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Backcountry skiing photos: Polallie Ridge, Salmon la Sac, Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Turns All Year: Previous Home Page Galleries
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 skiing photos are from a backcountry trip along Polallie Ridge, in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area near Salmon la Sac, Washington.
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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 29, 2004:
Polallie Ridge, Salmon la Sac, Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area,
Washington, March 21, 2004

Skinning a road tree near Salmon la Sac
Skinning a road tree
near Salmon la Sac
Lower Polallie Ridge near 3000'
Lower Polallie Ridge
near 3000'
Glade near 3500' within Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area
Glade near 3500' within
Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area
Mt. Hinman and Mt. Daniel, Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area
Mt. Hinman and Mt. Daniel,
Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area
Near 4900' on Polallie Ridge
Near 4900' on Polallie Ridge
Dropping into old-growth forest
Dropping into old-growth forest
Skiing toward a saddle
Skiing toward a saddle
Skiing toward Diamond Lake
Skiing toward Diamond Lake
Diamond Lake, in Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area
Diamond Lake, in
Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area
Mt. Daniel and Cathedral Rock
Mt. Daniel and Cathedral Rock
Climbing to Polallie Ridge
Climbing to Polallie Ridge
Lemah Mountain and Chimney Rock
Lemah Mountain
and Chimney Rock
On Polallie Ridge
On Polallie Ridge
Skiing toward Waptus River
Skiing toward Waptus River
Skiing toward Waptus River
Skiing toward Waptus River


Photos by Matt Depies and Charles Eldridge

Associated trip report: Matt and I got an early start to try to get into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness without having to listen to or smell the snowmobiles (it worked). From the Salmon la Sac snopark (2400') we fishscaled the mile along roads to the start of the Polallie Ridge trail, then skinned up for the ascent of the ever narrowing ridge. The snowpack is dwindling down low, especially with sun exposure, but shady gullies still had good coverage. There was no new snow from the Thursday-Friday storm at first, with the first traces appearing at ~3000', and maxing out at 4" above ~4500'; underneath was breakable crust at first, but higher the crust was solid.
   We went right up the crest of the ridge (route of summer trail) and over Pt. 4922, removed skins, skied a little farther on the ridge, then dropped off into the beautiful old-growth forest on the north side. The forest on this slope, dropping all the way down to the Waptus River, is comparable in ambiance to that around Nordic Pass, but is much more extensive. After a small number of turns, we started traversing and climbing toward the saddle between Pts. 5464 and 5242. On this second day of warm sunny weather, the new snow had become moist on top and was perfect for ascending with the waxless skis, and we never had to use the skins again. From the saddle we traversed a small basin to another saddle, then skied down to Diamond Lake. From the next saddle we went NE to the top of a small bump (5200+) for lunch and views, with Hinman and Daniels prominent in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area to the north.
   Skiing down the small south-facing rolls of our bump after lunch was on nicely corned snow over a mostly solid crust (breakable where most warmed), but south slopes were rare in this area. We decided to climb up onto Polallie Ridge for views (great view of the Chikamin-Lemah-Overcoat-Summit Chief group), then did a run down the north-facing slopes toward Diamond Lake. Here the terrain was steep enough for the very cohesive 4" of new snow to get moving. While traversing we triggered large pinwheels, and doing turns we got regions of the new snow layer sliding down as a unit, but as these were shallow the only danger was sliding into a tree (which we managed to avoid doing). Back through the saddles, and then we decided to start the long run down through the old-growth forest to the Waptus River. After about 1000', the new snow layer had thinned and the old snow crust become more breakable, so we bailed on the rest of the run and did a climbing traverse back onto Polallie Ridge, getting on it at ~3800'. The run down to the trailhead became more and more challenging as the snowpack thinned and the old crust became more breakable. By the time we got to the car by about 6pm, almost all of the snowmobilers had left.
    Charles

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