Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited


  • Occupation
  • Location
    Not where I belong - SEA

markws's Achievements


Gumby (1/14)



  1. Arc was selling a pair of avalanche probes on here. I sent him the money and never received anything. I've never had a problem not receiving a package where I lived. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. Not anymore, the guy sounds like a loser.
  2. My group flew with Paul Swanstrom last May from Yak into the north side of Cook. Paul was great to work and definitely had solid skills.
  3. In regards to the north face of James Turner, I remember hearing that Foon and Kettles skied it '99ish or at least they did a partial descent.
  4. About 5 minutes of searching led to WA maps as well: http://duff.geology.washington.edu/data/raster/drg/index.html
  5. FYI- I heard reports of an almost full burial (head out) in the Chair Peak basin either Sunday or Monday. They were VERY well-trained and highly experienced skiers/mountaineers. The slide was triggered from below. I would conclude that based on the remotely-triggered mechanism that a layer of buried surface hoar failed. Buried surface hoar layers, wind-loaded snow, and an early season snowpack that is almost continental or inter-moutain will result in more HUGE surprises if our snowfall total starts to catch up to normal. After talking to some of the old-time patrollers at Stevens our early season was very similar to that of the bad one in the very early 90's. ('91?) That year there were some huge slides to ground once the load built up in the snowpack. NWAC had some photos up for a while this winter. Buried surface hoar can have tons of spatial variability. More so than normal, a hole dug in one place may not accurately represent the snowpack on another slope or even 200ft away in a starting zone for instance. For anyone who knew the victime from yesterday's slide I offer my deepest condolences. Unfortunately, spending any significant time in the moutains willl inevitably lead to loss of someone you know. This reality however, does nothing to reduce the pain.
  6. Does anybody have a bivy sack they'd like to part with? I had a pack stolen and this is the only thing I haven't replaced yet. Thanks.
  7. I will second that it was a "giant mushroomed loose snow mess" last year. I climbed up there about this time last year and I waited around at the notch for an hour and a half waiting for some visibility before I skied down. I spent most of that time thinking how glad I was that I was skiing the couloir and didn't have to climb that mess of a ridge.
  8. I've rapped out of the Seventh Heaven chair at Stevens several times for self-evac practice with two strands of 6mm perlon back when I patrolled there. No problem with that stuff, you just go slow and don't heat the rap device up too much. I've just switched from the perlon to 5.5 mm tech cord for a ski rap rope. If you look in the right spot you can buy it off of big spools and get 100'+ lengths. I found a 100' section for $30 but it was a closeout and the guy sold out of it. I know several climbers and skiers in France who used to use Spectra lines for unplanned retreats or emergencies. Nobody ever seemed to have a problem with it. I'm sure that the newer Tech Cord is a much improved alternative.
  9. I've used skins with tail clips and I've had to go w/o when my skis were too long for the skins. In the Cascades and Coast Range it doesn't seem to matter too much unless you're skinning steep terrain. When you skin as high as you can go and then switch to boot-packing or cramponing you usually have to jam the tails of the skis into the snow during the transition. Not having tail fixation can allow the last couple inches of skin to be peeled off letting snow get all over it. The problem then continues to get worse. Taping doesn't seem to help that much and it's a pain. When skiing lots of mini-golf or yo-yo laps where it's cold (around 0) tail clips are a nice addition after the first or second skin reapplication. I don't think cutting skins is difficult if you pay attention. The first pair I ever did came out just fine. If one is not mechanically inclined or good with tools they should probably do the job sober though.
  10. I would highly recomend that the the victims send emails and/or call the Pique news magazine in Whistler: http://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/index.lasso. I would be surprised if they didn't at least mention it in an issue.
  11. I skied the couloir on Monday the 12th, earlier this week. I apparantly couldn't read a calendar correctly. I didn't encounter much stonefall at all. The temperatures were fairly cold, in the 30's probably. There was quite a bit of spinddrift coming down from the left (climber's) wall. There were some sluffs that came off above the right wall as the sun came around and hit it. Anywhere flatter they wouldn't have been big enough to do much harm but they were certainly large enough to blow one off their feet and down the slope. I took some photos with a non digital camera and they're being developed. When I get them back I'll see if I can scan some in. Half of the shots were on a slide roll but I think some of the photographers I know have slide scanners. There was a large serac fall and subsequent avalanche out of the ice cliff glacier a couple of days before I passed by. It actually buried the old tracks of the previous party in there. In regards to the snowpack, there seems to be a very dramatic line between a thin snowpack below treeline to a deep one in the alpine. This seems to be the result of the warm winter and contined unstable spring weather. There must still be a large amount of snow up there if I didn't see any of the fixed anchors.
  12. On Monday the 19th, I climbed and skied Stuart Glacier Couloir. I left the parking lot at 9 pm on Sunday night and made a light bivy below the Sherpa Glacier and caught a couple hours of sleep and hung out for a couple more while the sun came up. I wasn't in a big hurry. I was feeling beat down from 3 days of downhilling on the bike in Leavenworth. The conditions were generally good for the climb itself. The couloir constriction was a short step of 70 deg firm snow and ice. The rest of the climb was variable snow and generally wasn't too deep. The ski conditions were pretty good but not ideal, no big turns. There was a firm layer with anywhere from no snow to several inches of soft snow on top. I didn't continue up from the west ridge notch and instead just waited for a decent window of visibility before I headed down. Just before I reached the top of the couloir clouds started to blow in and it closed out for almost an hour. I thought I was going to end up descending in a whiteout but lucked out. When I got to the constriction I tried to find some reasonable anchors for a rappel but I didn't have much luck even though I'd brought a few pins, nuts, and a couple of ice screws. I was very surprised at how compact the granite was there and I ended up downclimbing. It's a great steep ski line with nice exposure and some pitch to make it sporting. The solitude on the North side of Stuart was nice compared to all the traffic around Colchuck lake.
  13. I had the opportunity of meeting Craig a few years ago in Termas de Chillan. Upon meeting Craig, you instantly knew he was genuine. Craig was a great, down-to-earth guy that would go out of his way to help somebody he had just met. Craig was the antithesis of the rock star, attitude, no substance scene. He was about soul and the world needs more people like that. I feel privileged to have met him and taken a few runs. My condolences go out to his family and friends. Losing Marco Siffredi and Craig in one season is horrible. Many times when we lose someone to the mountains it is easy to point and say, "I wouldn't have done that. They made a mistake." This wasn't the case. Craig was skilled, knowledgable, experienced, and had a good head. Once real details flow in it will be easier to tell, but I believe that most reasonable people would have made the same decisions that day. Other people in your life hear about these things and ask you to be careful. It always seems easy to agree and tell them it wouldn't happen to you because you're somehow smart or skilled enough to avoid it. This time I couldn't say anything. Sometimes your number just comes up. Acceptance of that is part of spending any time in big mountains.
  14. I've only spent a couple days at Crystal but we skied down towards 410 and climbed back out. It sounds like this is a lot like the CakeHole on Whistler. It's possible to ski out w/o a snowmobile but much faster and enjoyable if you get a sled tow out. I might have to find out.
  15. There are more than a few people who have been eyeing that line for the past few years. They've just been a little quieter about it than some others. It's definitely skiable given the right conditions and timing. If you've seen what regularly gets skied in the Chamonix valley you know it's possible. But, it's a lot more effort to just "check out" the status of Thermogenesis than it is the N Face of the Midi or the Couturier and that is why it's so much harder to pull off. In my opinion, a great deal of patience and persistance is needed. It would be cool if somebody from the NW skied it instead of a Euro rolling in and poaching it.
  • Create New...