jordansahls Posted March 24, 2012 Share Posted March 24, 2012 (edited) Trip: Holden to Tall Timber Ranch ski traverse (sort of) - Date: 3/16/2012 Trip Report: This trip was many things, too many for a simple plebian like myself to properly articulate in whimsical, flowing pros. So instead I will give a brief overview of the trip and let the pictures do more of the talking (everyone likes pictures, right?). The Plan: Two of us, Brian and myself, would traverse from Holden to Tall Timbers Ranch by climbing up and around Dumbell, Chiwawa, and Fortress mountains and traveling on the Chiwawa ridge attempting to hit Buck Mountain and some of the lesser peaks until we hit Schaefer lake, at which point we would ski a prominent couloir on the west side of the ridge down into the Nepeequa valley and out to our truck. What actually Happened: It took us longer than expected to make it to Dumbell lake due to deep, unstable snow. We spent an extra day in the tent waiting for the sun to bake and solidify the slopes leading up to Dumbell pass. Eventually we were able to ski up and over dumbbell pass. We had originally thought we could summit a number of the peaks, which are simple class 3-4 scrambles in the summer, but were corniced death pits at the time. This should not have come as a surprise but I think we had convinced ourselves that it would go, which was not the case. We skied down into the basin on the north side of Dumbell in deep, amazing powder. We then proceeded to skin up to the ridge on the West side of the basin over to Spider gap. The next obstacle was getting around Phelps ridge. We managed to find a ledge system up high on the East face that lead to a weakness in the South ridge. It was steep, unstable snow. We were very happy to be done with that section. However, we could not see a feasible way across to Chiwawa that did not involve traveling on more steep avy prone terrain. We eventually decided to drop down from the ridge into the upper Chiwawa basin. We had around 3k of amazing skiing. We thought that we could drop south towards Trinity and hit the trail up to Buck creek pass which would put us back on the ridge in more mellow terrain. That night it snowed 14 inches. The snow down low was already deep and made for slow going. Brian and I talked about our options. We both agreed that it would take us a whole day to get to Buck Creek pass in the current conditions and we were running out of time. To make a long story short we skied out the entire Chiwawa river road. It was 30 miles of blister inducing drudgery. Definitely not the ending we had in mind for this trip, but such is life and such are the mountains. We were lucky to get a ride back to our car from Joe, the owner of the 59er Diner, and his dog, Milkshake. The guy is awesome. We didn’t even have to stick out our thumbs; he just stopped his car and gave a honk. Seriously, if you find yourself out in the area, go to the 59er Diner and support a local asset to the outdoor community. It that’s not enough, the food is awesome. Thanks Joe! In the end, it was a truly great trip. There is a quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower that sums it up well, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensible” I would like to thank the people in Holden who were extremely hospitable and provided us with great information regarding current snow conditions. I would also like to thank the Director of Tall Timber Ranch who was gracious enough to let us park our vehicle in his parking lot for the better part of a week, and of course Joe and Milkshake. Pictures: Route Overview. Red = what we actually did (crappy triangles are camp spots), Black = what we wanted to do. Lake Chelan Holden Crossing the Creek Looking up Big Creek Copper peak from Big Creek Camp at Dumbell lake Some of the views from camp Some more views from camp (notice the avy crown) Brian heading up towards Dumbell pass Brian leading up Me following Looking back towards 7 finger jack and Fernow Me about to crest the pass At the pass, Bonanza in the background Brian starting the ski down Dumbell Me and my ski tracks down Dumbell Off Dumbell and heading towards another ridge above Lyman lakes Looking back at Dumbell. Our line went from the obvious pass down skiers right into the drainage Views from on the ridge heading towards spider gap Brian on the ridge Brian closer to spider gap At spider gap (we went up the bank on the right to gain the ledge system) Sketchy traverse on Phelps ridge Down in Chiwawa basin Lots of this Out Gear Notes: Cheese and sin dog warm clothes skis tent pain Approach Notes: Take the Lady express to Holden Edited March 24, 2012 by jordansahls Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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