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Crystal Mountain, Washington backcountry skiing photos: Silver Basin, Crystal Lakes
Turns All Year: Previous Home Page Galleries
This is a gallery of Crystal Mountain, Washington backcountry skiing 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 skiing trip to the Crystal Mountain, Washington backcountry in January. Reasonable snow pack, cold powder snow, great skiing, and even some sunshine and blue skies.
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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 January 17, 2005:
Silver Basin, Three Way Peak, Crystal Lakes basin,
Crystal Mountain, Washington backcountry, January 9, 2005

Skinning into Silver Basin
Skinning into Silver Basin
Skinning up to second run near Three Way Peak
Skinning up to second
run near Three Way Peak
Rob skiing second run near Three Way Peak
Rob skiing second run
near Three Way Peak
Rob skiing second run near Three Way Peak
Rob skiing second run
near Three Way Peak
Brian skiing second run
Brian skiing second run
Skinning up to main saddle, with Silver King
Skinning up to main saddle,
with Silver King
Skinning up to main saddle, looking past Silver King
Skinning up to main saddle,
looking past Silver King
Mark skiing Crystal Lakes basin run
Mark skiing Crystal
Lakes basin run
Mark skiing Crystal Lakes basin run
Mark skiing Crystal
Lakes basin run
That was fun!
That was fun!
Brian at bottom of Crystal Lakes run
Brian at bottom of
Crystal Lakes run
Upper Crystal Lake
Upper Crystal Lake
Peak 6708 and bump, Crystal Lakes basin
Peak 6708 and bump,
Crystal Lakes basin
Skinning out of Crystal Lakes basin in sun
Skinning out of Crystal
Lakes basin in sun
Skinning past flocked trees
  Skinning past flocked trees
Close-up: nice light
Close-up: nice light
Peak 6708 with Sourdough Gap view
Peak 6708 with
Sourdough Gap view
Skinning for a last run in Silver Basin
Skinning for a last run
in Silver Basin
Joe skiing last run in Silver Basin
Joe skiing last run
in Silver Basin
Brian skiing last run
Brian skiing last run
Brian skiing last run
Brian skiing last run
Mark skiing last run in Silver Basin
Mark skiing last run
in Silver Basin
Mark skiing last run
Mark skiing last run
Rob skiing last run
Rob skiing last run


Photos by Charles Eldridge

Backcountry skiing trip report:
January 9, 2005, Silver Basin, Three Way Peak, Crystal Lakes basin,
Crystal Mountain, Washington backcountry

Rob and I took the five dollar ride up the Crystal Mountain Quicksilver chair and then skinned up an established track. The forest was beautifully laden with cold fluffy snow, and coverage was good even in stands of trees. The high temperature for the day was probably in the low 20s. We followed a track up into the bottom of the Silver Basin bowl, where we met the track's two creators, then broke trail to the top of the little forested knoll in the middle of the bowl. There were some slight wind effects in places on the way up, and from 10-20 inches of snow above the crust. We did a short run off the knoll - very nice skiing in cohesionless snow. Then we started back up our skin track but climbed left to get to a little saddle just west of Three Way Peak. Speeding up our track, Joe, Brian, and Mark joined us and we did a run back into Silver Basin. The snow itself was good, as on our first run, but in places there were unnerving bumps somewhere deeper.
    We then took our skin track up to the knoll and followed the extension just set by another party climbing across the Silver Basin bowl toward the SW. As we got higher and onto more of a NE to E aspect, wind effects became much more pronounced, with thin wind-stiffened snow and bare crust. The party above of us was clearly working extra hard climbing the crust, so we angled over for the main saddle to stay in soft snow. With high hopes from ericd's earlier report, we started south down the back side into Crystal Lakes basin. As a little rib developed, two of us headed left to ski down toward the upper end of upper Crystal Lake, and three of us headed right for a run which ended below the lake's outlet. It turned out that the snow heading down left was considerably wind affected (more SE aspect), and right was deep and cohesionless (more SW aspect) - the best skiing of the day. Our skin back out of Crystal Lakes basin to the saddle, mixed in with a group of four other skiers, was highlighted by the appearance of sunshine, blue sky, and sparkly snowflakes gently drifting by.
    Back at the saddle, we went a little bit east to start down the slope into Silver Basin. The snow quality and skiing was great - no wind effects - but there were a few rocks and even one bush to watch for. There was time (and energy) left for one more run on this slope, and then we glided the skin track and skied down the Crystal Mountain ski area with quads burning.
   Charles

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