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Summer skiing photos: Mount Baker backcountry, Ptarmigan Ridge, Coleman Pinnacle
Turns All Year: Previous Home Page Galleries
This is a gallery of Mount Baker backcountry summer 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 summer skiing trip to the north side of Ptarmigan Ridge, in the Mount Baker backcountry of Washington State. A pleasant hike on a beautiful August day led to short ski runs on surprisingly good snow.
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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 August 22, 2005:
Summer skiing, Ptarmigan Ridge, Coleman Pinnacle,
Mount Baker backcountry, Washington, August 5, 2005

Hiking the trail along Table Mountain
Hiking the trail
along Table Mountain
This patch is too crowded
This patch is too crowded
Eagerness blazes
Eagerness blazes
Booting up near Coleman Pinnacle
Booting up near
Coleman Pinnacle
Coleman Pinnacle and Mount Shuksan
Coleman Pinnacle
and Mount Shuksan
Charles near the top of the first run
Charles near the top
of the first run
Mount Baker backcountry summer skiing
Mount Baker backcountry
summer skiing
Old snow and ice was showing
Old snow and ice was showing
Mountain goats, north side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Mountain goats, north
side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Near the bottom of a run
Near the bottom of a run
Vince fishscaling up toward Coleman Pinnacle
Vince fishscaling up
toward Coleman Pinnacle
Charles fishscaling
Charles fishscaling
Another run near Coleman Pinnacle
Another run near
Coleman Pinnacle
Skiing west to find a different run
Skiing west to
find a different run
Charles skis over to check out a crevasse
Charles skis over to
check out a crevasse
Uphill all day?
Uphill all day?
Charles skiing north side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Charles skiing north
side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Vince
Vince
Vince skiing north side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Vince skiing north
side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Charles
Charles
Mount Baker backcountry summer skiing
Mount Baker backcountry
summer skiing
Lengthening shadows
Lengthening shadows
Vince
Vince
Vince skiing north side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Vince skiing north
side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Vince skiing north side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Vince skiing north
side of Ptarmigan Ridge
Charles
Charles
Charles
Charles
Vince
Vince
Vince
Vince
North side of Ptarmigan Ridge summer skiing
North side of Ptarmigan
Ridge summer skiing
Tarn, ridge, and valley
Tarn, ridge, and valley
Wide view from near Coleman Pinnacle
Wide view from near
Coleman Pinnacle
Hiking back, with Mount Shuksan
Hiking back, with
Mount Shuksan


Photos by Vince Barnes and Charles Eldridge


Backcountry summer skiing trip report:
August 5, 2005, summer skiing, Ptarmigan Ridge, Coleman Pinnacle,
Mount Baker backcountry, Washington:

    Vince and I hiked out to Coleman Pinnacle to make some August turns. It was a beautiful day, not too hot on the hike out and surprisingly few people. We hiked the trail to Coleman Pinnacle and then climbed up the shrunken snow patch to cross to the north side of Ptarmigan Ridge just west of Coleman Pinnacle to ski.
    On the south side of Ptarmigan Ridge there has been a lot of loss of "permanent" snow. The SE aspect ribbons of snow that have in recent years been skiable even in September are already broken. The glacier ice shown on topo maps on the east side of Point 5814 is pretty much gone, and the glacier ice on the northeast side of Point 5847 is now discontinuous patches.
    On the north side of Ptarmigan Ridge, we did several runs and toured around on our waxless skis as far as the snow would allow, which wasn't very far. The longest run we could find, from right under the north side of Coleman Pinnacle, was probably only 400 feet. With the warm weather, however, the quality was pretty good, with the small suncups nicely softened.
    We skied up to the low saddle west of Coleman Pinnacle and took in the great view of the NE side of Mount Baker. There were a couple of substantial crevasses just north of the saddle, and a few others showing signs of imminent opening in the same area. There were also numerous areas of dirty ice showing. We did a couple of short runs over toward Lasiocarpa Ridge, then skied back to Coleman Pinnacle, did another of the "longest" runs, and then traversed up to the east to see how feasible it would be to travel back toward the car staying on the north side of Ptarmigan Ridge. There was so little snow down where it needed to be that we gave up on that idea and crossed back to the trail where we had left it, on the south side of Ptarmigan Ridge.
    The real highlights of the day, aside from the spectacular weather and scenery, were mountain goats and avalanches. On our first run we came around a corner of rock and found ourselves right above a large (30+) herd of mountain goats. They trotted off to the east but didn't go far, and we kept seeing them throughout the rest of the day.
    We saw (and heard) the avalanches while we were relaxing at the low saddle west of Coleman Pinnacle. Looking at a topo map, it appears that they were coming off the ice cliffs at the bottom edge of the Park Glacier where it hangs above what are labeled as Park Cliffs, about 3 miles away from us. We could see ice/snow/slush pouring over the cliffs in massive "waterfalls", and a short time later we could hear deep booms and splating noises. The most impressive thing about these avalanches was that they kept occurring again and again. It would be interesting to know if they had any effect on the level of Park Creek, the drainage into which they were pouring.
    Charles

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