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[TR] Oval Peak - East Ridge & Sawtooth Ski Tour


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Trip: Oval Peak - East Ridge & Sawtooth Ski Tour


Date: 2/20/2007


Trip Report:



On Friday morning, Chris Simmons (MtnFreak) and I left Twisp and drove 11 miles up the Twisp River Road, with eyes set on climbing and skiing from Oval, Star, and Courtney Peaks. We skinned up 5 miles of Forest Service road before starting up the trailhead for the W. Fork of Buttermilk Creek. We lost the trail a few times in the woods until Chris found the "cat track" for us to follow. :grin:




After a few more miles we left the trail and headed up to the basin on the North side of Oval Peak (8,800').




The next morning we skied up the North side of the East Ridge until it became to steep and rocky.




After cresting over into the sun we finished the scrambly climb and topped out into a strong wind filled with spindrift.





The summit had a clear view of Washington, from Mt. Stuart to the Pickets.



From the summit we enjoyed a 1300' ski run down to the Oval Lakes basin, where we toured across the frozen lakes and enjoyed a view of the North face of Courtney Peak.






From the basin we skiied up to the pass between Courtney Peak and Grey peak, and the very strong winds along the top changed our minds about trying to climb Courtney.




We skied from the ridge down to the South and camped on Saturday night between Star Peak and Courtney peak.




Our plans to climb and ski Star the next day were derailed when we woke up to 4" of fresh snow and more falling quickly.




We navigated (read: I tried to get us lost, Chris got us found)up to the pass between Star and Courtney peak, and from there we skied back down the valley to our car.




The ski-out took about 9 hours, and we left a blizzard at 8,000' to find bright sun and calm at the car.



I'm not sure if Oval Peak has been climbed in Winter before, or skiied from.


Gear Notes:

Brought ice tools and a small rack. We did not use it though :cry:


Approach Notes:

Twisp River road->W. Fork of Buttermilk Creek trail. The trail is fairly easy to follow on skis.

Edited by Blake
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I'm not sure if Oval Peak has been climbed in Winter before, or skiied from.


Nice! Always thought that area would be a nice place to visit in winter...


It's definitely been skied before (maybe you mean in winter?)... there are a couple entries for it on lowell's ski mountaineering history site. I skied it in summer (summit might have been melted out, I forget) a while back and we saw other ski tracks.

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what peak is this. Route(s) info? Awesome picture.


It's the North side of Courtney Peak, from Oval Lakes. It has not been climbed. Maybe a good spot for you winter North-Face Hardmen. We brought a rack/rope/tools, but all the snow was just blowing spindrift and powder.

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Thank you Blake for inviting me along a great trip - I had no idea walls like these existed east of Washington Pass. Incredibly potential for first descents and first ascents.

Some fun statistics:

Friday, 10.5 miles traveled, 4500' gained

Saturday, 4.6 miles traveled, 3000' gained, 2900' skied

Sunday, 13.3 miles traveled, 440' gained, 5040' skied

Total, 28.4 miles traveled, 7940' gained/skied

Edited by mtnfreak
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Which aspect did you ski? Scurlock's photos make the north face look fun.

We skied the South Face. The North and Northeast Couloirs looked sweet, but we decided against skiing them since it would mean having to climb up and over Oval again to reach Courtney. That last 600' on the East Ridge of Oval was a bitch. 50cm of snow over talus, so we kept punching through. The first 1300 took a little over an hour to climb, the last 600' took 1.5 hours. Ouch.


We didn't see a soul out there, and there weren't any tracks but our own on the trail on Sunday.


It was definitely worth it, and I've added to my list of places to get back to this year.

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