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April 26, 2003, Silver Star, North Cascades

WA Cascades East Slopes North
Posted by Ned_Flanders on 4/28/03 10:43pm
Jim and I finally made our way to highway 20.  We approached silver star via the silver star creek.  The steep/icy forest made for some interesting skinning.  It took two hours to get out of the forest.  We found stable snow conditions on the entire traverse to the glacier even though there was extremely warm temps.  As we approached the two rock buttresses that separates the bottom of the silver star glacier, the wind really picked up making things pretty difficult.  The tracks we were following split up here.  It looked like the party ahead of us went halfway up the middle shoot and then turned around and then went all the way up the left shoot.  We opted to go for the left one.  Once we got in it, we noticed lots of wind loading.  Snow tests revealed an 18" hard slab that slid with a shovel shear test.  Both of us did not really think the shoot will slide, but we decided it was not worth the risk.  So we went down back to our tracks and decided to go half way up the middle one.  From there we skiid continuously until the last 1000 feet where walking proved to be the quicker travel.  We had great turns up high, however a crust formed lower down, therefore survival skiing was in order.

The next morning, we met up with ski-photomatt et al. at the blue lake trailhead for the sally portman b-day tour.

what were the conditions like on the bday tour ?? especially getting across the col, is there still a cornice ?

We never did the entire b-day tour (our ski train was moving a little too slow Sunday morning).  There is still a rather large cornice at the col, but it is easily passable by booting around its left side.  Conditions on the south side were softening slush which quickly refroze when some clouds moved in overhead.  On the north side was a combination of still nice powder on the steeper sections below the col and breakable crust that melted into a nice wet powder by the afternoon.  Lower down was deep, isothermal crap.  Snow depth at Blue Lake trailhead was at least 6 ft.  This tour is in great shape, go get it!

Saturday was a beautiful day near WA pass, Sunday still nice, but not like Saturday.  Conditions were excellent overall.

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2003-04-29 05:43:15