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Turns All Year Mount Baker skiing photos: ski touring Ptarmigan Ridge
Turns All Year: Previous Home Page Galleries
This is a gallery of Ptarmigan Ridge 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 ski touring trip out Ptarmigan Ridge, on the northeast side of Mount Baker. There was still good snow coverage after this poor winter, and lots of good skiing.
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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 July 4, 2005:
Ski touring, Ptarmigan Ridge, Coleman Pinnacle,
Mount Baker, Washington, June 19, 2005

Coleman Pinnacle, Ptarmigan Ridge, and Mount Baker
Coleman Pinnacle, Ptarmigan
Ridge, and Mount Baker
Charles skiing from Table Mountain trail
Charles skiing from
Table Mountain trail
Tod gets some early turns
Tod gets some early turns
Steve and Mount Shuksan
Steve and Mount Shuksan
Charles on first Ptarmigan Ridge run
Charles on first
Ptarmigan Ridge run
Skiing tourning, north side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Skiing tourning, north side
of Ptarmigan Ridge
Ready to ski up
Ready to ski up
Tim's slides
Tim's slides
Sholes Glacier, the Portals, and Park Glacier
Sholes Glacier, the Portals,
and Park Glacier
Skinny skiing #1
Skinny skiing #1
Skinny skiing #2
Skinny skiing #2
Steve skiing north side of Coleman Pinnacle
Steve skiing north side
of Coleman Pinnacle
Charles skiing north side of Coleman Pinnacle
Charles skiing north side
of Coleman Pinnacle
Charles on nice snow
Charles on nice snow
Ski touring under Coleman Pinnacle
Ski touring under
Coleman Pinnacle
Lots of snow on north side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Lots of snow on north
side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Steve starts down another run
Steve starts down another run
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Steve
ptarmiganridgebakerskiing19.jpg
Charles
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Tod
The suncups were soft and the skiing was good
The suncups were soft
and the skiing was good
Looking back across the north side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Looking back across the
north side of Ptarmigan Ridge
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Tod
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Tod
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Steve
Coleman Pinnacle, Sherman Peak, Mount Baker
Coleman Pinnacle, Sherman
Peak, Mount Baker
The snowpack had slid
The snowpack had slid
Tod and Mount Shuksan
Tod and Mount Shuksan
Mount Baker over turns
Mount Baker over turns
Mount Shuksan
Mount Shuksan
Evening light on Ptarmigan Ridge and Mount Baker
Evening light on Ptarmigan
Ridge and Mount Baker
Charles boots up toward the trail
Charles boots up
toward the trail
Charles skiing near Austin Pass #1
Charles skiing near
Austin Pass #1
Charles skiing near Austin Pass #1
Charles skiing near
Austin Pass #1
All-terrain skiing toward a final turn
All-terrain skiing
toward a final turn
Charles gets a final turn
Charles gets a final turn


Photos by Steve Barnett and Charles Eldridge

Backcountry skiing trip report:
Ski touring, Ptarmigan Ridge, Coleman Pinnacle, Mount Baker, Washington, June 19, 2005

   Tod, Steve, and I parked at the gate part way up the plowed Artist's Point road. We hiked mostly snow to Austin Pass and then just above it put on skis. Everyone was on lightweight gear, and Steve's and Tod's 60-something tip skis made my Outtabounds seem like fat skis. Steve and I had waxless (fishscale) skis, whereas Tod had waxable (non-fishscale) ski with which he could, somehow, nonetheless ascend almost as steeply as we could. Tod mumbled something about "suction" but I didn't really understand.
   There was plenty of snow (aside from the road cut) to just past the Artist's Point parking lot, but then bare trail out to the saddle just past the end of Table Mountain. We chose to hike the trail a short way along the side of Table Mountain just until we could get on a finger of snow leading down to the flats. This gave us some early turns, then touring out to the saddle leading to Ptarmigan Ridge.
   The coverage on the north side of Ptarmigan Ridge looked good if one ignored the fact that it was only late June. Traversing "Ptarmigan Peak" we had to ski under a scary looking slab of the winter's snowpack which had slid en masse, resulting in what looked like an overthrust fault and serac-like chunks of the snowpack; we didn't hang around there very long. Shortly after that we came across Mike and Brenda on a discovery tour out Ptarmigan Ridge, and saw Tim perched above us. The latter refused to come down and visit, no doubt concerned about the risk of retro-contamination from our "gaggle of retro grouches...on their long skis, knickers, and kick wax."
   On the way out Ptarmigan Ridge we skied runs down into the Wells Creek drainage whenever our grouchiness got too intense. The snow was very good - fast and smooth or with just small soft suncups - except for small areas of runnels near the bottom end of the skiing. We had originally talked about skiing out to the Sholes Glacier and the Portals, but instead lazed in the sun at the saddle west of Coleman Pinnacle and soaked up the view of Mount Baker, which had become quite good as the clouds had dissipated.
   Above about 5500 feet there was a layer of newer snow which deepened fairly quickly. We could see some slides that Tim had triggered on steep slopes just west of Coleman Pinnacle. These had entrained quite a bit of snow, so we were cautious skiing the slope from our saddle into the Wells Creek drainage and avoided the steepest parts. The turning in the new snow was actually quite good, and we were quickly below the new snow zone enjoying turns on very nice corn.
   We made a climbing traverse back under Coleman Pinnacle and hit the top of Ptarmigan Ridge northeast of the pinnacle, then did another nice run down the north side, stopping where the gradient gave out. By the time we were back to the saddle near Table Mountain, the clouds had almost entirely cleared off of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan, and in the late afternoon sunlight they were beautiful. We skied the snow flats along the south side of Table Mountain, then booted up to the trail for the short hike back to snow near the Artist's Point parking lot. We stayed to the north of the lot and were able to keep our skis on to just below Austin Pass, with one fun steep, and moderately suncupped, section. After crossing the plowed road, we could ski several more patches of snow back to the parking lot, with the last formidable patch holding just enough snow for a single adrenaline-inducing turn (see photo).
    Charles

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