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[TR] Pickets - South to North Ski Traverse 2/17/2010


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Trip: Pickets - South to North Ski Traverse


Date: 2/17/2010


Trip Report:

Over six days of glorious high pressure, the prolific Jason Hummel and I skied from Stetattle ridge to Hannegan Pass road through the southern and northern Pickets. With a few variations, we followed the route of the 1984 Skoog traverse. Most notably, we omitted the summit of Fury and finished on the Mineral high route, skiing over Mineral and Ruth mountains instead of hiking along the Chilliwack trail.


We encountered variable but mostly good ski conditions, and some interesting route finding. As anticipated, the crux proved to be finding a reasonable way onto Mt. Fury from the bottom of McMillan Creek cirque. Going over the Southeast Peak seemed unreasonable in winter conditions, so we found a way up the creek and falls draining the Southeast Glacier. Unsure of the details of the route the Skoogs took to cross from Luna to McMillan, we opted for the devil we knew and traversed to Luna col. The ski down into Luna was the powder run of a lifetime--super stable, Valdez style snow, with Fury as a backdrop. Unforgettable.


I kept thinking to myself, "This is like the Haute Route 10,000 years ago." The solitude and austerity of the Range make it easy to overlook that the traverse is really an enjoyable, reasonable tour; no technical shenanigans required. The heinous reality of retreating down any of the valleys simply made it extra important to check the weather forecast before dropping into McMillan. Don't leave home without your UHF/VHF radio!


I will post photos when I wake up in about a week.


Approach Notes:

Stetattle ridge is long, but two days riding the ridge let the avalanche hazard subside before we entered really serious terrain. We hiked to 4,000 ft. on the Sourdough Mt. trail, then travelled almost exclusively on skis for the remainder of the six days. Literally ten minutes of road walking brought us to the car.

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Congratulations Forest and Jason.


While I was skiing last week, I wondered whether you might jump on this weather window. Winter conditions like we've had this week are very rare. For the record, my trip with my brother Carl and Jens Kieler was in 1985. It's remarkable that a quarter century has passed since then. Here's my old trip report:




With the amazing winter conditions and your improvements to the route (particularly over Mineral Mountain) you guys have taken it to the next level.

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Thanks forest and lowell, thanks for the inspiration.


Here's a taste of a few pics. I have over a 1000 and haven't even begun to look at them all. Ha. But I think my 14 lbs of camera gear was worth it! Well, it was lightened since I lost my night photography gear. If you are in McMillan Cirque, I'd be stoked if you'd pick it up (kidding, but serious it's next to this boulder where I slept. It can't be too hard to find, right :poke: ).









Edited by AllYouCanEat
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... scurlock sure can't get pix like those!


no sir.. esp. not that night ~20 min exposure.. wowee... plus my sled isn't big enough to carry the huge cajones required for that traverse..!!


Great trip gents.!


it looks just a bit different back in there right now, I was by there early this morning & the wind was howling. you sure nailed it.




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