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Loose_Brie

Snowmobile in a crevasse on Baker

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St Helens is open to snowmobiles, except for designated areas...

 

Yes, we are painfully aware that we have to pay to climb where you get to go for free. boxing_smiley.gif

 

Free? Hardly. Registration is around $50 a year per sled, not to mention trailers.

Whoopee! We pay (in season) $15 every damn time we want to go - unless you buy the "volcano pass" bs. But wait - you get a Snowpark permit FREE! with your $50 registration! Trailers are a motor vehicle fee. Bitch at the DMV

 

First of all, I have and do pay the same fee you do when I "climb" MSH as well as my $50 to use my sled, which incidently I have not and wouldn't take on MSH for my own particular reasons. Secondly if I'm paying $50 for my registration and snowpark pass, how is that free?

 

 

 

JoshK- your comparison is weak. They are both physicaly demanding in different ways. Machines may not have a place in the designated wilderness (something which there is plenty of in this state) but they do have a place in the alpine if good judgement is used.

 

Some of you really need to be a bit more tolerant of other user groups.

 

bigdrink.gif

 

Nah...my comparison is fine. Any reasonably fit person can ride a snowmobile. It's an aside point from the actual argument, but I'm not gonna sit and watch somebody claim it as some sort of legitimate form of excercise.

 

Have you actually ever been to morowitz meadows or whateer it's called? It's disgusting there after a weekend of snowmobile use.

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So...I snowmobile 80+ days a year...at work. I'm probably old from your point of view; I'm not fat. Anybody who says snowmobiling isn't hard work has never stuck one of the mothers.

That said, I have zero interest in snomobiling on my own time. Can't stand the racket. But there are God's plenty of places I can go where they're not around; I can't begrudge them their share of the world.

 

Just my 2 cents...

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Nah...my comparison is fine. Any reasonably fit person can ride a snowmobile. It's an aside point from the actual argument, but I'm not gonna sit and watch somebody claim it as some sort of legitimate form of excercise.

 

Have you actually ever been to morowitz meadows or whateer it's called? It's disgusting there after a weekend of snowmobile use.

 

I wasn't aware we were discussing a particular meadow, I was commenting on your blanket statement "machines have no place in the alpine, end of story". Why, are there oil cans and beer bottles strewn about? I doubt it. I would consider riding over an expanse of exposed meadow an example of poor judgement.

 

Exercise? I don't think anyone called snowmobiling exercise. It is undeniably physically demanding though.

 

I have far better things to do than argue about this any further. I can agree to disagree.

 

bigdrink.gif

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I'm only willing to comment on things that I have seen (and smelled) first hand. I have seen piles of rubbish at Mt. Adams and other places. I have seen riders launch thier vehicles over the heads of people practicing ice axe arrest at Stevens. I have seen small trees scarred or destroyed by having been driven over at Schreiber's Meadows.

 

One must ask the question why this behavior exists. Is it because the adrenaline rush overcomes rational thought and a sense of responsibility, or is it simple ignorance? I think it is a little bit of both. Backcountry skiers learn their low-impact ethic by associating with experienced mentors who share their concern for the environment. The long learning period involved helps ensure that responsibility is taugh along with the hard skills. I think that because less skill is involved in snowmobiling, people are going out there without being exposed to low-impact ethics (some operators are highly skilled, but I am talking about the skill needed to just get out on a trail or road).

 

So what would change the situation? Snowmobile clubs can and do teach low-impact use. What other ways are there?

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Never did I intend to say that snowmobiling is EXERCISE!! I just know from personal experience that you can get a great workout while riding. I have also skied and hiked a lot in my life and know those physical demands. I admit a secret fantasy of telelmarking down a virgin powder slope but am unwilling to put in the time to become good enough to do that.

 

My biggest contention is that while there are some stupid snowmobiliers, they do not represent the typical sledders. If the horror stories of environmental abuse are in fact not exaggerated or over-stated, It sounds like Shriebers(sp)meadow should have snowmobile tracks ripping across the pristine meadow when the snow melts. I do expect to hike there with my family this summer and trust me, I will look for any tell-tale sign of lingering damage. I expect more so that I will find ocassional granola wrappers, gatorade bottles and my favorite, dog poop. It may be below some you experts, but take a hike to Talapus lake and see the great respect the public has for staying on the trails and avoiding wet areas. I know it is overused, but just an example that all aspects of forest use have stupid people using them. Does

 

If I was a skier and wanted solitude, I would try any of the millions of acres of snow covered mountains that are desinated for that purpose. (non-Motorized use)

 

As far as staying on trails, I will if you do. I don't expect that you would enjoy following each other single file on a designated trail to the top of Easton GLacier. I also contend that there are not any trails that are made veritally up cliffs. Best you stay off there also. And what about those brighly colored devices left behind to biodegrade in cliff faces!!! Will those holes drilled in the virgin rock face slowly fill in again naturally!!

 

I appreciate the comments made by some of your members. We do have our issues with sledders but there is an effort being made to improve the actions of the whole industy. We are thankful that we have an oppertunity to ride Mt Baker and Mt St. Helens. Both places have small areas that are open for use and we want to do what is necesary to keep them open.

Edited by Multipleuse

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Multipleuse, I have to admit to being biased against snomobiles, but I have a question.

 

One of the most annoying things about the sleds is how noisy they are. On Mt Bailey, we skinned for five hours, got to the top, and were surprised by a snocat that chugged up. Apparently there's a cat skiing operation up there that we hadn't known about. But the cats are quiet enough that when it was 100 yards away we could barely hear it, and the low noise kept me from getting too annoyed by its presence. With this example in mind, why aren't sleds built with 4 stroke engines and other modifications to reduce noise pollution? I know some sled heads actually make mods to increase the noise of their obnoxious machines. If you really want to reduce the impact of sleds and keep others happy, consider making the machines quiet.

 

Damage to fragile environments is a different issue that pisses me off even more, but quiet sleds would be a step forward.

 

And for your dream of skiing backcountry powder....go for it! It doesn't take that much time to become a proficient skier.

 

Catbirdseat, I think it is the former. It's too easy to destory something when it'll be a mile behind you in a minute.

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With this example in mind, why aren't sleds built with 4 stroke engines and other modifications to reduce noise pollution? I know some sled heads actually make mods to increase the noise of their obnoxious machines. If you really want to reduce the impact of sleds and keep others happy, consider making the machines quiet.

 

The point is power. As a friend of mine used to say in another context "if some is good, more is better, and too much ought to be just about enough." Why have a sled that sounds like a Toyota sedan, when you could have one that sounds like a Nascar racer? You just can't put a price on that extra bit of acceleration.

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One must ask the question why this behavior exists. Is it because the adrenaline rush overcomes rational thought and a sense of responsibility, or is it simple ignorance? I think it is a little bit of both. Backcountry skiers learn their low-impact ethic by associating with experienced mentors who share their concern for the environment. The long learning period involved helps ensure that responsibility is taugh along with the hard skills. I think that because less skill is involved in snowmobiling, people are going out there without being exposed to low-impact ethics (some operators are highly skilled, but I am talking about the skill needed to just get out on a trail or road).

 

Catbird, you, Josh and some others here seem to suggest that backcountry skiers are some kind of earth loving stewards of all things natural and snowmobilers are a bunch of thoughtless pigs who think nothing of ripping up the woods and spewing garbage. This is self-indulgent rhetoric.

 

You do see more ripped up bushes and trash from snowmobilers than from backcountry skiers. The reason is that the machines are bigger, heavier, and more powerful than most backcountry skiers and they are powered by an engine that belches oil and smoke. But plenty of backcountry skiers think nothing of ripping branches from trees to open up their favorite glade, or felling a tree to create a bridge over a stream. I've seen this done. Others are prone to leaving wads of duct tape and gu packets behind, and others can be pretty damn unsanitary when it comes to camping and pooping next to a stream.

 

Yes, there are way more clueless idiots that will find their way to any given remote point in the wilderness on a snowmobile than who will find their way to that same location on skis, but this is not a moral difference, either. It is a simple fact that it is easier to get to said location on a snowmobile, though as some of these motorheads have pointed out - it is not completely effortless.

 

Yes, there is a lot to learn about backcountry skiing before you can safely ski up Mount Baker but, you know what? You don't just sit down on the seat and gun the throttle to get there on a snowmobile, either. You have to know just as much about navigation, crevasses, avalanche conditions etc., you have to know how to take care of yourself if you get stuck out there, and you have to know how to fix the damn thing when you burn up a belt or whatever. Snowmobilers don't start at the bunny hill and work their way up to the expert slopes in quite the same manner as skiers, but serious high-mountain snowmobiling is just that: serious.

 

While many people are drawn to backcountry skiing for solitude and quiet, some are ten times the adrenaline junkie of the average snowmobile rider. Backcountry skiers learn ethics and judgment from their elders and snowmobilers do not? Statements like this reveal nothing about what is wrong with snowmobiling, but clearly show part of waht is wrongheaded and selfcentric about some climbers and skiers.

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I am a guilty sledder in respect to noise. I have an older sled that I have pieced together because I have two kids in College and refuse to spend $10,000 on a toy. The exhaust system on my particuular machine boosted performance by over 40%, but that was before pipe makers woke up and designed quieter pipes. If I could go back in time and get quiet pipes for a 96 model year that gave me the 40% improvement I would do it. Synthetic oils have greatly reduced the smoke left behind snowmobiles, especially once they reach operating temperature. Direct fuel inject is also coming.

 

They are making 4 stroke snowmobiles that are getting more competent in the mountains and have made some strides this last year, but they are underpowered and heavy. Take out the noise issue (which I know offends most of you) but show me a skier or mountain climber that will buy new equipmnet that is inferior to what you have now. Heavier skis, equipment and clothing would not be what the majority of skiers would by just because of a "cause".

 

I would be disappointed if I planned a quite afternoon hiking somewhere only to find an ATV trail on the ridge. Knowing the area you are going is important for safety reasons as well as enjoyment. (No sno-cats)

 

If I had time (check that-was commited) I would get out my x-country skis and get in ski-shape to cut up a slope.

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I have an extremely hard time believing some of these stories. I just don't see the "hooligans" described here. I feel many of your preconceived notions regarding this user group clouds reality. As a climber, bc snowboarder, and snowmobiler, I have not noticed "oil cans", "parts" or an abundance of "beer cans". (in snowmobile areas vs. non-snowmobiling areas)

 

There is no need to carry extra oil on any modern sled. They are all oil injected and have a reservoir that holds enough for multiple tanks of fuel. All of the high performance mountain sleds use a full synthetic oil and not much at that. (2-3 gallons per 1000 miles) An effort has been made to improve the stench, although their sucess is debatable. The only reason parts would be left behind is due to an accident (they happen) and everyone I know makes an effort to remove all traces. I can't remember ever seeing any in the places I frequent. (never ridden on Baker, that interferes with cragging season) Beer cans seem to sprout up where people go, I don't think blaming it on snowmobilers is very objective.

 

Believe what you want, I don't care.

 

I know nothing about the oil needs of new snowmobiles and couldn’t possibly care less. I can assure you that I am not exaggerating about what I found or heard and experienced. I only mentioned what I myself carried out, two hand fulls of snomo parts and beer cans. I didn’t even mention what the other members of my party carried out (they had their share as well). Bad from on the snomoers part. thumbs_down.gif If you don’t see this stuff laying around, trees scraped to shit, etc maybe its because you’re too busy blazing past skiers at 50 mph. Its amazing what you see when you are hiking or skiing and taking things more slowly... And there are lots of accidents with snowmobilers happening!! How many have been mentioned in this thread alone?? Duh!!!

 

Okay, who is more likely to lug a case of beer up on Baker; hikers/climbers/skiers or snowmobilers? Come on man, don’t be dumb!!! Is this a troll?

 

And I agree with who ever said to just avoid the area, that’s what I do. It only took one awful experience to teach me that lesson. The south side of baker is “out of season” for ~2 more weeks as far as I am concerned.

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There's certainly an eternal battle between human-powered vs mechanized backcountry fun. I don't think skiers or mountain bikers annoy sledders & bikers nearly as much as the other way around. Environmental impact aside, having to listen to the roar of two stroke engines all day long just pisses me off.

 

However, even if I don't understand it, I concede that gearheads have the right to play outside just like me. The fact that they are quarantined in designated areas (for the most part) is enough to keep me happy.

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I thought I'd try to talk some sense into my friend about riding snowmobiles on glaciers but, he's convinced it's safe to follow other riders tracks.

 

Stronger gene-pool via Darwinian selection by avy or crevasse...

 

Someone should tell them its super cool to huck off N Ridge's ice-cliff...

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a·pol·o·gist ( P ) Pronunciation Key (-pl-jst)

n.

A person who argues in defense or justification of something, such as a doctrine, policy, or institution.

 

Mattp is an apologist on the issue of snowmobiles.

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MultiP, I think your right on but maybe a little short sighted. Four strokes are heavier and quiter and tend towards under powered that much is given. It can be over come but that COSTS. I think that the snowmobiles are not far out of the sights of the EPA though. A couple years back they lit into the boating world and gave them a couple years to clean up or shut down. This led to some huge changes in two stroke and four stroke tech for boats. The boat world got drug into it kickin and screamin. One thing that has been learned by groups like Access Fund and such is that if the people push their own changes first the Gov. makes less of a mess out of stuff. I think that we all agree that we would hate to see the BC situation if we let the Gov. due anything they wanted without a little bitchin from us little guys.

 

Is there any biler group that is tryin to get in front of the game instead of pushed around?

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JoshK, you pollute the atmosphere worse than a guy on his sled. Spin it any way you want, but that's a fact. I don't know what their mpg is, but I'd imagine quite high. Their season is short and it's a recreation. Versus you drive your ass-hauler probably every day, all year long. Gas is something like six pounds per gallon, average car goes 12-15,000 miles per year... how many pounds of pollution are you putting in the atmosphere each year?

I think others have summed it up well. I've gotten a real kick in the pants sledding in Colorado. It sure is fun. The sledders I've come across here have been nice and slowed down as they drove by. In fact, two sledders drove an injured climber and her boyfriend back down to the trailhead, a few years back. We didn't know these guys, but they happened upon our group and helped out, at Mt Baker no less.

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Catbird, I've been called an apologist in the context of the sport climbing vs trad debates, as well. And I'll take a similar position next week, when we start bitching about horse packers. My point here is that we have to recognize that there are other user groups who want to use the same lands that we do.

 

It does absolutely no good to argue that we are morally superior to the snowmobile crowd. First of all, I think it is flat out wrong -- I think many of the snowmobilers I've talked to are indeed quite responsible and just as moral as you and I. Sure, there are a lot of careless and irresponsible motorheads out there but the problem, I think, is that the technology is just a mess to begin with and that the powerful noisy machines, even if used responsibly, have quite an impact. Also, an irresponsible snowmobiler can do a lot more damage than an irresponsible skier.

 

Any constructive discussion will address questions such as whether or not snowmobiles should be restricted more than they are at present, or such things as how might they be encouraged to adopt 4 stroke technology, or how do we get them to clean up after themselves or do we need a snowmobile patrol in those meadows below the Easton ... and things like that. To argue that "we are better than them" doesn't help; it only makes us look selfish.

 

One other thing about the snowmobile area on Mount Baker: the very existence of their slice of pie on the south side of Mount Baker points out the fact that, when the wilderness area boundaries were drawn, these guys were organized. As climbers and backcountry skiers, we tend to be all righteous about wanting to go anywhere we want, anytime we want, and to complain about user fees. But we have historically been very poor at coming together in any cohesive manner to address these issues. In this respect, I'm not an apologist; I'm downright admiring of the evil motorhead snowmobilers.

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I, for one, would like to see all tele skiers banned from the Coleman-Demming. Their turns tend to be less controlled than the A/T skiers, and I am concerned that they are not removing their skis when they descend into fragile exposed meadow areas. Good God man, I have seen this with my own eyes!

 

I would also like to see plastic boots banned. They really tear up trails...and why do so many people wear them before they reach the snow? Another example of a few bad apples ruining it for "the rest of us".

 

Why do climbers wear red or yellow parkas? They are really obtrusive, un-natural colors that have no place in the backcountry.....

 

Harmonicas and banjos....why?

Edited by Fairweather

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Snowmobilers show no inclination to adopt clean and quiet technology. Skiers have no inclination to ignore snowmobilers. Perhaps the solution is to keep the two groups apart. Maybe skiers should be kept out of the Schrieber's Meadows approach until the close of snowmobile season? I don't think the skiers would go for that, but it would sure stop the complaining.

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I feel snomobilers, nude hikers, and lawn bowlers have every right to enjoy their given recreational desire just as Backcountry skiers and climbers do. However, I have also seen snomobilers ripping apart one of those big forest service information signs and feeding it to their fire along the Salmon La Sac. I personally think there is more destructive impulse in motorized sports enthusiasts A la 'let's rip it up' but can't fault them being out there. Riding them is fun. A big sport in some areas of the country is to combine bars with 'biles. drunk and zipping around, its a blast.

 

Noise pollution is a pretty petty complaint. "I Don't like the noise."

 

Gas and oil in the Backcountry is another matter, but a smaller issue than dogs in the backcountry. Their shit can transmit a fatal brainworm to hooved animals, and decimate an animal population. I say, ban dogs everywhere in the backcountry. Let's hunt them from 4 stroke sno-mos, the better to sneak up on em.

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JoshK, you pollute the atmosphere worse than a guy on his sled. Spin it any way you want, but that's a fact. I don't know what their mpg is, but I'd imagine quite high. Their season is short and it's a recreation. Versus you drive your ass-hauler probably every day, all year long. Gas is something like six pounds per gallon, average car goes 12-15,000 miles per year... how many pounds of pollution are you putting in the atmosphere each year?

I think others have summed it up well. I've gotten a real kick in the pants sledding in Colorado. It sure is fun. The sledders I've come across here have been nice and slowed down as they drove by. In fact, two sledders drove an injured climber and her boyfriend back down to the trailhead, a few years back. We didn't know these guys, but they happened upon our group and helped out, at Mt Baker no less.

 

Actually if you were to compair lifestyles I bet the snowmobiler uses a lot more gas.

 

Josh commutes to work...so does the biler; therefore that's a wash.

 

Josh drives his rig to go skiing; he uses whatever it takes in gas.

 

The biler is dragging a trailer; therefore he uses more gas; then he fires up his gas powered toys and spends the day burning gas and having fun while josh is having fun without burning gas.

 

Anyway, I'd just like to say, as somebody who runs 2 cycle engines all day at work, I want my recreation to not remind me of the bad parts about work; therefore I have no desire or understanding of those who think that sucking exhaust and listening to a loud engine is fun.

 

Sure I'd take a pull up a logging road from a biler, but I'd do that so the rest of the time I could be left in peace.

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