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Mt Washington President Chutes

3/23/24
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Posted by Volcano Skier on 3/24/24 10:34am

Will and I had a late start to our day, leaving my place in Bend around 8:40am we got to Ray Benson Sno-Park around 9:40 and Will was towing me down a groomed snowmobile trail by 10am.  It was a bit warmer than we were expecting, 35 degrees at the trailhead and the rain crust we were expecting was almost soaked.  After a 3 mile tow behind the electric snowmobile we transitioned to skins and started making our way South towards Mt Washington.  About a mile through a burnt forest to the base of the densely treed apron below the north ridge.   As we started up the apron the temperature dropped and the wind picked up.  after another mile we were on the north ridge and it was comfortably below freezing.  we skinned up the north ridge as long as we could, 5 foot tall wind lips and downed trees couldn't stop us but lack of traction on the frozen hardpack snow could.  Once we got to about 6400' on the north ridge we transitioned to crampons.  At about 7000' and another 1/4 mile through the trees on the north ridge we decided it was time to traverse out onto the northwest face.  This would save us time climbing smooth snow instead of windlips and trees but it would also give us an option to traverse under a cliff band on the ridge instead of climbing over it to get to our line.  The snow on the NW face was enticing, a consistent 2-3 inches of powder with 4-5 inches in the deep spots, but we had our eyes set on a chute so we kept pushing up the NW face to the saddle around 7300' on the north ridge.  We reached the saddle and climbed out onto a a supported shoulder of a pinnacle to see around the cornices into our line, the president chute was pristine.  2-3 inches of soft snow that was well bonded to an almost bulletproof layer underneath, almost no cornice on the entrance so we could drop in from almost anywhere, and a clear untracked line from top to bottom.  we climbed up to the uphill wall of the chute and found a moat to transition and refuel in.  then it was time to go down, Will and I were both hesitant about dropping in just because of how steep it was, I've skied pucker up on broken top in a white out and this felt scarier, so i went for the entrance at the lowest point of the saddle while Will dropped into what i would call the eagles nest of mt Washington. Will went first and radioed up to me once we was 1/3 of the way down in a safe spot, then i dropped.  I did a ski cut across my half of the line and nothing moved besides sluff so off i went.  The sluff was heavier than ideal so i gave it some some in between each turn make sure i didn't go sliding away with it.  15 jump turns later i met up with Will under a cliff band and caught my breath.  Another 15 regular turn later and we were clear of the chute.  The clouds had rolled in heavy, completely covering the mountain by the time we came to a stop under our line, hiding our tracks from pictures, oh well at least we know they're there.  We had skied the fall line down to about 6400' when we came to a stop, then we cut hard traversing north then northwest to get back to a fall line similar to our up track, after convincing Will to keep his skis on and not put on skins, we were able to ski, double pole and duck walk all the way back to the moonbike 3 miles away on the groomed trail.  after a smooth 3 mile tow we were back at the sno-Park.  In total the day was 12.1 miles and 2960' of gain, without the moonbike, the human powered potion of the day was 6 miles 2800' of gain.  would do again!

President Chutes

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Our objective was one of the President Chutes

MoonBike!!

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Will's MoonBike cut out the first 3 miles of flat skinning on a snowmobile trail.

North West Face

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Up and across the northwest face to the saddle of our chute

Line of the Day

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Looking down our line, the left variation of president chute ~7350' on the north ridge, looking east

Will Dropping In

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Skiing the Steeps

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Me skiing down the chute

Catching Our Breath

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paused in a protected area just before exiting the chute

Below the Chutes

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The chute we skied is directly behind/above me

NAN km, 05:19:36

Well Done. I want a Moonbike!


Tell us more about the Moonbike


I'm the proud owner of the Moonbike in question. I plan on doing a full review of the Moonbike as a backcountry skiing tool once the "snow covered roads" phase of the ski season is winding down. It will be available on my blog safesexandgoretex.com, so check in there around April or May. 

 

Until then, here are my thoughts. I primarily use this as a single rider when I am skiing solo, or towing another person behind on skis if I am with a partner. It absolutely kicks ass at towing when the snow is fairly well packed, such as a snowmobile trail. It deals with up to ~8" of powder ok, but any more than that, especially combined with a hill, and it's going to be really hard to tow (it does fine with just me riding it up to about 12" of pow). Definitely more niche than a snowmobile, but way easier to transport, get un-stuck, maintain, and its about 1/2 the cost. Ideally I would have more friends who aren't bums and would have their own, but until then I'm stuck towing Volcano Skier ;)


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mt-washington-president-chutes
Volcano Skier
2024-03-24 17:34:00