April 22-23, 2006; Banded Glacier, Mt. Logan

Posted by David_Coleman on 4/24/06 2:32am
Since our last attempt in December, getting back to ski Logan had been high on my list since.  After 2 previous attempts last year with Sky, and with the high pressure in place, the 4th time had to be the charm.  Sky, Casey Ruff, The Hummels, Eric Wehrly, Pete Hirst, Tony Bentley and myself left Seattle early Saturday morning for my 4th attempt, Sky's 5th and Jason's 2nd. 

Based on what we saw in December, Sky made the correct call in leaving glacier gear/rope behind, making for well desired weight savings.  We left the car at Colonial Creek Campground around 10am.  About 2 hours into it, Jason had swelling in his heel arch, so we stopped to tape it up.  We continued up the trail, reaching the bridge (+/-14 miles from the car) for the beginning of the off-trail trek up to the lake sometime after 4.  The snowpack in the trees was significant, which allowed for skinning virtually the entire way to camp. 

As we approached the lake, the others were setting up their bivy sites.  Sky went off for a quick late afternoon ski.  After eating, we decided we should leave around 2am, since the sun would be hitting the upper aspects of the Banded by late morning.  Casey rang the morning bell around 1:30, which was quite an adjustment after 15+ miles of hiking and around 4 hours of sleep.  We were off by 2:30am, under a star filled sky.  For the approach up to the notch, Sky decided to go right of the icefall below the notch instead of left as in our attempt in December.  This was a good call, which made for a quicker ascent and better skiing on the way back to camp.

Kudos to all those that broke trail up to the notch, as the going was quite arduous.  It was still dark when we reached the notch.  Sky and Tony dropped in on the backside first, and the sound of ski edges to ice was quite unappealing.  Most decided to put the skis on at the highest point on the descent down to the Banded, while I decided to downclimb to a safer spot.  By the time we reached the lower flanks of the Banded, daylight was upon us.  The ascent was booted, not skinned, and was fairly straightforward with no routefinding issues.  The glacier still displayed sections of blue ice, but no obvious crevasses on route.  The winds began to pick up just below the saddle, but fortunately we were entering the sun, which help to slightly offset the effects.

We stopped for a short break at the saddle (roughly 350' from the top), and continued after we had enough of the wind.  Roughly 100 feet above the saddle, we could see that skiing from the false summit (for those that wanted to contend with exposed rocks) was feasible.  Many in the group scrambled over to the true summit before we began our descent.

Tony downclimbed to me (just below the false summit), for the ski descent, while Josh dropped in from the top of the false summit.  I snapped a couple pics of both he and Tony as we descended to the southerly facing notch that leads to the saddle.  Soon we were all back at the saddle, posing for each others cameras on the descent.   The skiing consisted of packed powder, with some windscoured sections up high.  Sky and Casey charged ahead, setting off a couple of small slabs on their descent.  Sometime around 11, we were all back at the base of the Banded.  After booting back to the notch, we enjoyed some great skiing back to camp. 

After a very long hike, the last stragglers were back at the car by 8pm.  All told, we estimated the 2 day distance to be somewhere between 35-40 miles.  After a well deserved meal in Arlington, some went their separate ways.  Pete's drive was by far the longest, having to face an undesirable return trip home to the Cashmere area.  This was a fun trip with a good group of people.  Again, kudos to all those that lead the charge the entire way.  ;)
Good report, Dave. Thanks again for the good times and good suffering. Looking forward to seeing some pics!


Given our conversation the last time I saw you, I expected to find this report showing up sooner than later.  Fine, fine work, Dave et al.  I too look forward to the pics.

Righteous, dudes.

Dave, what's next on the list of obsessions?

Skip, Sky has photos on cascadeclimbers...

Good trip report Dave.  Sounds like a great tour with a great group of skiers. 

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2006-04-24 09:32:52