Jtack and I queued up Friday for a Saturday ski of what we thought was still a somewhat obscure and remote line on Chiwawa Ridge about 6 miles up the Napequa River. Anthony and Alex were to meet us to start marching at 3:45am on Saturday. On Friday afternoon, Jtack and I scouted the trail that avoids the "no trespassing" private property near the White River/Napequa confluence. The trail was obvious, and we left a pair of skis about a mile from the trailhead just to make the early walk that much more pleasant. There was a car in the lot that looked suspiciously like a skier's car. We discussed the possibility that maybe this car represented a party ahead of us, possibly sleeping at the base of our intended ski. Our 3am wake-up at Tall Timbers was interrupted when a party of three pulled in, (very nice people) who were on a similar departure schedule as us, and headed to the same location. A few minutes later, while walking to the trailhead, we met yet another party of two just locking up their cars and headed to the same destination.
As we walked up the trail, time-wise slightly behind these two parties, we talked about confined terrain with groups above and below. There would be at least 5 and maybe more people (in addition to our 4) in this long narrow slot. We decided that this isn't the kind of line you share with multiple groups, and we pulled the plug a little before 5am when we picked up Jamie's skis from the trail above the private area.
I learned something from this experience, which is that the Napequa is not as secluded as I thought. I'm sure this warrants a discussion about the affect of trip reports and increased visitation to more remote spots. This "crowding" in the backcountry is why I haven't been posting trip reports from my usual haunts. It is too crowded as is, and any mention on-line makes it worse. Its a conundrum that has me bouncing between wanting to share, and wanting to destroy the internet.
Also, I don't think we saw any footprints in front of ours on the trail. This suggests the possibility that skier parties ahead of us may have trespassed through the easier access private property. Maybe there was permission, I don't know. I guess I'm an advocate of protecting our collective reputation by observing "no trespass" signs.
Here we are returning to the car after deciding the trip was too crowded for safety:
On the bright side, we had a nice ski to the end of the White River Road and saw cougar tracks and some pretty amazing avalanche debris over the road.