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[TR] Lake Chelan - Holden - Fernow Glacier and Dumbell S Side 4/22/0

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Trip: Lake Chelan - Holden - Fernow Glacier and Dumbell S Side


Date: 4/22/2011


Trip Report:

Skiing near Holden Village has been on my mind for a few years. The subject generated enthusiasm with a couple friends too, so we made plans. There are a lot of great ski lines near Holden. We decided to ski slopes near Mount Fernow.


Christian contacted Holden Village and arranged for a shuttle bus, a nights lodging, and a boat ride up Lake Chelan. Christian, Jeff, and I met the boat on Friday the 23rd. Most of the folks on the boat were going to the village for a long weekend. There's all kinds of great day skiing right out of Holden Village, but we decided to leave the village and ski up to a high camp. We wanted to ski for three days and camp out. After that we would be really psyched for good food, and a cabin.


On the way up we crossed a bridge to the south side of Railroad Creek then headed up to Big Creek. When we came out we crossed Railroad Creek on a logs up high then followed the Holden Lake trail back to camp.


Jeff and Christian under Copper Peak



Skiing up Big Creek Drainage



We picked a camp spot so we could ski Fernow Glacier one day then the South Side of Dumbell Mountain the next. We got in late the first night. Our gear had a long nigh to ice up. the main subject of conversation the next morning was either lets move to warm up or when will the sun hit us.


We found some newer snow on top of a spring layer on the way up Fernow.


View from Big Creek



Jeff skinning up



Christian and Jeff skinning with Dumbell Mountain behind



The route heads up an obvious line to a high bowl on Fernow. There is a small glacier up high on the mountain, but it is not visible till you get close. The slope angle steepens the higher you get.


Eventually we traded skis for crampons on the ascent.





We were headed to the ridge crest, but things got a bit dicey and we decided the last 40 feet were not mandatory parts of the ski line.


Fun times switching back from crampons to skis



After the first turn we found some great snow with a consistency like day old freshiez. The top of the glacier is somewhere over 50 degrees but gradually backs off. Fun Stuff


Our high point is on the top left hand side (climbers) of the snowfield-glacier



From there we found killer turns to the valley



Views from Dumbell slopes


The ski line is on the left hand side of the photo. Seven Fingered Jack is on the right hand side



Close up view



Lover down we skied skiers right to avoid avalanche debris.



Christian skiing



Looking back up



We got back to camp with time to dry out. The weather forecast called for shifting conditions, so we weren't sure how much skiing we would get on the 24th. As it turned out skies were still blue with only some wisps of an incoming storm.


We headed up towards Dumbell Mountain. There's nice ice climbing in the upper valley. Just ignore those cornices above.



Here's a photo of the route from Fernow. We skied on the left hand side slopes. The slopes in the center of the photo look great, but cliffs at the base make ascent and descent tricky



We were headed to an obvious col between summits. Things looked good in the upper basin.



As we climbed the final slopes to the col weather really did move in. At about 200 feet vertical below the col we called it and started skiing down. Clouds were moving in and visibility was on the way out.


View of Fernow



Looking back up



From there we headed back to camp and loaded up for our ski out. We missed out on the killer high slopes, but skiing trees with an overnight pack provides its own excitement.


Crossing Railroad Creek





Fortunately the trail is close to the creek once you cross it, so the final distance to Holden went smoothly.


Here's a map I marked up with our approximate ski route



We made it back to Holden about thirty minutes before dinner, so we didn't feel too bad about missing out on some skiing. The facility at Holden is nice and everybody was happy to see us.


We played pool in the morning. Next time I go there I have to used the bowling lanes!


After spending the morning at Holden we hopped on the bus and headed down to Lake Chelan



The boat ride provides good views of Lucerne, and surrounding mountains.



Views of clouds up high confirmed we'd hit a good patch of weather this time.



In terms of timing things worked great. Rain really started coming down when we started driving. We're no A Team, but I do like the line, "I love it when a plan comes together."


Gear Notes:

A boat up Lake Chelan is nice.


Approach Notes:

Talk to the folks at Holden Village prior to heading there. The road from Lucerne to Holden is 11 miles. They have a nice spot to spend the night before and or after the trip. Crossing Railroad creek on logs can be tricky depending on snowpack.

Edited by Feck

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Very cool trip Feck. Whats the snowpack like leaving Holden heading out into the mountains?

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The snowpack is fine for travel right now, but it is on the way out. With a week of warm weather you'll be hiking for a bit.

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Here are a few more photos from the Trip. It was a good time, the mountains in that area are incredible.

A nice line right out of Holden



Feck climbing on the upper slopes of Fernow



Feck getting ready to ski down



Bonanza in the background



Jeff skiing down Fernow



A view of Fernow from our ski up towards Dumbell.



Feck's Pack that had a little run in with a marmot last summer



We made it back to Holden just in time for easter diner. the village is pretty mellow but everyone was really nice and they had tons of hot coffee and fresh baked cookies.

A little powder the first day and corn the next, and the weather held out just long enough, what more could we ask for.

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Very nice - thanks for the report. Been up there in summer for climbs but not yet in winter. Looks like a Spring trip may be in order!

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Very nice guys. Holden is on my list - its a long list, we've got some amazing mountains 'round these parts.

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