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skykilo

best of cc.com [TR] Mt Stuart - Ice Cliff Glacier 4/12/2008

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Trip: Mt Stuart - Ice Cliff Glacier

 

Date: 4/12/2008

 

Trip Report:

After a bus to and a high-speed train from Grenoble, a lovely evening in Paris, a two-hour flight to Amsterdam, a five-hour wait in Amsterdam created by flight delay, and an eleven-hour flight to Seattle, Ryan was nice enough to nab me from SEATAC Friday evening circa seven. Four hours after leaving me at home, most of which I spent drinking Génépi liquor and raving to my roommates about France and Les Hautes-Alpes, he reappeared with his new kick-ass ski buddy Monika and they were ready to go to Leavenworth.

 

There was a bit of discussion about what route to ski. Colchuck Peak's NBC was mentioned, but I thought that a hot day and early sun would guarantee a death slurpee there. We needed to get high and find shelter. I knew just the line for the job: Ice Cliff Glacier: so protected, so high, so steep, so lovely.

 

What better way to cure jet lag than a long approach after a short nap?

Approach.jpg

Ryan skis toward Mt Stuart after a pleasant ~12 km approach from Icicle Creek Road.

 

Stuart.jpg

Mt Stuart: the Ice Cliff Glacier and its couloir are hiding in the shadows to the left of the summit and false summit

 

We had some fun playing on the blue ice of the glacier...

ai1.jpg

Monika enjoys some ice - we didn't have to climb this, but it was good to avoid exposure below a menacing serac.

 

ai2.jpg

This chunk of ice required a small amount of air time on the descent.

 

When Casey and I skied the couloir two years ago, it took a good edge, but it was none too soft. This time we found chunky pow that made for some wickedly fun steep skiing.

 

CorniceClimb.jpg

Monika and Ryan get at the cornice, while I offer them a rope between kicking snow onto them and taking pictures.

 

Summit.jpg

Monika and Ryan approach the true summit.

 

MoRap.jpg

Monika is a ripper; she's so good that she levitates over vertical rocks on her skis.

 

La trace raconte l'histoire...

RyanRap.jpg

No, actually, she was on rappel, as Ryan is here. He was just holding her rope. He didn't hold my rope. Jerk.

 

SkyTop.jpg

The snow was incredible.

 

SteepSkiing.jpg

Ryan finds his groove.

 

Sky2.jpg

Wonderful steep turns down the whole couloir!

 

MoMoney.jpg

In case you can't tell, Monika is shredding the steeps.

 

RyanSki.jpg

Ryan enjoys his turn on the same.

 

SkyIC.jpg

Ice cliff bulge from above...

 

ICAir.jpg

...and from below.

 

This route is definitely a steep skiing classic. The Stuart Range is holding a ton of snow this spring. Everybody go bag some lines!

 

Triple Culos?

TripleCulos.jpg

 

I have lots of material from the Alps; so much that it's overwhelming. Coming soon... after I do some work.

 

 

 

 

Gear Notes:

Carried and used 1 metric shit-tonne of gear; it was heavy.

 

Approach Notes:

The Cascades kicked my ass after sipping expressos in the Alps.

 

RefugeDArg.jpg

Sky and Ryan au Refuge d'Argentière two weeks ago. We're here; we're there; we ski steeps everywhere.

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