Home > Trip Reports > April 26, 2003, Cayuse Pass to Chinook

April 26, 2003, Cayuse Pass to Chinook

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by Skinut on 4/27/03 2:23am
On the drive up Hwy 410, the snow flakes started flying  not long after Greenwater, starting to accumulate on the road. At Cayuse Pass, it was snowing hard with about 5" new on top of the 8" reported Thursday. A scene like in January. Bob N. and I skinned up thru the trees to avoid rockfall and avy danger, emerging at the first big switchback.  Climbed up next to the waterfall, aka "Maxine's Gully", then east toward base of Naches. Visibility was poor due to the steady snowfall and climbing up we noticed how the snow tended to slide on the steeps due to the underlying crust. So skied down toward Tipsoo Lake and eastward to those nice, gladed slopes coming down to south side of the road. We are partial to the long, middle slope that goes up all the way to the cliffs below Naches. The snow was great, allowing us to make awesome turns. After we had skied it out, we destroyed the next one, then went over to the foot of the false summit of Naches and skied down the waterfall, or rather, we found a much more interesting route to the west of it, through steep trees. The snow had turned heavier as the day warmed, but still very good skiing. Went out by the way to the turn-out on Hwy 123, which was clearly marked by other ski tracks. Ran into another group of skiers one of whom turned out to be dm2020, nice to be able to put a face to the reports I always read. My friend Bob had lost his Goretex mitts on the previous ski trip, but found a really neat solution to keep his hands dry and toasty warm. I won't divulge his secret, though I can tell you that it doesn't cost any money. He is retiring next week and might want to turn this invention into a business. We both agreed that this was one of the best trips of the season. :)
yes Skinut, it was definitely more like winter up there. Although the snow was a bit heavy, the skis turned fine for everyone in our group. Chinook is one of our favorite areas for spring skiing - close to Seattle, higer elevation and lots of snow. You'll be sure to find us there in the weeks ahead. Let's hope WDOT doesn't open the highway for a few more weeks, the solitude at the pass makes the short climb from Cayuse well worth the effort.

Skinut thanks for the great report.  If Ron and I and Robie hadn't been helping with the Mountaineers Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue class this past weekend we would have been at Chinook enjoying all those great turns with you and Bob.  Looking forward to seeing both of you at Mt Hood this weekend.

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2003-04-27 09:23:08