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Backcountry skiing: Banshee Peak, Cowlitz Chimneys, Panhandle Gap, Summerland, Mt. Rainier
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 May backcountry skiing trip to Banshee Peak, on the Cowlitz Chimneys plateau in Mt. Rainier National Park. An old-growth forest hike up the Fryingpan Creek valley led to skiing in snowy Summerland - Panhandle Gap, and the onto the plateau.
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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 June 23, 2003:
Banshee Peak, Summerland, Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington, May 25, 2003
Forest hike
Forest hike
Summerland
Summerland
Avalanche debris
Avalanche debris
View toward Cowlitz Chimneys and Banshee Peak
View toward Cowlitz
Chimneys and Banshee Peak
Traverse near Panhandle Gap
Traverse near Panhandle Gap
View toward Panhandle Gap and Mt. Rainier
View toward Panhandle
Gap and Mt. Rainier
Lichen on Banshee Peak
Lichen on Banshee Peak
Cowlitz Chimneys plateau
Cowlitz Chimneys plateau
Skiing toward Panhandle Gap
Skiing toward Panhandle Gap
Cruising the plateau
Cruising the
Cowlitz Chimneys plateau
Robie near Panhandle Gap
Robie near Panhandle Gap
Ken near Panhandle Gap
Ken near Panhandle Gap
Ken near Panhandle Gap
Ken near Panhandle Gap
Summerland vastness
Summerland vastness
Rush hour on the bridge
Rush hour on the bridge


Photos by Charles Eldridge

Associated trip report: Ken Zirinsky and Charles, our web site host, met at my house 7am with apprehensions about the weather for this tour. Our mantra "Well it is the dry side of the Park". We drove up 410 under ugly low clouds and rain, got to the trail head at Fryingpan Creek, dressed and headed up in cloudy drizzle. More mantra. Snow on the trail was more suited for boot until the last 1/4 of trail. We couldn't see chutes but from 2 weeks ago I knew there were some big cornices ahanging. We entered Summerland and stayed on the right of Fryingpan Creek till we found a snow bridge worthy of weight. As it happened the snow bridge was directly opposite of the summer trail to the shelter. Mantra and karma seemed to be working - as we were skinning up and around under Meany Crest we were enjoying great veiws. Still lots of clouds. We didn't get our first veiw of Little Tahoma and Mt. Rainier until we were up at Panhandle Gap. Panhandle Gap was heavily corniced but at east end there was small break and passable. We chose to stick to Burgdorfer's route and go east through a small saddle adjacent to Panhandle Gap. Big chute and a little tricky until we figured it out by dropping a little lower. In fact Ken And Charles got to liking this chute so much they took a couple runs. Full mantra kicked in, Banshee Peak ahead and Rainier poking in out of clouds. Banshee at around 7400' isn't very steep but is in command of impressive cornices and has a spectacular view of the whole banana. The summit of Banshee was very windy up there so we didn't linger. At times the clouds were bumping our heads. The run down was disappointly slow due to sticky snow. Lots of other steeper runs to be had up there on way in and out. We put in about 3600',10mi and 10.5 hours. Ken probably got closer to 5000' with his forays down in to "Ken's Canyon". We skied 70% back to the car, with Charles connecting patches for 90%. Saw no other skiers but two snowshoers camping at Summerland shelter area. "It's the dry side of the Park"
Robie

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