|Backcountry alpine touring and telemark skiing photos from Chinook Pass, Washington|
Turns All Year: Previous Home Page Galleries
|This is a gallery of images which appeared on the Turns All Year home page in the past. Thumbnail images on this page can be clicked to view the full-sized photos, and lead into a slide show sequence for the gallery. The photos are from a backcountry skiing trip to Corral Pass and Chinook Pass, near Mt. Rainier in the Washington Cascades. Dry fall weather had resulted in not nearly enough snow to ski at Corral Pass, and just enough snow to do a little skiing around Tipsoo Lake and Yakima Peak at Chinook Pass. Most of the snow was solidly-frozen rain crust, but a few spots warmed enough in the sun to provide very enjoyable spring-like skiing.|
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Turns All Year CD-ROM
|The complete version of this photo gallery is now available on Turns All Year CD-ROM. Below you can view thumbnail photos from this gallery.|
Turns All Year CD-ROM contains over 180 photo galleries, containing more than 3200 full-sized photos, from backcountry skiing and snowboarding trips in the Pacific Northwest.
|from December 2, 2002:|
Corral Pass and Chinook Pass, Washington, November 26, 2002
Mutton Mountain, 6156', no snow, late November
Little Tahoma and Mt. Rainier, from Chinook Pass
Frozen Tipsoo Lake,
near Chinook Pass
Mystery Skier #1
Mystery Skier #1
West bowl of Naches Peak,
Tipsoo Lake, Chinook Pass
Photos by Mystery Skier #2 and Charles Eldridge
Associated trip report: With last week's rain followed by low freezing levels, I figured I needed to find either sunny slopes or gentle cross country skiing terrain, or both. I decided to see if I could find both around Corral Pass, off of 410. The first snow appeared at about 5200', and I stopped about half a mile short of Corral Pass at 5600' when the packed snow/ice on the road threatened to slide my car off the roadbed. There was only about 3" of snowpack, and it was only spotty on N. slopes, and non-existent on S. slopes. The area has potential, but needs more snow. On to Chinook Pass.
Cayuse Pass was discouragingly bare, and real snowpack didn't appear until Tipsoo Lake. With the sun shining from the outset and an inversion keeping things realtively warmer up high, I parked just east of Chinook, hoping that I could get some turns on the sunny E. slopes of Yakima Peak and maybe do some cross country skiing in the basin just N. of Yakima Peak. Nope - frozen solid, with all kinds of tracks deeply embedded, so I skied over the pass and traversed W. to the base of the steep S. slopes of Yakima Peak. Fortunately, the sun was able to soften the snow here, but unfortunately, it must have been doing so for a number of days because the 12" snowpack on the flats dwindled to nothing in the first 200' of steeper slope. What was left provided fantastic turning, though - perfect spring conditions with a smooth, solid snowpack softened up to 1" deep. I first did a 6 turn run, then found a 10 turn run, and finally a 15 turn run, and did each several times. I had waxless skis and so it was easy to yo-yo these runs.
After lunch, I went out to Tipsoo Lake and found great skating conditions - fast - on the flats there, so I went around the lake several times (even though the snow was in the sun, it was not inclined toward the sun enough to soften at all). Across the highway, the Naches Peak lower west slopes had some reasonable coverage, but I decided that they probably were not softening. Before leaving, I climbed a little open slope east of the lake, and found that the edge of it which had a border of trees on the north had softened nicely. I ended up doing about 10 runs on this slope, about 20 turns long with little trees and humps creating a slalom course, and was joined by two other skiers. Even though we did a total of about 15 runs on this slope, it was not at all used up since it was so well frozen down deep.
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