Home > Trip Reports > March 16, 2003, Mt Pilchuck

March 16, 2003, Mt Pilchuck

3/16/03
WA Cascades West Slopes Central
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Posted by scotteryx on 3/16/03 5:54am
So we never seem to learn.......... I had made a promise to a friend that we would never travel to Pilchuck on the weekends until the road is plowed so that we can somehow stay away from the circus acts that are found up there on a snowy wintertime weekend.
So even after last weekends trip up pilchuck (we did not get to the summit, extreme avy condition), we thought that this Sunday would be fine since the rain might have melted away the majority of the snow on the road. What we found was a bare road all the way to the trailhead, except for the last 1/8 mile - but in a high clearance vehicle it was no problem. The parking Lot was just about all melted out as well. I started to get distressed as I was the only one with skis, and the other 2 were on foot. I was able to put the skis on about a few hundred yars up the trail once we crossed the creek, and then they came off a few more times as we crossed logs and other creekbeds. Once we broke out of the trees at the first boulderfield, I was greeted to a rock garden. Dirt and more rock followed this on the trail, and I started to get a little upset. After all, it was the middle of March!

Once we hit the open slopes, the snow was much better, but the 8 foot base that I had measured the weekend before was now only 6 feet or so!

We reached the end of the other tracks, and my accomplices started their grand workout of breaking trail in knee deep snow. It was quite easy on skis and we arrived at the saddle quite quickly after that.

The only interesting part was the traverse from the saddle to the other side of the mountain, as some loose snow avy's had come down recently, but nothing to be concerned about. We followed the trail for most of the way up until we could go the direct route near the higher slopes. I was quite excited upon arrival to the Lookout Tower as the door was completely blocked by a large ice chunk that surrounded the decking. I was then able to whip out my newest accessory for my BD Ascension Shovel......the BD Ripper Saw. It cut right through the huge Ice chunks so we cold access the door and get inside. By this time it was snowing pretty hard and the wind was whipping. We spent a few minutes inside and talked to another couple that showed up a few minutes after us.

We then descended and I had a less than desirable ski down. A nice breakable crust prevented me from getting any worthwhile turns in, but got me down fast and effortless. We also opted on descending the north side route straight down, which was much more consistent as far as snow is concerned. To our surprise, only one other car was at the trailhead on our return.

If you happen to have found or see my BD Expedition Poles, please return them to me!
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march-16-2003-mt-pilchuck
scotteryx
2003-03-16 13:54:31