May 27, 2001, Chinook Pass

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by ema on 9/15/02 11:17am
Road skiing seemed like a good idea since we had two vehicles to work with. The original plan was to set up for a ski down to 410 on the north or 123 on the south sides of Cayuse. True to form, the snow is melting out at the lower elevations faster than we expected thus the snow cover at the lower highway was a bit sparse for our tastes. So we set up the lower rig for the road ski at the first 410 switchback, and parked the upper rig at the curve just above Tipsoo across the road from the Naches west bowl. It was obvious the snow surface had not refrozen overnight, but the base was solid, even though there was some evidence of afternoon sun sloughing on steeper, south facing aspects from days earlier. We climbed to the ridge above the bowl then started around to the south side of Naches with designs on the Naches south summit. The snow gods tricked us again, however, the south side of Naches was melted off enough to where we abandoned our summit bid due to lack of snow (being the types that climb to ski; not vice-versa :-) ) . Deskinned and rigged for silent running, we skied silky smooth cruiser corn all the way down to the lower car, marveling at the solitude and great snow all the way down. While getting our skis off to cross the road Eric stuck his thumb out to a passing truck and the guy stopped, thus saving us a car shuttle for the next run (and of course, made us much more environment friendly, even though we were riding in a 5 mpg truck). Knowing a good thing when we saw one, this time we skipped the summit attempt completely and just climbed up to the top of the ridge above the west bowl. Back to down hill mode and voila; another glorious run on ego building corn. Now being spoiled and wanting to avoid the car shuttle again, we stuck our thumbs out again. This time we weren€™t so lucky. We watched the minutes tick by and the really nice trucks, that would look really cool with 4 skiers in the back, go by and by. Mention was even made that we might have more luck if the females in the group perhaps removed a layer or two of clothing, which did not turn out to be a welcome idea. About the time we were just about to load into the lower rig and do a car shuttle, a very nice redneck in a nice big white Ford diesel (environmentally friendly) pickup stopped and we all piled in the back for another climb up the mountain. On the third run the snow was almost as good as the first two, but you could tell we were wearing it out; it was getting softer. Some wanted to do one more run, others wanted to quit on a good one, suspecting that the snow gods were getting tired of us and may soon serve up some slush for our greed. So we compromised and decide to hold a sacrificial mass at the Naches Tavern to sacrifice some frogpelts to the snow gods in thanks for the great snow they treated us with.

ron jarvis

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2002-09-15 18:17:08