Home > Trip Reports > Jan 26 Mt St Helens Hero Corn

Jan 26 Mt St Helens Hero Corn

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by rong on 1/26/11 9:53am
I was able to arrange for the day off today for a trip to St Helens.  Left Marble Mt snow park a little before 8am on continuous skinable snow in full sunshine.  The conditions on the up track were firm the duration of the climb, as a result of the recent high elevation rain event.  The only exception being the top 800', which was still fresh snow, and rime.   Temps were warm enough to corn all but the top 800' for the descent, which i started at about 12:45pm. Winds were moderate out of the NW Near the top, and negligible elsewhere.   In the Swift creek drainage a good size wet slide had traveled down the drainage a few days before, leaving an unskiable debris pile for several hundred feet in the 4000 to 4400' area, changing my down ski plans, and I was glad for this as it routed me to new terrain (for me) farther to skiers right, in a large network of bowls and chutes, in the vicinity of the pinnacle on Monitor ridge, that put a huge grin on my face.  When conditions are right, I think this mountain has some of the finest terrain around.  Not much bad can be said of a 4500' line with varied and complex terrain.

Well done.  If you can't ski pow, you might as well ski corn!

Hero Corn for sure ;D





WHoah - nice job. So that's what was going on while I was working today.

way better than work, sweet!

We got suckered by the weather forecast on Sunday and ended up turning around at the weather station due to rain. It wasn't raining too bad, but we were there to have fun, and skiing in the rain isn't much fun IMO. The snow wasn't too bad, but it was very firm.

The route you followed down is very nice.

Outstanding! I definitely need to get down there this season. Can you comment on the road conditions?

oldhouseman- i also ventured out sunday on hood with the hopes of a softening forecast, only to find high winds, and bullet proof ice.  Needless to say it was a short day.  This trip was my reward.

bcglaxer- The trailhead is at a maintained winter snowpark (marble mountain).  The road is clear. 

Corn in January? That's nuts. It does not look like there is a lot of snow either.
Are you having a low snow year in south Washington?

author=runningclouds link=topic=19239.msg81830#msg81830 date=1296199564]
Corn in January? That's nuts. It does not look like there is a lot of snow either.
Are you having a low snow year in south Washington?

The south side of St Helens is definitely showing a lot of bare rock, especially along the ridges, quite a lot more than is typical for January. A consequence of recent heavy rainfall and occasional sunshine.

But by the numbers, the snowpack on MSH is near normal: snowdepth at the 4440 ft Swift Creek SNOTEL (just west of the Worm Flows climbing route) is about 80", which is roughly normal for late January (this site was only installed in 2002, so the "normal" amount is not well quantified). The 3440 ft June Lake SNOTEL (just east of the Swift Creek ski trail from the sno-park) has about 57" of snowdepth with 25" of snow water equivalent (SWE), which is just about 100% of normal for late January. The SWE records at this site extend back to 1984, so normal values for that are well established.

Our party of three drove down from Seattle and enjoyed the sweet sunshine and corn that day too, although much later in the afternoon. We left the trailhead just before 10am, and topped out on the rim at 2:30pm. I skinned the whole way, using ski crampons for the icier last 500 vert, while my two partners switched to foot crampons for that part. We skied down at 3pm, the snow was still nice corn below 7200 ft at that hour, but it had remained firm windpack up high, despite a couple more hours of sun. Rong's TR was posted long before we got back home from the 390 mile round trip, so I didn't have to write one myself. Here are some pics though:

Envious!!  Looks like a great tour!

Looks like fun.  Nice work rong and Amar!

Thanks Amar for the info. I appreciate it!

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2011-01-26 17:53:41