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[TR] Washington Pass - Cascade Climbers 2013 Ski In 5/11/2013

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Trip: Washington Pass - Cascade Climbers 2013 Ski In


Date: 5/11/2013


Trip Report:

Finding a new Mazama camping location was the first hurdle for Ski In 2013. After some debate Dave Parker had an, "Oh yeah moment," and came up with a new camping-party HQ. The new location is a great spot down by the river in the cottonwood trees.




Camping fees should make most deadbeat skiers and climbers happy and a river nearby makes for a good cooler. Our construction engineer came up with a design that reduced risks of downriver beer loss while providing easy access at the same time.




We planned a short ski on Friday, but heat and snow conditions at Washington Pass that afternoon made hanging out by the river sound like a better idea.


NOAA reports made Saturday sound like the best day for skiing, but given expected heat getting up and getting out early seemed like the best move. A personal wake up assistant managed to get us moving without resorting to comments like, "You'll never make it as a farmer."


Some folks from the Ski In group skied the Birthday Tour on Saturday. Skiing and exploring areas I'd been infrequently or never had a greater allure. In this case our group skied towards Tower Mountain via Cutthroat Creek. We starting our tour where last year's Ski In ended. Rates of melt suggested this ski would be more of a trek and adventure than killer ski.




Instead of skiing to Cutthroat lake we cut up and rightward early and traveled towards Granite Pass. Killer views of the area were out in force





Blue Lake Peak and the Liberty Bell group



One of the 2012 Ski In descents.


On the ridgeline above Granite Pass soft snow and sun baking started to dim prospects for a longer tour, but I'd never traveled to slopes above Swamp Creek and wanted some more views of the area and nearby slopes.



Looking down Swamp Creek towards Tower Mountain and Golden Horn.


After a look see and discussion about point release avalanche potential we headed back to our high point.




From there we took in some more views then skied a rising traverse towards slopes above Cutthroat Lake








Dave and Jeff at Highpoint #2


The low snowpack provided for entertaining ski travel lower in the valley




All and all Saturday skiing provided good views if not killer ski lines.


Two members of our group skied out early. While missing out on some fun they provided assistance to enthusiastic fishers.


"No Cutthroat Lake is snow covered right now. There are a couple bathtub sized pools of real water, but I don't think the fish are biting." Followed by "Traveling to the lake in flip flops and carrying a baby in a pack probably isn't the best move right now."


While the comments weren't greeted with enthusiasm they did seem to prevent an accident waiting to happen. :laf:


Weather did move in on Sunday. Some Ski In folks climbed at Prospector Wall outside of Mazama while others mountain biked.


Gear Notes:

The trail to Cutthroat lake isn't flipflop approved just yet ;)


Approach Notes:

Snowmelt is progressing rapidly

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Nice write up Kurt! I'm liking the multi-sport aspect of the Ski-in if conditions are not optimal. Last year was killer skiing both days. But I thoroughly enjoyed our 2 great Mountain Bike rides with Dave Perkins and Brandelle. The ride out at Buck Mountain is amazing with the smooth flowy trails, wild flowers galore and killer views of the mountains. Dry and dusty in May! The biking around the Rendez-vous hut system is not too shabby either. We even did a car shuttle downhill ride!


I hope this write up serves to get more people back to this annual tradition. I think there was one party a while back where we had at least 30 people. So just remember, this happens every year within a weekend or 2 of the North Cascades HWY opening. Next year will be #13! See you there!

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