Sourdough Traverse

6/15/12
WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
24325
14
Posted by Kyle Miller on 6/18/12 3:00pm
If you have even been on the summit of Crystal Mountain on a sunny day there is a good chance the Sourdoughs have caught your eyes. Across the valley from 410 lies a small range of ski worthy peaks that I had wanted and planned on riding for years but for one reason or another plans never seemed to pan out.

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Dege on the left and the Palisades on the right with Fremont in the distance

Hoping that the rain shadow and marginal forecast would pan out I arrived at the White River trailhead around 4 p.m. on Saturday. I carefully chose my gear in preparation for a consistent downpour and hiked up the Glacier Basin trail leaving the bootpack below the 3rd Burrough. Following the creek I quickly broke into into alpine and with a rather aggressive skin track skinned to the all the way to the summit. From the 3rd Burrough I rode down the north side and skinned over to Skyscraper finding perfectly carvable snow on the north face all the way down to the lower basin. With the sun setting and the rain starting to drizzle I put on a rain shell and skinned SE into a lower basin then climbing directly up the west face of Fremont where I used the trail as a catchline to find the lookout shelter. I climbed steep muddy slopes in the dark rain and made it the lookout at around 10:30.Once I had shelter I switched over to dry layers, made some warm tea and layed in my Bivy bag listening to the roaring wind and feeling the lookout shaking all within the warmth of my sleeping bag, it was quite the surreal experience.


Looking down on the Emmons and Curtis Ridge from the 3rd Burrough

The next morning I watched the sunrise to the East cast alpenglow over Rainier basking in the rainshadow before finally getting some sleep. I woke up at 8 A.M. and followed the trail down to Frozen Lake where I switched to skiis and traversed all the way to Dege Peak. From here I had to options either I could bail and hike the Sunrise road 7 miles or start the traverse which acorrding to my GPS slide mountain (my exit) was 4 miles, I went for it.


Sunrise from the lookout with the Palisade in the middle and Slide Mountain on the upper left.


Looking back at Sunrise and Glacier Basin from Dege Peak

Deges was a great ski before dropping into the flat basin and skinning directly north passing numerous small lakes and small alpine peaks along the way. With time constraints I decided to focus my attention on the Palisades which held some steep colouirs that I wanted to see check out and possibly ski. I quickly found out they were some of the steeper lines I have seen in MRNP but had melted out at there cruxes. After a few scouting attempts I scurted around the east side and made my way towards Slide Mountain where Boot was waiting at the exit.


What I came to see, the Palisades!!!!!!

In total the trip was 24 miles and 14,000 feet. While it was great to finally ski these lines I wish I hadn't rushed it so much and took my time.

It was really weird to look East and see the backside of Crystal and if you are wondering.......YES there is a bunch of snow up there



[quote author=bs. link=topic=25159.msg106237#msg106237 date=1340120028]
nice!  sounds like a fun trip; glad the lookout wasn't locked!

Forgot to mention that the lookout was locked and I slept on the balcony.
Huge thanks to Boot who saved me from a 10 mile slog down to 410!
Nice way to get it, even in marginal weather.

nice!  sounds like a fun trip; glad the lookout wasn't locked!

that palisades line looks more like a rock climb than a ski descent... i bet it would be fun if you could get back there in the right mid winter conditions.

Nice Kyle...finally you got to do the route. Interesting that you did it the opposite way that we did it a couple years ago. It would be interesting to compare vertical going the other way. Also, did you get the big chute (one way out) on the North side of Pallisade that goes all the way down to lower Pallisade lake?
Hard core in the rain, extra points.
Where did Boot pick you up? Did you go out Dollar?

author=Joedabaker link=topic=25159.msg106240#msg106240 date=1340121033]
Did you get the big chute (one way out) on the North side of Pallisade that goes all the way down to lower Pallisade lake?
Hard core in the rain, extra points.
Where did Boot pick you up? Did you go out Dollar?


That chute was the focus of my trip and I got to it but sadly it was melted out alreay and caused quite the fiasco to get around. Boot met me up on Fawn Ridge at the end of Slide Mountain. That area would be amazing mid winter but a pain to get access to the summit.

This is a photo taken by Joe when he did the traverse and caught my attention

Thought that picture looked familiar.
Too bad about the chute. I thought it would hold longer than that.
But what a bugger to get around if it does not go!! Not a lot of options!
Nice to hear that the road has finally melted to Fawn, for the biking.
It's really a cool traverse for the views isn't it! Whole different perspective of the mountain range.

Also FWIW we only went from Buck Creek to Dege and down to the WRCG. Where you did the WHOLE mapped traverse of the Sourdough Range and more...
Kinda of a Cook or Peary thing  ;)

That was a Rockin' traverse, Kyle.
Thanks for the report; and especially for the pics of the great coverage at Sunrise.

Great trip Kyle! Way to find some adventure with a marginal forecast.

So why the week delay in opening the road to Sunrise?  It looks like the road and lot are plowed out.

Nice trip Kyle.

sweet .. but i know you gotta get back there next year  ;-)

looks to me like they could open the road to sunrise .... how cool to have it all to yourself though

Impressive effort, Kyle!

author=Mofro link=topic=25159.msg106258#msg106258 date=1340131049]
So why the week delay in opening the road to Sunrise?  It looks like the road and lot are plowed out.


From June 12 MRNP Twitter:  "New anticipated opening for Sunrise Rd is June 29- opening delayed due to longer-than-expected snow removal work. -kl"

Almost 40 years of skiing around Paradise (and three decades working for them) have taught me to assume the NPS is lying, until proven otherwise.    :(

I got an e-mail from park today and sunrise WILL open this Friday. Unless there  is an unforeseen problem. The week extension was for restroom and water issues not the road.I Hope to get up there and make some turns this weekend it should be good.


Wow.  Nice trek, buddy and good work connecting with Boot!  What a guy! 

Too bad the snow was melted out.  Tried hitting that last year on July 4th but it was melted out by then so we settled for a steep ride down the RDC to Hidden Lake instead... :D

nice work. been eyeing that from crystal for years, too.

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sourdough-traverse
Kyle Miller
2012-06-18 22:00:49