Magic S Loop + Plan B Descent
Kyle M and I skied the Magic S Loop on Wednesday and were both blown away by the quality of this tour. A combination of amazing views, great ski descents, a summit and minimal shenanigans makes this a route worth repeating.
Currently CRR is gated at mile 21. We road/pushed bikes to the Cascade Pass and a 15 minute shwack got us onto continuous snow to the pass. From the pass we efficiently booted to Cache Col with one descending ski traverse from the high point of the Mix-Up arm. Gaining the col was an easy scramble on the left side. There is a concerning huge blob of snow on the ridge just to looker’s right of the col that is currently defying gravity.
Skiing down to Kool-Aid Lake was great and the skinning was easy to Art’s Knoll. Incredible views from Art’s Knoll! Once at the bottom of Plan B Couloir we were in mutual agreement that we couldn’t climb through without skiing it. The couloir skied great and remnants of our first booter made the climb back easy. We almost skipped the Hurry Up summit but luckily opted to make the short skin to the summit. The 360 degree views from this perch really show off the surrounding terrain.
The S Glacier overall skied well with some shallow but fast moving loose wet mitigation on the upper pitch. Lower down there is some exposure to the S Glacier icefall which got our attention. A cool weakness got us through the lower cliff band and we made a quick traverse through a mess of debris towards Alliteration Col. About 20 minutes after our traverse a decent size chunk of ice collapsed along the cliff band sending large chunks tumbling through our traverse track. The exposure along this traverse is only for a few seconds but does come with some decent overhead hazard.
Easy skinning and a short boot got us to Alliteration Col. From here the skiing down the Yawning Glacier into Pelton Basin was excellent. The final skin back to Cascade Pass went smoothly with surprisingly good snow conditions at this point in the day. We were able to keep skis on for the entire descent back to our shoes where we reversed the short shwack and cruised on the bikes back to the car.
Hats off to Sky for pioneering this great route. This tour seems to get surprisingly little traffic with other areas of CRR getting most of the attention.