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Backcountry skiing photos from Upper Nason Creek, Lake Valhalla, Stevens Pass
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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 Lake Valhalla via Upper Nason Creek, near Stevens Pass, Washington.
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Over 180 photo galleries from Pacific Northwest backcountry snowboarding and skiing trips are available on Turns All Year CD-ROM.

Like the gallery below, each CD-ROM photo gallery contains a thumbnails page linked to captioned full-sized photos, and usually a trip report. Full-sized photos are available for browsing in the gallery below.

taycdrom01dk.jpg
Turns All Year CD-ROM
from March 22, 2004:
Upper Nason Creek, Lake Valhalla, Stevens Pass, Washington, March 17, 2004
   (Click any of the photos to view large versions)
Upper Nason Creek forest at ~3900'
Upper Nason Creek
forest at ~3900'
Upper Nason Creek forest at ~4200'
Upper Nason Creek
forest at ~4200'
Upper Nason Creek forest at ~4600'
Upper Nason Creek
forest at ~4600'
Snow pillow
Snow pillow
Down to Lake Valhalla
Down to Lake Valhalla
Across Lake Valhalla
Across Lake Valhalla
Matt
Matt
Matt
Matt
Charles
Charles


Photos by Matt Depies and Charles Eldridge

Associated trip report: Matt and I found the access road to our hoped for east-side waxless tour blocked too low for our liking, so we went back and parked in the lower Stevens lot, and headed up Upper Nason Creek. It was a challenging day for navigation, with no map (other than in our heads) and fog above 4000', but we climbed up through the nice forest, kept trending the right direction, and eventually came out where we had hoped, looking down on Lake Valhalla. The snow in the lower forest (east-facing) was soft breakable crust, but the crust got firmer above 4000', and a trace of new snow appeared around 4500'.
   We had lunch at the north end of Lake Valhalla. The snow profile on a south aspect here (4800') was: softening 1" surface crust, 4" large-grained crumbly layer, a thin crust, 8" medium-grained layer, then a very strong crust. A crude shear test suggested the 4" large-grained crumbly layer was the one to watch if the surface crust weakened more. Even though it remained foggy the whole time, south-facing slopes were definitely softening up (the temperature must have been just above freezing as it was misting, not snowing).
   We skied across the lake to its south end for the run back down to Nason Creek. At the top the surface crust(s) made turning difficult, but as the incline became a little steeper the crusts had weakened enough that they became easier to power through, and all of the granular snow underneath skied slow. I tried pretending that I was skiing powder - tips up, tails down, as little turning from the fall line as possible - and it worked pretty well (although it definitely didn't feel like powder). When we cut the steep SE-facing slopes near the Lichtenberg Mountain avalanche gully we triggered wet loose slides, 4-6" deep, which went to the bottom of the small slopes. It was nice to have the waxless skis for the ski out the Nason Creek valley as we could climb all of the ups without having to stop and put on skins.
    Charles

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