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Goat Peak

3/7/22
WA Cascades East Slopes North
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Posted by mikerolfs on 3/8/22 7:47pm

If you are skiing near Mazama and concerned about the trashed snow surface from the road all the way up above 6500 feet, then this report is for YOU! The snow that fell a week ago was mostly beat down by rain and wind at lower elevations in the following days. This last Sunday, NCHeli showed us just how good the skiing can be up high, with none of the pain of traveling up and back to 7000 feet. This trip report isn't about that, but here is a gratuitous video anyway showing how much fun can be had above 6500' near the end of the highway:

The next day, expecting to ski nasty crusty runneled snow with wet loose avalanche debris, instead Jtack and I found a miracle stash of preserved powder. Why the rain didn't kill this little bit of low elevation snow, who knows. But it didn't. Look at the snow in this picture... This is at 6400' maybe 2 crow miles from Mazama! No runnels. No crust. Just consolidated powder from last week's storm.

Last Monday we tried to come to this spot through about 24" of fresh snow that had fallen the day and night before. The snowmobile approach is in the neighborhood of 11-1/2 miles and we got maybe 2 miles up the road before we realized we weren't (I wasn't) up to this ride. This Monday, one week later, the road is groomed, most of the snow off the road has melted, and the new snow above the Goat Peak trail head has consolidated from 24 inches, to just about 16 inches.

At about 6500' we dug a pit before entering some consequential terrain. The snow pack has three right side up layers, the top one is over the January 6 crust, and we had an isolated column test failure below that crust on medium effort taps (19).

This gave me the heebie-jeebies, and we turned around just below the 6800' ridge. I'm sure there is a safe way to the top, but we had aimed for the upper clearing, which put us at the bottom of a pretty substantial steep open slope. Maybe if you go, don't follow our track, but stay in the more direct uphill fall line in the trees?

The surface was soft enough that mouse tail and grouse feet registered.

And the skiing was really fantastic. Carefree. Unbelievable really, since rumor has it that below 7000' there is no good snow. Here is Jamie skiing at around 5800' on the north side of Goat Peak:

The skiing was better than expected. Kinda unusual this year! Even though this ski is only about 1000' vert, it is worth it for the soft snow with very little approach shenanigan. A light crust from the trail head to maybe 200' above the trail head, and then wonderful carefree snow surface to the top!

Not sure what you’ve got going on the Heli Trip you seem to do each year…But I’d very happy to be there next year. I did a  Snowcat trip a few years ago and had such a great time! Love that powder skiing!


Looks great!  You are luckier than us Westside dwellers.


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goat-peak
mikerolfs
2022-03-09 03:47:32