Home > Trip Reports > December 2, 2001, Hauser Peak, Crystal Mountain

December 2, 2001, Hauser Peak, Crystal Mountain

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by ema on 9/16/02 10:14pm
We never saw the sunny weather that was forecast for later in the day (it was actually dumping again when we left about 3:00 pm). Nonetheless we had stellar skiing and did an extra lap because we just couldn't leave. The Gold Hills road groomer cat still hadn't been down by the upper C parking area when we arrived. Eric, Lori, Jeanette and I tried to out fumble another group of about 6 or 8 bc skiers at the trailhead to see who was going to break trail. We lost. We just ran out of things to fumble with and patience, all at the same time.

Luckily there was a single snowmobile track up the road from the day before with only about 8 - 10 inches of fresh on it, so trail breaking could have been worse. Off the 'bile track you could push your ski pole down to the grip with little effort. The road was groomed at the first intersection; then we had clear sailing until the creek crossing. By then enough faster climbing skiers had passed us that trail breaking seemed unlikely for the balance of the day. In fact, it seemed like old home week in the backcountry. I'd say we saw 30 to 50 skiers headed for the upper slopes of the Bullion Basin area, including Kenji Kawai, Brent Hostetler and friend Steve with an extremely sage choice of gear (Sumos under Dynafits and TLT boots - my same choice for the day :-)] ... also others that we recognized but didn't know their names.

The up track forked several times. We stuck to the one that went up the soonest on the logic that why continue south into Bullion when there was plenty of snow on the immediate west aspects above us and it was checking out to be fairly homogeneous and stable, except for the last 6 inches or so, which had been deposited overnight. While it checked out stable enough, we weren't quite sure how it was going to ski, being bottomless and not the lightest we'd ever skied. We had Brent to thank for breaking much of the trail to near the top of the ridge just north of Hauser. Sastrugi was becoming more prevalent and winds picking up at the ridge top. Jeanette and I chose to de-skin there, while Eric and Lori continued on to the ridge top. Turned out any concerns of the skiablity of the snow were unfounded. We got our first face shots of the year (and for you Rockies powder hounds, that's a BIG deal in the PNW); the snow turned out to be perfect. We had so much fun we climbed back up to track up another of our favorite lines on the traverse back out (and got another taste of trail breaking in the bottomless snow for our bright idea). To wrap up the day we poached a run down under the Gold Hills chair and back out the (now groomed) road right to the car. All in all, a day to write home to Mom about :-)

Ron Jarvis

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2002-09-17 05:14:09