May 1, 2008, Washington Pass, Early Winters

5/1/08
WA Cascades East Slopes North
7819
2
Posted by Amar Andalkar on 5/1/08 10:47pm
To celebrate the opening of the North Cascades Highway, Hannah and I headed to Washington Pass, hoping to find some powder (perhaps) on the north/NW facing slopes heading up towards Blue Peak Col. It was cloudy most of the drive up from Seattle, including a couple of sprinkles, but we broke out into blue skies and bright sun after Rainy Pass. We got a late start, the Blue Lake TH was full (room for only 4 cars there now), so we had to go back and park about 3/4 mile west at the large plowed pullout facing Whistler Mtn and Cutthroat Peak.



We finally skinned up at about 11:30am. Snow conditions were a very solid, frozen, and smooth crust topped by 1-2 cm of fresh light powder. Very much dust-on-crust, but this actually made for excellent ski conditions because the crust was so very smooth (and it was OK for skinning up, even without ski crampons). The thin freshies soon softened into a buttery consistency in the warm spring sunshine. We skied 2 runs down the NW-facing bowls from the saddle just south of South Early Winter Spire, still powdery in shaded areas (the trees), and almost starting to corn up in the sunniest spots. A light and easy day, since Hannah was still recovering from a cold, but lots of fun nevertheless and great to get out on a nice spring tour.






I was up there yesterday myself but not skiing.  I did admire a lot of high quality turns, however, and got some photos of those turns from the highway, so I look forward to photos by skiers like you.  Here are mine:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nordique/2458459932/in/set-72157604838162905/

--Pierre

Amar, thank you for the photos!  We saw you and Hannah skinning up the snowbank as we drove past! 

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may-1-2008-washington-pass-early-winters
Amar Andalkar
2008-05-02 05:47:15