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Snowy forest ski touring photos : Silver Creek, Wenatchee National Forest, Washington
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This is a gallery of backcountry ski touring 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 ski touring trip through the snowy forest of Silver Creek, in the Wenatchee National Forest of Washington state.
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Over 180 photo galleries, containing more than 3200 full-sized photos, 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.

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Turns All Year CD-ROM
from April 18, 2005:
Silver Creek, Wenatchee National Forest, Washington, April 3, 2005
   (Click any of the photos to view large versions)
Snow-covered Silver Creek trail
Snow-covered
Silver Creek trail
Snow-covered logs across Silver Creek
Snow-covered logs
across Silver Creek
Douglas fir trunk and snow
Douglas fir trunk and snow
Ski tracks through snowy forest
Ski tracks through
snowy forest
Lower Silver Creek meadows
Lower Silver Creek meadows
A doorway to more meadows
A doorway to more meadows
Silver Creek Pinnacle
Silver Creek Pinnacle
Ski tracks in foggy meadows
Ski tracks in foggy meadows
West Peak from Silver Creek meadows
West Peak from
Silver Creek meadows

Photos by Charles Eldridge

Backcountry ski touring trip report:
April 3, 2005, Silver Creek, Wenatchee National Forest, Washington

   All the snow of the past week suggested that, finally, a Snoqualmie area forest ski tour might actually be reasonable. Matt woke up sick, but this is a good solo tour, so I went ahead with it. There was no snow on the road to the trailhead (2400 ft), and just a couple of thin patches on the Silver Creek trail at first. The snow became continuous and skinable near 3000 ft, all from the last week, but I had to stick to the trail because it was not very deep (4-6"). Once to the lip of the hanging valley (3600 ft), there was more snow but still all from the last week: up to 12" in glades, and 4-6" of tree-drip compacted elsewhere. I kept skins on for a little while because the tree-drip snow was refrozen, but then removed them and started fishscaling, which was a little tricky under the densest trees but allowed for nice glides. There was still not enough snow to stray from the trail, and this led to an interesting thrash when the trail crossed to the other side Silver Creek, without any easy way to cross. It is definitely more enjoyable, not to mention efficient, to ski through the woods when there is ample snowpack. Lots of animal tracks, including dog (coyote?), and a bunny in white garb bounded across my path at one point.
   When the trail re-crossed back to my side farther up the valley, I took quick snack break and considered whether it was worth continuing. Since the trail was now about to gain some elevation, I decided to go a little farther and see if the traveling got better. It did! The snowpack quickly deepened and made it possible to leave the trail, and there came to be a thin layer of new snow over the tree-drip that let my waxless skis grip well. When I reached the beginning of the meadows at valley's end, it felt like a normal winter - great, go-anywhere coverage, and trees laden with recent snow. The snow in the meadows (4800 ft) consisted of about 6" of dense, moist snow over a firmer layer, then a thick layer of dense and moist snow (didn't dig a pit and didn't look too closely). Skiing around the meadows my skis would usually stay in the top 6" of snow, making for some fine kick-and-glide, especially after the first track had been set. I skied around the meadows for a while, exploring little nooks and crannies which I'd never bothered to look into, reusing my tracks and generally just having a nice time in the winter wonderland. Although it had been snowing lightly, filtered sun came through the clouds at times, warming things up and providing some nice light on the otherwise foggy grey day. I started back down at 3:15, gliding down my up track though the meadows.
   The gliding continued as the valley dropped down from the meadows, in and out of my uptrack, with a few turns here and there - very enjoyable. The tree-drip snow had softened nicely, but now there was active tree drip and it began to seem as if it was raining. By the time I got to the thrash section, I was "moist", and by the time I was through the thrash I was completely soaked, mainly from the water-laden foliage which I had had to push through. I was able to ski about 100 ft down the trail from the lip of the hanging valley before the coverage became too thin, then it was just a hike back to the car.
   Charles

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