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marylou

[TR] -By Silver Star, other tall tales 3/22/2004

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Ski

 

Date of Ski: 3/20-22/2004

 

Trip Report:

Climb: Silver Star, sorta, and Mission Peak not at all-the regular way in

 

Date(s) of Ski: 3/22/2004

 

Trip Report:

We'd hoped to do this thing and that thing this weekend. As it turned out, most all plans went south as the weather did what it does in spring. Plans to climb in the Icicle Friday turned into plans to ski at Stevens instead.

 

Friday: Stevens Freshies

We had no trouble hunting down the in-bounds freshies, though there was a bit of ice under the 8 or so inches of fresh and fluffy. We had a pretty good day skiing out run after run in a few choice spots until we'd gobbled all of the good turns we could find.

 

Then it was off to Gustav's for dinner. It was decidedly c-c-cold in 11worth, and we were glad to have not been climbing that day. After dinner we headed over to Wenatchee, where lodging was uncommonly tight. Got a room at the Beast Western, where we were sharing with the Moose Lodge Convention, a bunch of high school basketball teams, and the Ultimate Fighting people. It was a long and noisy night. Those people need to sleep more, and slam doors less.

 

Saturday: Mission Peak?

Woke up feeling not-so-refreshed, and headed to Mission Ridge with the intention of riding the lifts to the top and touring away to the north. Can I just say now how much it sucks to have a pack on the lift?

 

Upon reaching the top of the ski hill, we were dismayed to find it mighty wind-scoured and ICY. Really goldarn icy. Oh, and not a lot of snow. Like Mission Ridge is a lot, apparently. So, we headed back down to the car and lost the packs, and proceeded to spend a sunny day going about 600 miles an hour on icy groomed slopes on AT gear. It was exciting, to say the least. The ice would have made me long for the good old days of skiing back East, if in fact I had ever skiied back East. As we were leaving the Mission Parking lot, I commented that my partner had left his apple on the roof of the car. We laughed a lot as the apple rolled around on the roof as we drove back to Wenatchee, and when it stopped, we figured the apple had fallen off. We promptly then forgot about it.

 

Then we made the long journey to Winthrop, still with no firm plans for Sunday. The avy report seemed to make it sound like things had calmed down enough for us to go in the BC, but where? A chat with a couple of nice fellows in the Winthrop Brewery got us focused on the Silver Star area. After dinner, we noted that the apple from earlier that day was still on the roof of the car. Nutty.

 

 

Sunday: Backcountry, finally

After a long peaceful evening of relaxing to the sweet burble of Knob Creek, we slept like the dead until.... OH SHIT! 8:45. Oops. Still planning to go somewhere by Silver Star, we trundled out to the end of the road and geared up. Everyone there was riding bikes and not skiing. The apple was still on the roof, BTW. We crashed up into the thick trees at around 10:30. My partner reminded me that this was a shakedown trip, as it was only my second time on skins. Good plan, keep expectations low. Snow coverage was thin, and the tree wells were wide. We worked our asses off for two hours before stopping to admire Silver Star.....way....up....the....valley. Fortunately we found a nice little ski hill on the left side of the valley. I thought the snow "looked fine", but my partner dug a little pit and had me stick my paws in it. We were both surprised to find a weak layer in there about a foot down from the top. The weak layer, and the plan, were discussed just long enough for me to get good and worked up about it. Then I went first.....and it was.....SO....much fun! As I waited in the trees for my partner to ski, I realized that I was sort of walking on rocks and stuff. Note to self: okay to walk on rocks in skins, but not okay when skins are not on skis. I was sorry that we then had to get back to the car. The ski/slide/fall down/laugh asses off through the trees was a load of fun and hardly took much time at all. We hiked down the last little bit with our skis on our back. When we arrived at the car, the apple had mysteriously vanished from the roof, but memories of the super great fun weekend we had ought to stay with me for a long time.

 

Approach Notes:

 

Snow is melting fast down low. Dug pit all the way to the ground in 5 mins at appx 5400, west facing slope. 30" of glop....ski it while it lasts. Delancy Ridge on N side of hwy almost dry.

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Marylou

 

Where is the road gated? Could you drive to Silver Star Creek or did you bike?

 

We skied Silver Star Glacier from the cul to treeline two weeks ago in ankle deep pow - really great skiing on North aspects. If you got to 5400' you were probably close to the good stuff - usually the best skiing is from there to the cul.

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The road is gated just past the creek. No snow visible as far as you can see on the roadway, though reoprts from mtn bikers indicate the road is cleared all the way to the hairpins, and not at all after that.

 

We were not carrying an alti, but looking at the map, that's a pretty good guess. I don't think we were all that close though, we were not at the head of the valley. Looked to us like we had another maybe couple of hours of thrashing to get there.

 

There were some fresh tracks coming down from the saddle near the summit of SS....and man oh man...someday I'm coming back to ski that. Awesome.

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The good skiing starts at the head of the valley.

 

If it takes a couple of hours for you to ski up the flat part of the valley you may want to choose a shorter tour next time. Either that or make it a two day trip and camp at the head of the valley.

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Well maybe we went in the wrong way, it wasn't all that flat, but keep in mind I am a total newbie with the skins and the kick turns, so it's only going to get easier. My kick turns are shameful 8-point things.

 

Looking at the map, if we'd had just a little more time, getting to the head of the valley would have been no problem. From where we skied up to those bowls looks pretty simple.

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For spring turns, it's actually nice to have the bottom melted out so you can speedily truck climbers trail on the east side of the creek for a ways before getting on snow - then there's just a bit of farting around before you're up in the huge open valley enjoying the glory part of the tour.

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