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Backcountry skiing: Twin Lakes - Stonesthrow Lake - Margaret Lake loop,
Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, Washington

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This is a gallery of photos 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 the Twin Lakes - Stonesthrow Lake - Margaret Lake area at the southern edge of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area in the central Washington Cascade Mountains.
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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 March 8, 2004:
Twin-Stonesthrow-Margaret Lakes loop, Snoqualmie Pass, February 27, 2004
Old ski tracks at ~4600'
Old ski tracks at ~4600'
Snow encrusted tree
Snow encrusted tree
Ski tracks at ~5200'
Ski tracks at ~5200'
Twin Lakes basin, Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area
Twin Lakes basin,
Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area
Climb to notch littered with tree debris
Climb to notch
littered with tree debris
Looking north on east side of notch
Looking north on
east side of notch
Southeast slopes of Pt. 5606, Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area
Southeast slopes of Pt. 5606,
Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area
Cliffs near Rock Rabbit Lakes
Cliffs near Rock Rabbit Lakes
Top of run to Stonesthrow Lake
Top of run to
Stonesthrow Lake


Photos by Charles Eldridge

Associated trip report: I just got some new fishscale skis (Fischer Outtabounds) and wanted to try them out. I wasn't expecting good weather or snow, but both turned out to be pretty reasonable.
   I fishscaled out of the Gold Creek Snopark on a freshly groomed surface, then started climbing on somewhat crusty forest snow, and had to stop at the first steeper part to put on skins. Up and up through alternating forest and regenerating clearcuts; around 4000' there started to be some new snow on top of the mostly supportive corn surface. Dense fog from there to the ridge top at ~5100' in new snow deepening to 4-6" (except where scoured by east winds), with non-crusty corn-like snow underneath. I took a small right detour along the ridge to have a look at my planned escape back from the east side, then skinned over the false to the true summit of Margaret (didn't actually go to the tippy-top). Skied a run down the NW ridge of Margaret and into the Twin Lakes bowl - nice turning, dense but not crusted. I took a tour around the Twin Lakes flats (fishscales!) on the edge of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, had lunch, then headed up toward a notch (~5100') east of Twin Lakes.
   This turned out to be a very reasonable route, and on the east side a traverse led me to a ridge overlooking the Margaret Lake basin. Blue spots appeared overhead and the sun came out at times, giving good views of the nice east side of the ridge. The steeper E-facing slopes were covered with pinwheels in the freshest snow, but the new snow was mostly well bonded to the aged snow underneath. I did a run down to Stonesthrow Lake. The SE-facing slopes were smooth and firm underneath, and on steeper rolls thin sheets of new snow slid easily. I fishscaled around Stonesthrow, past little Stonesthrow, and SW around a little ridge out of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, where I had to put on skins again. Skinned to Margaret Lake, then to Lake Yvonne and up my escape route back to the main ridge at ~5100'.
   De-skinned and skied back down the general vicinity of my up track. The top ~1000' were quite nice, in the trees and in the open, then varieties of crust started getting more substantial, including some hard breakable crust in one section of clearcut. When I got to the lower crossing of the logging road, I decided to take the road, which was fairly well snowmachine groomed, instead of the crusty "backcountry" route. The snow was fast and mostly gliding, and I was back to the frontage road in no time.
   I know there have been some other opinions expressed about the Outtabounds, but I was very impressed with them. They are light (especially just with the 3-pin bindings), they seemed to grip and climb reasonably, they traversed well, they were responsive while doing turns, and they had reasonable glide (for a waxless ski). They definitely track and turn better than my Catamounts, which are the basis for my comparison. Of course, compared to real skis, they don't perform as well on the downhill, but if a trip is all about turns maybe there's not much point in using fishscale skis anyway?
   Charles

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