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[TR] Washington Pass 2009 Ski In - Big Kangaroo


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Trip: Washington Pass 2009 Ski In - Big Kangaroo


Date: 5/3/2009


Trip Report:

The annual Ski In party is always fun. Skiing potential near Washington Pass is huge, and the climbing/cragging is worth doing. The party gives you the added bonus of a cool place to camp, and a fun group to hang out with. Oh yeah beer and bbq too :brew:


Prior to the event this year I started thinking about cool skiing to do in the area. The standard routes are always fun (Silverstar/Birthday Tour), but doing something new can add a lot fun and or adventure.


While driving west from Mazama you can look up Willow Creek near the Wine Spires on Silverstar. I guessed the skiing in Willow Creek was a fantastic idea, but I wasn't sure about the best access to the valley. Also skiing down to the river below the Wine Spires looked marginal to funky.


On Friday the 1st we all met up at the Ski In camp site near Mazama, and talked things over. A few of us had skied the Nipple on Kangaroo Ridge a few times, but we were all guessing about getting into and out of Willow Creek. The weather report looked good for Saturday but marginal on Sunday. Eventually the group think decision was to go up the Nipple on Kangaroo Ridge and figure it out. Entrance to the line was not obvious, but we all had a good idea of problems involved with the exit to the route (cliffs/trees).


Saturday the 2nd looked good weatherwise, or good enough at the very least. A group of five of us drove to the hairpin turn east of Washington Pass and started skiing up.


Picture from Sunday 5/3



The ski up to the Nipple was straightforward since we'd done that before. The sky told us that weather was moving in, and Sunday might turn out to be sketchy as predicted.


View of Silverstar 5/2



We got to the summit of the Nipple and started looking for a good entrance to Willow Creek. Nothing was obvious. Snoboy scrambled around for a bit. His eventual report was we needed a rope, that we didn't have, to rap to a notch in Kangaroo Ridge. We new right from the start this might be an issue, but the worst case scenario was we'd get to repeat a killer ski run down to the hairpin in nice corn snow.


Skiing was great, and snow started falling lightly as we skied back to the car. Driving back to Mazama rain showers became the weather theme. Everybody figured we'd have a somewhat crappy Sunday. Oh well.


As things turned out blue skies were a weather theme on Sunday. We had a nice pancake breakfast and headed to the pass.


Here's our view from the hairpin with marked routes



There were seven of us on Sunday, and the uptrack was soon behind us. A short scramble down from the notch on snow/scree brought us to the point were we could start a new (to us) ski descent.


Here's our view down with tracks



The north face and an inch of new snow produced a little bit of powder.


One shot looking back at a few of the tracks through larch trees



Here's another shot from lower on the descent



Eventually the trees got tighter. We new this would happen. I didn't take any more photos for a while (due to the extreme conditions ;) ). Eventually we made it to the river and found a snow covered log to cross.


Dave doing some extreme skiing



From here we were on skins again. We stayed on skis till about 40 feet from the road.


Most of us hung out at the guard rail on HWY 20 while Cman hitchhiked back to the rigs.


All and all this Ski In and trip down Willow Creek was really cool with a fun group.


Gear Notes:

Snow sliding gear, maps, and a beer to wave at drivers headed west to inspire them to give one person a ride.


Approach Notes:

Park at the Hairpin or near and go up.


Prior to skiing drive down to the Wine Spires and check out snow conditions and locations of cliffs on the exit section of the ski line.

Edited by Feck
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Good times and some excellent ski conditions were had by all. Here are a few shots from sunday on the skin up to kangaroo ridge and the ski down into willow creek.


On the way up.


David going for next year's poster shot


David again.


Wayne - also in the running


Powder at the top on the way down into Willow Creek


Jimbo - Silver Star in the background


It was nice to meet everyone and the cabin is a great place to camp out.

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