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Backdated: Dakobed aka Glacier Peak in 2021

WA Cascades West Slopes Central
Posted by Marc Schrameck on 5/15/23 5:08pm

Naturally, this is not going to be useful for current beta but a backdated report can be useful for stoke: And I'm sure plenty of you have this on your list. You can find the .gpx tracks linked below.

It was 2021, and we were getting hit by a dreadful heatdome. Perhaps the current heatwave is what jogged my memory to finally edit this ski footage... With Seattle set to hit over 100 degrees, it was time to get up high in the mountains. From home, I could see Dakobed off in the distance, a view that still held snow. Why not? Now must be the time!

Alex hastily signed on to my sufferfest plans, because hiking 12+ miles with skis on your back in high temps is the best way to celebrate one's birthday. Fortunately, I forgot his cake which would have quickly turned to chocolatey goop. With an early morning start, we mostly beat the heat along the lower trail waiting for it to chase us into higher elevations. We hoped to start skinning before White Pass, but eventually realized we waited too late for this trek: the snow melt would have us hiking all the way to Foam Creek before it made sense to transition. No matter: there were wild flowers and marmots all around. And traditional mountaineers seemed to be more likely than other folks with skis: so obviously we were about to have the most fun.

We camped along the White Chuck Glacier on one of the rocky islands (specifically finding one with a nice boulder that would give us some shade: highly recommended!) With an early start planned, we ate and bivyed only realizing too late that the mice were out for food: so we buried it in the snow. Try to get that mouse! Critter patrol sorted, we finally fell asleep for the morning start.

Naturally, it was a beautiful morning. The light in the mountains was perfect as we got our start hoping to summit before all the snow became mush. The route was fairly straight forward, while Disappointment Cleaver wasn't too disappointing: this was far from the soul crushing false summits of other mountains. In fact, we could get a nice snack break along the ridge. We summited, wished Alex a happy birthday, and proceed to ski. The upper portion skied nice and slushily; but the lower portion along the Suiattle Glacier was slow and sticky. We still managed to close the gates on some 8s, leaving classic skier signs deep in the Cascades. Down by camp, it was time to eat, rest and hide in the shade. No rush to return to that 100 degree heat, we bivyed one more night.

We awoke early for the hike out: again, trying to beat the heat with time. As we descended into wave after wave of heat along the switchbacks, we realized there was no escaping it. The forest would provide shade and some heat regulation, but once we walked through a meadow with high sun it was oppressively warm. By the end, we were just two skiers swiftly moving on a forested trail without a peep of conversation. Our only focus was on Pfriem Pilsners waiting at the car. The trailhead temp when we arrived to those pilsners was 95 degrees. Oof! What a weekend to pick for Dakobed! What a weekend for a ski!



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Marc Schrameck
2023-05-16 00:08:06