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50 Shades of Bad Weather- Silver Peak Loop

WA Snoqualmie Pass
Posted by skistache on 2/21/23 10:06am

Made the best of worsening weather conditions on Sunday by getting out for a longer day to explore the Silver Peak area. I took first chair at Hyak to skip the initial thousand feet of climbing and took the Nordic pass route over the shoulder of Mt Catherine to Windy Pass. Weather got progressively snowier, amd foggier, with heavy wet flakes at the base of Hyak yielding to drier snow near 4000 ft. The climb up the Silver Peak basin itself was straightforward and relatively slow over untracked snow. Wind had definitely transported some small drifts, but the snowpack was stable to the top, without cracking or sheets breaking off. 

At the top of the ridge above Annette lake conditions were positively arctic. sustained wind was strong enough to have exposed talus underneath the snowfield and dig channels through the drifts surrounding the trees. I wasted no time transitioning in howling wind and made the call the ski down the west side to Annette lake after some investigative digging. Sticking close to the big trees skiers right I found soft compacted powder and protected conditions after descending the a few hundred feet. This was actually great skiing, just easy simple terrain, totally untracked, and perfect for making big lazy turns. 

I took a hard right below the snowshoe trail following the summer trailbed and began traversing out to the Iron Horse. Conditions here couldn't be more different than the top- rainy, high 30s, very soggy snowpack. I slogged up the Iron Horse until the high voltage powerlines cross over and connect with an access road adjacent to the groomed Nordic tracks. This part felt especially difficult, climbing the steep, muddy bank and skinning through deep wet snow with tired legs. By the time I reached grand junction I was soaking wet and snow was falling wet and heavy. Finished the day with a few sloppy victory laps on Hyak, happy that I found a few good turns and got a long tour out of it. 

This is superfun with a 2nd vehicle at Annette TH!  When I had a larger radius backcountry community it made the shuttle stuff easy to meet someone coming from the westside, rendezvousing us east siders at Annette TH. Leave their vehicle and driving back to Silver Fir.  Then getting the ride back to Silver Fir at the end of the day.  

Oh my.   This is my spring two-car thing - this is trip goes under the heading of Minor Epic!

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2023-02-21 18:06:54