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February 9, 2003, Mt. Baker Backcountry

WA Cascades West Slopes North (Mt Baker)
Posted by Gregg_C on 2/9/03 7:50pm
After dealing with the flu for a few weeks it was nice to get out and enjoy some awesome conditions.  Jim and I left the parking lot at Mt. Baker Ski area around 8 am and returned at 4:30 with big smiles on our faces.  Over 6,000 feet of turns in sublime conditions.  Thrashed down the crust from the top of Austin Pass and skied off to our destination towards Lake Ann.  We found a excellent conditions near Lake Ann--1,200 ft. runs in twelve inches of dry powder.  All the cold nights and cool days has sucked the moisture out of the snow and it made for lovely turning.  Follow your noses folks and look for the shaded slopes.  There are good conditions out there.  Avalance conditions are quite stable and the temperatures are  spring like.  After our runs we headed up to Shuksan Arm and launched off the top of the ridge into a big bowl that started out poor and finished with more powder.  Took the worst crash of the year after my third turn.  Hit some debris and went head over into the snow.  My right ski released on the second cartwheel.  Love those releasable dynafit bindings.

At the end we dropped too low and ended up in some rotten snow over some cliffs.  Popped a small wind slab getting down the final section of slope.  The valley below Shuksan Arm was quite warm.  It was sending warm air up the valley during the day and then refreezing at night.  Not the best combination for snow quality.  We managed to thrash our way out of there and dropped down to Chair Eight.  Next time we go down the bowl and then back up to the ridge crest.  Descend the ridge to a line above chair eight and then drop in.

Wonderful day...Enjoyed the whole day from eating lunch from the ridge top with views of the Pickets and the clouds over Baker Lake, Mt Baker and of course fresh track ALL DAY.  :) :) :) :)
Sounds nice Greg.

Good Turns, Darin

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2003-02-10 03:50:31