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[TR] a 542 area tour - various 2/6/2012

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Trip: a 542 area tour - various


Date: 2/6/2012


Trip Report:

Routes Climbed and Skied:


Southeast face of Pleiades

North couloir Pleiades

South face Larrabee

Southwest face Larrabee

North face Shuksan



I left the Hannagen parking area early Saturday afternoon, halfway up the approach some friendly sledders stopped and graciously offered a ride, but I declined cause I woulda felt lame. Arriving at a satisfactory bivy around sundown I felt nervous and lonely about dropping down into the Winchester drainage -- down into the unknown dark woods to the slide path at the base of the SE face -- from the bivy I could see where I had to go -- but the view inspired doubts.


After a bit of shuteye I set out around 3am -- dropping down some ramps and then a chute -- crossing my fingers that I wouldn't get cliffed out and have to post hole back up and find a different way, luckily it went. The way through the woods was easier than I had anticipated but there were definitely some sections of thick deadfall and alder. Canadian radio was my friend. I scratched my eye making my way through some alder just before it got light, and had to wait for the irritation to go away before proceeding. The rest of the climb was a mindless slog except for an interesting water ice step.


From a distance, the summit of Pleiades looks rocky, but there is a snow chute that connects the face to the summit. My plan was coming together perfectly. I sat on the summit contemplating an hour to kill before the sun was prime on the face. I made the mistake of looking down the north side - what I saw inspired a change of plan. I had definitely not expected to be looking down a rad powder filled couloir. After skiing it and regaining the summit, the sun was leaving the SE aspect of the face, I rushed to melt some water - then dropped in on the face as the final morning rays withdrew. The snow was still soft and a lot of fun, a few frozen rollerballs aside. I skied down to the valley 4500 feet below. The post holing was difficult back up to my bivy because the snow was deep and variable/crusty on that north aspect. I was planning to head back home when The late day sun on Larrabee caught my eye. I had plenty of extra fuel and food, the conditions were good, weather was great and a full moon was rising. No reason not to go up and spend the night in the Winchester cabin then ski Larrabee the next day.


Conditions were the classic cascade pow on the north sides corn on the south -- the morning approach and climbing was smooth and enjoyable. I skied the South face first - then climbed back up and skied the longer southwest face down to the basin. I made it back to the cabin and enjoyed a sunset sipping coffee. The moon was out but the snow had crusted and the south face was a mess of frozen debris, but still fun to ski. The road out was fast but a little tricky because of the crusty/icy conditions and sled tracks -- making catching a tip and twisting a leg a very real possibility, but with tiring caution I made it out safe and sound. I made it to the bar and found out that the weather the next day was still supposed to be good.


The next morning I woke up to knocking on my camper door, it was Andy Traslin! We ended up having a great day of climbing the NW couloir (which had several ice sections -- that Ben Price and Nick from Glacier shredded the day before in high style which was evident from their rippin tracks.) and skiing the North Face -- which I reconed for ice -- and found a narrow corridor of windhammered snow between ice patches. The skiing was really fun.


the se face





the north couloir on pleiades as seen from larrabee



dropping the north couloir on pleiades



slesse from the north couloir



larrabee from pleiades



glacier on north side of pleiades








upper se face pleiades



Andy Traslin



Andy on the north face





cheezy self portrait






north face of shuksan in the distance, winchester and my tracks in the forground.







Edited by danhelmstadter

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Good work Dan! Great Andy ran into you for Shuksan.... Can/ Am Challenge....I think it is more important about being out there than (Having Fun)than what you wear....

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1) you did not want to ride on a sled that was offered to you becuase you thought of lameness? Wow. You are a crackbaby.

2) you resummitted Pleides? Wow. I understand the routes the reason for the routes you were doing, but I was up there once, and did not want to return. This is your second trip there this season. Wow.

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you are a beast. your trips and the lines you ski are so impressive, they are definitely inspiration to push oneself towards goals. i read your TRs feeling like a 10yr old in the presence of a superhero. bravo


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1) you did not want to ride on a sled that was offered to you becuase you thought of lameness? Wow. You are a crackbaby.

e .


A sled ride would have just slowed him down. That's how good Dan is.

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Wow, I mean WOW! Thanks for sharing - one leg of this would have been my whole trip. Keep getting' it.

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Actually I'm not trying out for the blue man group but the smurfs.


I would have taken the sled ride for sure.


Thanks for breaking trail and scoping the north face.

Epic day.

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