Jan 11, 2020, Hayrick Butte, Skiing in the storm

Posted by evanraj513 on 1/11/20 8:32am
Went out to get after the alleged 10'' that were supposed to fall over night last night. Was not disappointed! Made it to the cliff-face on the East face of Hayrick easily, broke trail for an hour and a half in knee deep snow to make it. Lots of snowmobilers, two other skiers. Lots of fresh to be had, although likely breaking trail again after tonight, given the amount of snowfall.

Stability wise: As has been noted in other observations from the PNW, the conditions are variable. There is a shallow (roughly a foot) slightly weak layer that arose from some warmer conditions there yesterday. When present, the depth hoar poses a risk, but can only be found in convexities of the slope. When out of a low-point on the slope, I did not find presence of said hoar. Dug three pits, two ECTs and one fast column test. Weaker layer close to the surface did not propogate. Didn't ski the open faces due to risk of wind loading. I would suspect it would be fine, but tree skiing was a bit safer, and just as deep.
This report is special to me since Hayrick Butte has been a summer and winter project for me for the past 20 years. There's hardly any publicly available information so you have to had talked to somebody to do it right. I did it the hard way by making 8 visits with 3 successes getting to the top for hiking. I've probed the south face and found it nice for skiing but problematic due to the sun exposure which means an icy bottom with the potential for a large dump to slide on the ice.

One problem with skiing Hayrick is the short descent. The east face starts out steep from the top but quickly rounds out flat. Did you find it worth the effort? Did you skin it or hike/carry it? How many runs did you take? What did the other skiers do? Got any pictures?

Finally, do you know if there's a reasonable way to ski the west face from the top? It seems like it should be possible near the SW corner.

2020-01-20 10:33:11
Hey @johnspeth, I can send you a gpx file that I made of one of my ascents (I believe it was this trip) but is a pretty typical ski/skin for me. In this, I didn't summit, but I summitted yesterday.

Regarding 'worth the effort,' I do find it quite enjoyable. The fast laps include about 600' of descent, but can be climbed (by me at least) in ~20 minutes with a broken trail. I will typically take anywhere from 2 laps up to 10 laps before I feel like heading back. There are many lines to be had on the East/ SE face, and hardly anyone is there (some days I run into 0 parties, most I have seen is three). I am going to post two trip reports today, one from Crystal in WA and one from Hayrick, both of which I skied this weeked. Check there for some pictures! And also for some thought on avy conditions. 

Lastly, I haven't tried to ski the west face from the top. I have done a tour in the SW corner and the North side. The north was a mistake for that day, because it was too steep and too deep/thick to get through easily, although the skiing was amazing when turns could easily be had. The SW face was more enjoyable, and also was accessible via the groomed trail on Hoodoo, which made the climb up to where I turned off quite a bit easier.

Hope this helps!
2020-01-27 15:45:59
Thanks for the generous details. It sounds like you've been hammering away at Hayrick Butte for some time and have accumulated some valuable local knowledge. I hope to read about your future Hayrick adventures.
2020-01-27 19:35:18

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2020-01-11 16:32:50