainy Pass on the North Cascades highway, we crossed Granite Creek and skied up the valley east of Fisher Peak. We crossed the saddle north of the peak, skied into Fisher Creek basin, then climbed to Silent Lakes and camped. On day two we traversed the south flank of Mt Arriva, crossed the col beyond it, and made our way onto Spectacular Ridge. We skied a broad gully down the SW flank of this ridge to Fisher Pass, then climbed to the north shoulder of peak 7910' (which we referred to as "Dream Peak"). Jens and I skied to and from the summit of this peak and we all continued to the Douglas Glacier margin above Bridge Creek. On day three we skied up the Douglas Glacier to Mt Logan, scrambled to the top, and crossed to the Fremont Glacier. We skied into the headwaters of Thunder Creek and climbed (on foot in forest initially) to Thunder Glacier and skied to the east margin of Boston Glacier. On day four Jens and I made a run from the head of the glacier next to Boston Peak, then we all traversed the Boston Glacier and crossed the north ridge of Forbidden Peak. We skied the Forbidden Glacier to Moraine Lake, crossed the softening lake surface, and finally climbed to the SE margin of Inspiration Glacier. On the fifth and final day we climbed Eldorado and skied along the Triad divide to Sibley Pass. We'd left our second car at the Sibley Creek trailhead.
[Day four of our 1987 trip is the heart of what is now called the Forbidden Tour.]
1996, June 13-16, Mount Logan High Route (Rainy Pass to Cascade Pass)
With Carl Skoog. This trip was conceived as a shorter variant of the Thunder High Route, avoiding the low section in Thunder Creek and passing Mt Buckner on the south instead of the north. We started along the same route I took in 1987--from the North Cascades Highway, over the saddle north of Fisher Peak to Silent Lakes. We continued across the south flank of Mt Arriva and camped at the scenic col SW of the peak. On day two we traversed Spectacular Ridge, skied to Fisher Pass and climbed to the Douglas Glacier. We skied up and down "Dream Peak" (peak 7910') on excellent corn snow. We camped at the head of the north fork of Bridge Creek. On the third day we skied up Mt Logan, tagged the summit and descended the Fremont Glacier. At this point we varied from the 1987 route, traversing through Park Creek Pass and climbing the Buckner Glacier cirque to the Buckner-Booker col. We camped in Horseshoe basin. On the fourth day we had hoped to ski Mt Buckner, but crusty snow deterred us. I cramponed up and down instead. We crossed Horseshoe Basin, climbed to the Sahale Glacier moraine and descended Sahale Arm to Cascade Pass and the Cascade River road.
--- The Banded Glacier is a scenic side of the mountain, but the ratio of backpacking to skiing never attracted me. I did a trip on foot in the area once.