Alpenglow Ski Mountaineering History Project Home
Lowell Skoog - Trip Journal
These notes summarize ski mountaineering trips that may be relevant to this history.
p. 5: 1975, September 7-14, Alpine Lakes Traverse (Rampart Lakes to Mt Daniel)With Gary Brill and Bill Chaffin. This was not a ski trip, but it was the inspiration for my June 2002 ski traverse over much of the same country. We walked from Rachel Lake to the Overcoat Glacier over three days, took a layover day, then found a high route along the ridge leading to the saddle next to Summit Chief Mountain. We continued over Mt Hinman and Mt Daniel to Peggy's Pond, then hiked out the Cathedral Rock trail to the Cle Elum River.
p. 67: 1979, April 14-15, Silver Star MountainWith Gary Brill, Gordy Skoog and Eric Lindahl. My first ski mountaineering trip. Used new Ramer bindings on hand-me-down K2 skis (from Gordy) with hand-me-down strap-on skins (from Gary). Slept in homemade Gore-Tex "Incompotent." Scrambled to the summit; great skiing.
p. 84: 1979, December 26-30, Bonanza Pk, first winter ascentWith Mark Bebie and Gordy Skoog. Skied from Holden Village to a snow cave camp on the Mary Green Glacier in 1-1/2 days. Skied to the high point of the glacier, cramponed up and down the summit structure, then skied back to Holden Lake. On the fourth day we skied a short run on the slopes of Martin Peak, then returned to Holden Village, camping in the baseball field. Returned home on the fifth day via the old Lady of the Lake.
p. 138: 1982, May 29-31, Mt Logan, Douglas GlacierWith Gary Brill and Carl Skoog. A Memorial Day weekend with atypical, fine weather. Skied from the North Cascades Highway over Easy Pass to Fisher Creek. Skied up the Douglas Glacier to the Banded Glacier col and somewhat higher, then scrambled on foot to the summit. We were attracted by the 7910' snow peak ESE of Logan but skipped it due to concerns about warming slopes. We skied back down the glacier into the valley below and returned the way we had come.
p. 139: 1982, June 8-10, Ptarmigan Traverse (Cascade Pass to Downey Creek)With Gary Brill, Kerry Ritland, Mark Hutson. Perfect weather. The Cascade River road was open to the end. We hiked and skied to Mixup Arm and made the steep Mixup Peak traverse on skis and skins. We continued to Spider-Formidable col, camped and took a run down the Middle Cascade Glacier after dinner. The next day we traversed to Yang Yang Lakes, reached the divide above and climbed Le Conte Mtn. We skied to the Le Conte Glacier, dropped packs and scrambled up Sentinel and Old Guard peaks. I relaxed while the others took a ski run down the Le Conte Glacier then joined them as they were returning. At sunset Mark and I made a run from our camp at the edge of Le Conte Glacier to the flats on the South Cascade Glacier. On the third day we skied to White Rock Lakes and up Dana Glacier. While Gary and Kerry made a run back down the Dana Glacier, Mark and I scrambled up Spire Point. Mark took a different route and was stopped, but I tagged the summit. Then we all made a 1000 foot run back down the Dana Glacier, climbed up, and finally skied to Bachelor Creek via a high traverse near Spire Lake. We continued out Downey Creek and returned to the Cascade River to recover our car.
p. 159: 1983, March 18-22, "Isolation Traverse" (Snowfield Peak to Eldorado Peak)With Gary Brill, Mark Hutson, Brian Sullivan. We hiked to Pyramid Lake and thrashed through the woods to the shoulder below Pyramid Peak, where we camped. On the second day we traversed on skis to Colonial Glacier and climbed Neve Glacier. We kicked steps up and down the NW face of Snowfield Peak. We continued that afternoon to the 5720' lake east of Isolation Peak. On day three we climbed to the shoulder of Isolation Peak and I scrambled to the top by myself. We traversed the peak and followed the divide SW, then dropped low (to 4400') in McAllister Creek. We climbed the largest of the Backbone glaciers to the col NW of Cervical Peak, then traversed to the col between Early Morning Spire and Dorado Needle, where we camped. The following day brought clouds and light snow. We decided not to move. On the fifth day, we crossed the divide east of camp, traversed to the Inspiration Glacier and climbed Eldorado Peak. Gary and I skied from the true summit. We navigated across the Inspiration Glacier, then skied down the Eldorado Creek route to the Cascade River road.
p. 254: 1985, April 6, Mt St Helens, bandito ski ascentWith Carl Skoog. This was certainly not the first ski ascent following the 1980 eruption. Now that the legal hassles have ended, it would be interesting to figure out who made the first post-eruption (or last pre-eruption) ski ascent. Starting around 2 am by moonlight, Carl and I hiked and skied logging roads toward the SW side of the mountain. We climbed to the summit rim on crampons, then skied down. We used "cloaking devices" (old bed sheets, a trick thought up by Joe Catellani) to avoid detection by aircraft overhead.
p. 255: 1985, April 13, Red Mountain, west face ski descentWith Carl Skoog. I haven't heard of earlier descents of this route, so this is a strawman. We left the car at 7:30am, skied to the peak via Commonwealth Basin, and kicked steps up the west face. Skied the face and abandoned the idea of a side-trip to Snoqualmie Mountain because the snow was getting sloppy. Back at the car by noon.
p. 263: 1985, May 16-21, Picket Range Traverse (Hannegan Pass to Sourdough Mountain)With Jens Kieler (then Kuljurgis) and Carl Skoog. Starting in Ruth Creek we skied over Hannegan Pass and down the Chilliwack River trail. On the second day, we descended below snowline on the trail, then climbed back through the snowline in Brush Creek and climbed to Whatcom Pass, where we camped. Starting at dawn on day three we traversed below Whatcom Peak to the Challenger Glacier. Concerned about time and deteriorating snow conditions, we skipped skiing either Whatcom or Challenger, and instead angled up to Challenger Arm, then skied into the Luna Cirque. We climbed to the col above Luna Lake and camped. On day four we followed the ridge toward Mt Fury, descended off it, then climbed to the col between the E and SE summits of Fury. Here marine clouds engulfed us. We set up camp and skied to and from the E summit of Fury, breaking out of the clouds between our camp and the top. On day five we awoke above an undercast. We climbed over the west shoulder of Fury's SE peak, rappeled off the far side, and skied down into the clouds in McMillan Cirque. We climbed out of the cirque to the ridge east of McMillan Spire and camped in fog. On the sixth morning, we were again undercast. This final day took us along Stetattle ridge past Elephant Butte and down the Sourdough Mtn trail to Diablo.
p. 313: 1985, December 21, Mt Snoqualmie, NW CouloirA solo outing. I skied from the Snow Lake divide to Thunder Creek basin and climbed the NW couloir (now called the Slot Couloir) carrying my skis, then skied down Cave Ridge back to Alpental. I wrote in my journal that the couloir was "quite skiable" but due to a lack of imagination didn't return until the route appeared in Martin Volken's Snoqualmie Pass guidebook. I finally skied the couloir on April 28, 2002.
p. 314: 1986, March 1-3, Mt Triumph and Mt Despair, first winter ascentsWith Mark Bebie and Brian Sullivan. This was primarily a climbing trip, but we approached the area on skis via Damnation and Triumph Creeks, camping the first night at Triumph Pass. After climbing Triumph we skied to the lake south of Despair for our second camp. After climbing Despair on the third day, we skied out the way we had come.
p. 322: 1986, May 31-June 1, Rainy Pass to Mesahchie Pass TraverseWith Gordy and Carl Skoog. Starting at the North Cascades Highway at Rainy Pass, we skied to Wing Lake and climbed on skis to the NE ridge of Black Peak. We rappeled the NW side of this ridge and skied into Grizzly Creek. Then we climbed to Silent Lakes and camped. On the second day we skied across the south flank of Mt Arriva and scrambled to its summit. We returned to camp, skied down Fisher Creek, climbed to the Mesahchie Glacier col, descended to Mesahchie Pass, then returned to the highway via Kitling Creek. We'd left a bicycle hidden in the woods and I pedaled back to retrieve our car. Carl beat me by hitchiking and picked me up a mile from Rainy Pass.
p. 400: 1987, May 6-10, "Thunder High Route" (Rainy Pass to Eldorado Peak)With Jens Kieler and Dan Nordstrom. This trip was inspired by the view from Mt Arriva obtained during the Rainy-Mesahchie traverse. Starting about 2-1/2 miles NW of Rainy Pass on the North Cascades highway, we crossed Granite Creek and skied up the valley east of Fisher Peak. We crossed the saddle north of the peak, skied into Fisher Creek basin, then climbed to Silent Lakes and camped. On day two we traversed the south flank of Mt Arriva, crossed the col beyond it, and made our way onto Spectacular Ridge. We skied a broad gully down the SW flank of this ridge to Fisher Pass, then climbed to the north shoulder of peak 7910' (which we referred to as "Dream Peak"). Jens and I skied to and from the summit of this peak and we all continued to the Douglas Glacier margin above Bridge Creek. On day three we skied up the Douglas Glacier to Mt Logan, scrambled to the top, and crossed to the Fremont Glacier. We skied into the headwaters of Thunder Creek and climbed (on foot in forest initially) to Thunder Glacier and skied to the east margin of Boston Glacier. On day four Jens and I made a run from the head of the glacier next to Boston Peak, then we all traversed the Boston Glacier and crossed the north ridge of Forbidden Peak. We skied the Forbidden Glacier to Moraine Lake, crossed the softening lake surface, and finally climbed to the SE margin of Inspiration Glacier. On the fifth and final day we climbed Eldorado and skied along the Triad divide to Sibley Pass. We'd left our second car at the Sibley Creek trailhead.
p. 413: 1987, May 23-25, "Eldorado Icefields tour"With Steph Subak, Mark Bebie, Pat Gallagher and Peter Barbee. A Memorial Day weekend of ski touring and peak bagging. We hiked and skied from the Cascade River to the col west of Klawatti Peak. We scrambled up the peak in the afternoon and made our basecamp at the col. On the second day we skied with day packs to Austera Peak and climbed it. We then skied down the Klawatti Glacier and skinned up to Lucky Pass. We scrambled up Tricouni Peak, returned to the pass, then scrambled and skied up the east shoulder of Primus Peak. We skied good corn snow down the south flank of Primus and made our way back to camp. On the third day we skied to Eldorado and climbed it on the way back to the car. This was a great trip, but not pioneering, since Brian Sullivan's group had been out here in 1984. On returning home, we learned that Tom Wiesmann had died while descending Mixup Peak that afternoon.
p. 446: 1988, March 16-18, East McMillan Spire, winter ascent (not the first)This was primarily a climbing trip, with Brian Sullivan. The skiing was terrible, but it may have been the first time skis were used in Terror Basin. We skied and post-holed and groveled over breakable crust to the base of the spire, then reversed the process to get out. The descent of the forest into Goodell Creek was the first time I felt the need to wear a helmet while skiing. I bought harscheisen after this trip. Our aborted objective on this trip was the first winter ascent of Inspiration Peak, which was completed by another party in 2003.
p. 462: 1988, June 24, Ptarmigan Traverse, one-day ski crossingWith Carl Skoog. Starting at the end of the Cascade River road around 2 am, we climbed by headlamp to Cascade Pass, then cramponed to Cache Col. Descending to Kool Aid lake at dawn, we found shady frozen slopes, so we continued on crampons to Spider-Formidable col, where we switched to skis. We stopped for a late breakfast at Yang Yang Lakes (about 8:30 am) and continued to the Le Conte glacier. We stopped for lunch at White Rock Lakes (about 12:30 pm) and climbed tiredly to the col next to Spire Point (about 3 pm). No summit side trips were made on this trip. After a 45 minute rest, we traversed toward Spire Lake and dropped into Bachelor Creek where we removed skis. We struggled with the overgrown trail and finally reached the Suiattle River road around 11 pm.
p. 503: 1989, April 15-16, Chiwaukum Range TraverseWith Carl Skoog. From the Whitepine Creek road off the Stevens Pass highway, we skied the Wildhorse Creek trail to a camp near Upper Grace Lake. On the second morning we cramponed up and down Big Chiwaukum Mtn, then climbed over Snowgrass Mtn and skied to Ladies Pass. I tagged the top of Cape Horn on the way by and we skied to Chatter Creek pass. From here we descended to our second car on the Icicle Creek road.
p. 509: 1989, May 5-7, Buckindy Range Traverse (Green Mountain to Snowking Mountain)With Brian Sullivan and Carl Skoog. From Green Mtn we traversed north and camped on the divide north of Horse Lake Pass. On day two we crossed into the basin west of the main Buckindy divide, from which Carl and I skied and scrambled up Mt Misch and Mt Buckindy in cloudy, uninspiring weather. We camped at the pass between Kindy and Buck Creeks (called Kirith Ungol by the 1969 traverse party) and the weather cleared overnight. On the third morning, we rappeled over large cornices to the NE side of the divide and descended an avalanche-raked slope below. We traversed to Mutchler Peak and I skied to and from the summit. Finally we traversed to Snowking Peak, tagged the summit and exited via Cyclone Lake and Kindy Ridge.
p. 517: 1989, June 1-5, Bailey Range Traverse (Olympics)With Carl Skoog, Jens Kieler, Joe Catellani, Brian Sullivan. Hiked the Soleduck River trail and skied past Heart Lake to the High Divide. On day two we skied the divide to the "catwalk" near Cat Peak. Once across Carl and I dropped our packs and skied to the summit of Mt Carrie while the others began traversing its SW flank. We later decided that carrying over Mt Carrie and traversing on the east side would have been the better way to go. Instead we returned to our packs and traversed Carrie's SW flank, which involved a lot of unpleasant side-hilling. We spent the night on a shoulder west of Mt Stephen. On day three we traversed and descended to Cream Lake, then skied up Ferry Basin. We followed the crest of the range toward Mt Childs and I tagged its summit on the way by. We descended Queets Basin and climbed the Humes Glacier to Blizzard Pass. On the fourth morning Carl and I walked up Mt Circe, then we all crossed the Hoh Glacier and skied through Glacier Pass to the Blue Glacier. We dropped our packs and skied to the false summit of Mt Olympus, then scrambled to the true summit. We camped that night at Elk Lake and on the fifth day hiked out the Hoh River trail.
p. 525: 1989, June 8-13, "Suiattle High Route" (Sulphur Mtn, Image Lake, Lyman Lake, High Pass, Dakobed Range, Glacier Peak)With Carl Skoog. From the Suiattle River we hiked up the Sulphur Mtn trail and skied to a point east of the Bath Lakes. On the second day we skied the Bath Lakes high route to Canyon Lake. This route is not recommended on skis (unpleasant side-hill gouging). We continued around the headwaters of Canyon Creek and reached Image Lake for our second camp. The weather to this point had been uninspiring, but we awoke on the third morning to clear skies and fine views of Glacier Peak. We skied along the south flank of Miners Ridge to Suiattle and Cloudy Passes, descended to Lyman Lake, then skied over the top of Chiwawa Mtn and camped at the saddle between it and Fortress Mtn. On day four we crossed the south ridge of Fortress and skied its SW slope to the Buck Creek trail. We hiked the trail a short way then skied near the divide to High Pass. On the fifth day we descended to the Napeequa Valley. We walked and skied up the valley, then dropped packs and skied to and from the summit of Chalangin Peak. We traversed the north flank of the Dakobed Range at around 6000 feet, then skied the Honeycomb Glacier to its col with the Suiattle Glacier (camp). On the sixth day the weather was deteriorating and we made a dash for the summit of Glacier Peak. We climbed Disappointment Peak but were chased down by a rain squall before topping out on Glacier. We contoured toward the Sitkum Glacier, then descended to the Whitechuck River valley and hiked out.
p. 621: 1990, June 20-22, Backbone Ridge Traverse (Little Devil Peak to Eldorado Peak)With Carl Skoog. We hiked the Monogram Lake trail and skied up and down Little Devil Peak. Then we traversed the north side of "The Bat" to a camp near the west end of Backbone Ridge. On the second day we skied up the south gully of the Coccyx and scrambled to its summit. Then we traversed the south flank of Backbone Ridge and scrambled up Lumbar Peak. Below Cervical Peak we dropped our packs and skied The Run (the tantalizing slope visible from the Skagit River bridge near Rockport) to timberline. We climbed back up, traversed, then scrambled up In Spirit Peak. Finally we made a traversing climb to the saddle next to Early Morning Spire and camped. On day three we scrambled up Early Morning Spire and Dorado Needle, crossed the McAllister and Inspiration Glaciers, and climbed Eldorado Peak. We descended the Eldorado Glacier route to the Cascade River road.
p. 683: 1991, May 31-June 2, Ragged Ridge TraverseWith Carl Skoog. This trip was launched at the last minute to catch a fleeting weather window. Due to our late start (leaving the car on the North Cascades Highway after noon) we skipped the section from Easy Pass to Mesahchie Glacier (which we had previously skied several times) and instead skied directly to Mesahchie Pass via Kitling Creek. We skied into Panther Creek and climbed to a high shoulder on the Kimtah Glacier below Kimtah Peak. The second day brought beautiful weather and we traversed the Kimtah Glacier and climbed Cosho Peak. We descended the NW side of Cosho and traversed the north flank of the ridge toward Red Mountain. We dropped packs and skied to and from the summit of Red. We continued traversing and camped near the NW end of the ridge. On the third day we descended to 4th of July Pass under cloudy skies and hiked out Thunder Creek to Colonial campground.
p. 912: 1994, May 21-23, "Isolation Traverse" (Eldorado Peak to Snowfield Peak)I repeated the route from south to north with my brother Carl, who hadn't done it before. We improved on the 1983 route by staying high for the entire length of Backbone Ridge. We followed the Eldorado Creek approach to a camp just below Eldorado Peak, climbing to the summit in early evening. On day two we crossed the Inspiration and McAllister Glaciers and traversed the south flank of Backbone Ridge. We scrambled up The Coccyx and then skied a long gully (NW of all the "backbone" peaks) leading into the head of McAllister Creek. We camped on the south shoulder of Isolation Peak. On the third day we climbed Isolation Peak, traversed its east flank and followed the divide to the Neve Glacier. We scrambled up Snowfield Peak, skied the Neve and Colonial Glaciers, then followed the Pyramid Lake trail to the North Cascades Highway.
p. 1029: 1996, June 13-16, Mount Logan High Route (Rainy Pass to Cascade Pass)With Carl Skoog. This trip was conceived as a shorter variant of the Thunder High Route, avoiding the low section in Thunder Creek and passing Mt Buckner on the south instead of the north. We started along the same route I took in 1987--from the North Cascades Highway, over the saddle north of Fisher Peak to Silent Lakes. We continued across the south flank of Mt Arriva and camped at the scenic col SW of the peak. On day two we traversed Spectacular Ridge, skied to Fisher Pass and climbed to the Douglas Glacier. We skied up and down "Dream Peak" (peak 7910') on excellent corn snow. We camped at the head of the north fork of Bridge Creek. On the third day we skied up Mt Logan, tagged the summit and descended the Fremont Glacier. At this point we varied from the 1987 route, traversing through Park Creek Pass and climbing the Buckner Glacier cirque to the Buckner-Booker col. We camped in Horseshoe basin. On the fourth day we had hoped to ski Mt Buckner, but crusty snow deterred us. I cramponed up and down instead. We crossed Horseshoe Basin, climbed to the Sahale Glacier moraine and descended Sahale Arm to Cascade Pass and the Cascade River road.
p. 1045: 1996, July 5-7, Mt Rainier, high level orbitWith Bruce Goodson and Carl Skoog. This circumnavigation roughly followed the route of the Foss-Molenaar party in 1968 (molenaar-1997-p208). On the first day, we hiked from White River campground to Glacier Basin, skied to St Elmo Pass, and circled to Ptarmigan Ridge. On the second day, we continued to Success Cleaver by crossing Tahoma Glacier low (dropping below 7000 feet) to avoid crevasses. On the third day, we encircled the south side of the mountain, crossed Muir snowfield, and continued around Little Tahoma, finally hiking out Fryingpan Creek. I had cached a pair of rollerblades in a hollow stump near the Fryingpan Creek trailhead and used them to skate back to our car at White River campground.
p. 1171: 1998, June 29, Mt Baker, one-day traverseWith Bruce Goodson. This was not an original idea, but it was a good learning experience. We skied from Mt Baker ski area to Camp Kiser and started up the Rainbow Glacier. Deciding that the Park Glacier looked too broken, we diagonaled left and followed the Boulder Glacier route to the summit. Then we skied the Coleman Glacier route to the Kulshan trail. I concluded that we'd chosen the wrong direction for this trip. To take advantage of skis on a "flow day" like this, it is better to ascend the steeper portion of the route and descend the more gentle portion. This makes best use of the skis' glide, rather than spending most of your time climbing gradually with skins on.
p. 1240: 1999, May 30, "Enchantment Loop," one-day circuitWith Joe Catellani and Jens Kieler. After a bivi at the Stuart Lake trailhead, we started at dawn and hiked and skied to Colchuck Lake. Joe headed directly for Asgaard Pass, while Jens and I skied and cramponed up the Colchuck Glacier and the SW gully of Dragontail Peak to the summit of Dragontail. Jens and I skied the east slope of Dragontail to the Enchantment plateau and met Joe there. Then we all glided to Rune Lake, climbed to Prussik Pass, and headed north across the Druid plateau to the summit of Cannon Mtn. We skied from the summit to Coney Lake, climbed to the divide to the north, and descended the big NE couloir of Cannon back to the road. (I had skied this tour by myself in 1995 in the other direction over two days.)
p. 1249: 1999, July 20, Mt Buckner, one-day loop and ski descentWith Garth Ferber, at the end of the record winter of 1999, which was followed by a spring of crummy weather. Bivying at the Boston Mine trail, we climbed at dawn to Boston Basin and crossed Sharkfin Col, then traversed the Boston Glacier on skis. We cramponed up the north face of Mt Buckner and skied the SW route in early afternoon. We skied across Horseshoe Basin, climbed to the Sahale moraine, then skied down Sahale Arm to Cascade Pass and the road.
p. 1335: 2000, June 3, Backbone Ridge, one-day traverseWith Garth Ferber and Gordy Skoog. Starting from the Cascade River road before dawn, we climbed the Eldorado Glacier route to the summit of Eldorado Peak. Then we crossed the Inspiration and McAllister Glaciers and traversed the south flank of Backbone Ridge, forgoing any more summits for the day. We were forced to rope up to climb up and across the north spur of "The Bat" since the slope I'd descended in 1990 looked too unstable. We completed the trip by descending the Monogram Lake trail back to a second car on the Cascade River road.
p. 1339: 2000, June 15-20, Extended Ptarmigan Traverse (Cascade Pass to Holden)With Matt Firth and Bruce Goodson. I'd daydreamed about this variation of the traverse for ten years. The trip filled in the blank between Dome Peak and the Suiattle High Route. Starting at the Cascade River road, we camped the first night at Spider-Formidable col, after a cloudy travel day. The second morning was brilliant and we skied to Yang Yang Lakes, traversed to Le Conte Glacier and scrambled up Sentinel Peak. We continued to White Rock Lakes and camped. On the third day we crossed the Dana-Dome col and climbed Dome Glacier to the summit of Dome Peak. I had hoped to camp high and spend some time skiing on Dome, but a bad weather forecast prompted us to keep moving. We skied down the Chickamin Glacier and climbed to Gunsight-Sinister col, then skied the slopes south of Sinister Peak to Ross Pass and the Hanging Gardens. We camped there and awoke to rain and fog. In the afternoon of the fourth day there was some improvement in the weather, and starting at 3 pm, we skied to Totem Pass, dropped to Canyon Lake, and traversed the head of Canyon Creek to Image Lake, arriving at 8:30 pm, just before it started to rain again. On the fifth day we were again delayed by weather, but got moving around 11 am. We traversed the south side of Miners Ridge to Suiattle and Cloudy Passes, descended to Lyman Lake, and hiked out Railroad Creek to Holden Village. Poor weather unfortunately prevented any side trips on days four and five. On the sixth morning we enjoyed a hearty breakfast in the village, then took the Lady of the Lake to Chelan to begin the long car shuttle home.
p. 1408: 2001, May 24-25, Paradise to Cayuse Pass on skisWith Garth Ferber. From Paradise, we skied to Anvil Rock and crossed the Cowlitz and Ingraham Glaciers to the Ingraham-Whitman divide, where we camped. The next morning we climbed Little Tahoma and skied from the highest snow back to our bivi site. After packing up, we traversed the Whitman and Fryingpan Glaciers and descended to Panhandle Gap. We continued east and skied down the east Sarvant Glacier, then climbed to the 6000-foot pass south of Tamanos Mtn. After descending toward Owyhigh Lakes, we crossed Governors Ridge at the notch north of Barrier Peak. We descended toward Boundary Creek, then climbed to the 5200-foot notch just west of Cayuse Pass. We reached my car at the pass and drove the Stevens Canyon road to retrieve Garth's car at Paradise.
p. 1456: 2002, June 1-4, Alpine Lakes Traverse on skis (Snoqualmie Pass to Cle Elum River)With Joe Catellani, Matt Firth and Bruce Goodson. This trip was inspired by my late summer hike through this country in 1975 (details). We started from Snoqualmie Pass and followed the Snoqualmie Haute Route to Joe Lake, camping at the saddle between Huckleberry Mountain and Chikamin Peak. The next day we cramponed up Chikamin Peak and skied to the Overcoat Glacier. On the third morning I scrambled up Overcoat Peak by myself and we traversed to Summit Chief Mountain, following the high route I'd used in 1975. We skied to the summit of Mt Hinman, where a deteriorating weather forecast deterred us from placing a high camp. Instead we descended to the Hinman-Daniel saddle, climbed Mt Daniel and skied to Peggy's Pond for the night. On our fourth day we descended the Cathedral Rock trail to the Cle Elum River.
p. 1465: 2002, June 22, Forbidden Tour, one-day loopWith Joe Catellani, Sean Courage, Garth Ferber, Bruce Goodson, Andreas Schmidt. Starting at 4 am at the Johannesburg switchback on the Cascade River road, we hiked and skied to Sharkfin col and crossed to Boston Glacier. We traversed to the north ridge of Forbidden Peak and skied to Moraine Lake. From the head of the lake, we climbed west to the south side of Inspiration Glacier. Andreas, Bruce and I dropped our packs and skied up Eldorado Peak. We all skied the Eldorado Glacier route back to the road, arriving by 8 pm.
p. 1471: 2002, July 10-11, Pelton Peak and Hurry Up Peak, ski descentsWith Andreas Schmidt and Carl Skoog. We skied from the end of the Cascade River road to Pelton Basin and the Yawning Glacier. We carried skis up the NW gully of Pelton Peak and skied the gully from the summit ridge. Then we skied from Pelton-Magic col down to Trapper Lake and camped. The next morning we climbed the 'S' Glacier to the summit of Hurry Up. Starting about 9:30 a.m. we skied back down the steep glacier. For variety we returned to Pelton Basin by skiing around the east flank of Pelton Peak. We skied from Cascade Pass back to our car with only a short bit of walking.
p. 1505: 2003, June 5-7, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Traverse on skisWith Carl Skoog and Bruce Goodson, during a period of fine weather and high freezing levels. We skied from Paradise to Camp Muir and spent the night in the public shelter. About 5 a.m. the next morning we began our climb of the Ingraham Direct route. Except for the Cathedral Rocks crossing, I made the entire climb on skis using harscheisen. Carl and Bruce carried their skis to the top. From the summit in early afternoon, we skied down the The Sickle of the Tahoma Glacier route, skirted some crevasses, and traversed to the saddle next to St Andrews Rock. We camped there to avoid descending the lower glacier in mushy afternoon conditions. The next morning we waited for the sun to soften the snow a bit, then completed our descent of the glacier to Tahoma Creek. We reached Carl's car on the Westside Road and retrieved my car at Paradise.
p. 1512: 2003, June 25-27, Forbidden Peak high ski orbit, NW Face of N Ridge ski descentWith Carl Skoog. Starting at the Boston Basin trailhead, we hiked and skied to Sharkfin col and skied across Boston Glacier to the north ridge of Forbidden Peak, where we bivied. The next day we climbed the NW Face of the north ridge carrying skis. We left our skis at the top of the face and climbed the north ridge to the summit of Forbidden Peak and back. Around 2 pm, we skied back down the snow face, then returned to our bivi. The third day, we skied across Forbidden Glacier and climbed the gully leading to the NW ridge of Mt Torment discovered by the Fireys in 1961. We descended the other side of the ridge, then skied across Torment and Boston basins back to the Boston Basin trail and hiked back to our car.
p. 1569: 2004, April 2-4, Nooksack Traverse (Mt Baker ski area to Mt Shuksan, Icy Pk, and Ruth Mtn)With Sam Avaiusini, Jason and Josh Hummel, and Sky Sjue. Starting from the Mt Baker ski area, we skied up the White Salmon Glacier route to the Sulphide Glacier, where we dug a snow cave for the night. On the second morning we climbed Mt Shuksan and skied the summit pyramid. Then we traversed the Crystal Glacier to the Nooksack Glacier headwall. We found a passage between seracs and cornices and skied down the headwall onto the East Nooksack Glacier. Then we traversed the glacier below Jagged Ridge to the foot of Cloudcap Pk. We skinned up to the saddle east of Icy Peak, skied to and from Icy's summit, then descended the Spillway Glacier to a camp near Ruth-Icy col. On the third day we skied over Ruth Mtn and descended to our second car at the Ruth Creek road.
p. 1660: 2005, May 28-30, Sinister Peak, North Face ski descentWith Carl Skoog, Jason and Josh Hummel, and John Mauro. Memorial Day weekend. We approached via Downey Creek and camped near Cub Lake. On the second day, we crossed Itswoot Ridge and climbed the Dome Glacier to Dome-Chickamin col. We skied to the base of Sinister Peak and climbed its north face to the summit. Around 2 pm, we skied back down the north face, then began the return climb over Dome-Chickamin col. Thunder showers caught us before we reached the top. John and I waited for them to pass, then scrambled to the summit of Dome Peak on our way back to camp. On the third day, we hiked out Downey Creek to our cars.
p. 1825: 2007, Skiing the Cascade Crest (Mt Baker to Mt Rainier)On May 28-29, 2007, with a ski ascent of Glacier Peak, I completed a 25-year project to ski the Cascade Crest in stages from Mt Baker to Mt Rainier. Some of the segments have already been documented in these notes. The entire list of stages, including journal page and year, is as follows:Mt Baker, Watson's Traverse - p. 628 (1990), p. 1171 (1998), p. 1583 (2004)
Nooksack Traverse - p. 1569 (2004)
Picket Range Traverse - p. 263 (1985)
Isolation Traverse - p. 159 (1983), p. 912 (1994)
Forbidden Tour - p. 400 (1987), p. 1465 (2002), p. 1512 (2003)
Ptarmigan Traverse (standard) - p. 139 (1982), p. 462 (1988)
Ptarmigan Traverse (extended) - p. 1339 (2000)
Suiattle High Route - p. 525 (1989)
Glacier Peak via White Pass - p. 1825 (2007)
White Pass to Stevens Pass - p. 1812 (2007)
Stevens Pass to Deception Pass - p. 1805 (2007)
Alpine Lakes Traverse - p. 1456 (2002)
Snoqualmie Pass to Stampede Pass - p. 1387 (2001), p. 1435 (2002), p. 1558 (2004), p. 1704 (2006)
Stampede Pass to Naches Pass - p. 1794 (2007)
Naches Pass to Crystal Mtn - p. 1800 (2007)
Crystal Mtn to Cayuse Pass - p. 671 (1991)
Cayuse Pass to Paradise - p. 1408 (2001)
Mt Rainier, Tahoma Traverse - p. 1505 (2003)
p. 1903: 2008, May 3, Tower Mountain, NE Couloir ski descentWith Tom Janisch. I drove from Seattle and Tom drove from Wenatchee to meet at Rainy Pass on the North Cascades Highway. We skied up Swamp Creek to the west face of Tower Mountain and scrambled to the summit on crampons. After returning to our skis, we climbed to the top of the NE couloir, rappeled over the cornice, and skied down the couloir into Cataract Creek. We skinned over the pass into Pine Creek and skied out to the highway at Lone Pine campground.
p. 2276: 2014, February 8, Mountaineers Patrol RaceThis was the first re-enactment of the Mountaineers Patrol Race in 73 years. The race was run from Snoqualmie Pass (instead of Lodge Lake) to Stampede Pass (Meany Lodge). I provided advice to the Meany Lodge organizers, led by Nigel Steere, over several months, including scouting and trailbreaking trips along the route. On the morning of the race, I learned that Seth Davis, our third team member, had injured his knee racing slalom the previous evening. Brandon Kern and I decided to run the course anyway, using the Modern Start instead of the Historic Start that the other racers would be following. The winning team ("R&Ski") of Cody Lourie, Jed Yeiser and Luke Shy finished the race in 7 hours, 9 minutes. Brandon and I (team "Wet and Scrappy") started at 7:33 a.m. and completed the course in 5 hours 39 minutes. Since we were not a complete team, we were disqualified from the race. Eight teams finished (including Brandon and me) and three did not finish. Anne Brink was the only one of her team who finished, making her perhaps the first woman to ski the route during an official race.
p. 2511: 2016, February 27, Mountaineers Patrol RaceThis was the second modern re-enactment of the Mountaineers Patrol Race. No race was held in 2015 due to a snow drought. The 2016 race was especialy poignant because it came just a month after the death of Wolf Bauer at 103 years of age. Wolf's 1936 team had held the course record for 80 years. My team consisting of Seth Davis, Brandon Kern and myself ("Wet and Scrappy") won the 2016 race and established a new course record over the historic Lodge Lake to Meany Lodge route of 4:25:56. Our official race time over the modern course (from Summit West to Meany) was 4:52:07. Two all-women teams raced and finished for the first time. They were "Mountain Mavens" (Holly Davis, Kari Stiles, Stacy McKinstry at 8:47:40) and "SheJumps PNW" (Krystin Norman, Yulia Dubinina, Laura Maruhashi at 8:56:38).
p. 2650: 2017, February 25, Mountaineers Patrol RaceThe third modern Patrol Race (Snoqualmie Pass to Meany Lodge) was held in ideal conditions: cold temperatures, dry snow, and a well-set track. My team consisting of Seth Davis, Aaron Ostrovsky and myself ("Wet and Scrappy") won the open division with a new course record of 4:19:23. This time was faster than the 1936 record set by Wolf Bauer's team on a shorter course, thus eliminating the asterisk associated with the modern record. The race organizers decided this year to award a separate women's division trophy, won by Holly Davis (Seth's wife), Heather Kern (wife of Brandon Kern) and Anne Marie Stonich (team "Mountain Mamas"). Their time was 6:09:29 (a new women's division record), making them the 5th team overall to finish in 2017.
p. 2765: 2018, February 24, Mountaineers Patrol RaceThe fourth modern Patrol Race (Snoqualmie Pass to Meany Lodge) was hampered by a cold and stormy stretch of weather. The decision to hold the race was deferred to the evening prior, due to concerns about new snow and avalanche hazard. At least two teams (the "Dirty CoJones" team from Bend, OR and "Mountain Mamas," last year's women's division winner) elected not to attend the race. Considerable new snow fell the night before the race and race director Nigel Steere sent out a pair of trailbreakers from Snoqualmie Summit around 5 a.m. Saturday to re-break the trail.
Ultimately, the Open Division was won again by team "Wet and Scrappy" (Seth Davis, Brandon Kern and myself) with a time of 5:05:29. The Women's Division was won by "Dirty Bird SkiMo Club" (Liza Hodgins, Sophia Whittaker, and Leia Hansen) with a time of 6:53:50. There was concern by some of the teams that inadequate trail breaking made a fair race impossible. The three fastest Open Division teams finished the race together, since no team could pull ahead after Baldy Pass, where the broken trail ended. "Wet and Scrappy" started last, catching the 2nd place team at Tinkham Pass and the third place team near Yakima Pass, shortly after overtaking the trailbreakers.
On Sunday, February 25, the day after the race, the avalanche hazard level was raised from Considerable to High. Three fatalities occurred that day, a snowmobile avalanche near Cottonwood Lake (near Tinkham Pass) and a double burial of two young snowshoers near Snow Lake.
p. 2867: 2019, February 23, Mountaineers Patrol RaceThe fifth modern Patrol Race (Snoqualmie Pass to Meany Lodge) was held on a course modified from previous years. Instead of following the Meadow Creek road system (FS-5483) southeast from Checkpoint 1 (at 4000ft on the Cedar River watershed) the course would follow the Pacific Crest Trail (on the west side of Meadow Creek) all the way from the checkpoint to "Baldy Pass" (4120ft+ at the head of Dandy Creek). This change would require at least one additional trailbreaking party.
The race was held in a cold month that brought many feet of new snow to Snoqualmie Pass and the biggest snowfall in Seattle in fifty years. Trailbreaking for the race was a big concern. Seth Davis and I agreed to help break trail for the initial segment from Snoqualmie Summit to Tinkham Pass. I spent all day on Friday Feb 22, breaking trail from Grand Junction (starting from Summit Central) to Tinkham Pass with Matt Schonwald, who was enlisted to evaluate avalanche hazard. Returning to The Summit near dusk, I broke trail from Rockdale Creek to Lodge Lake and Summit West by myself, a tiring effort. Overnight snowfall was just a few inches, so the race was on for Saturday.
Seth Davis, Ian Mackie and I left Summit West around 5:15am on Saturday and re-broke trail to Tinkham Pass by about 8:30am. No trailbreakers had reached the pass from the south yet, so we continued breaking trail to Yakima Pass, where we encountered Pat Boyle and Rick Meade. During the climb to Checkpoint 1, we were overtaken by the winning team of the Open Division ("Fastest Known Team," Allen Taylor, Ethan Linck and Todd Kilcup, total time 4:35:46). After a rest stop at Checkpoint 1, Seth and Ian hurried toward Meany and I continued on my own at a slower pace.
Ultimately, 16 teams (out of 19 starters) finished the race. The winners of the Womens Division were "Valley Girls" (Liza Bee Hodgins, Leia Hansen, Sophia Whittaker) with a time of 6:58:41. Nigel Steere later declared that Elsa Klein of the 4th place "Klipspringers" Open Division team had logged the fastest known time by a woman during a Patrol Race of 6:05:45.
During post-race discussion and record-keeping, I reviewed a historic race course profile that I found in UW Special Collections almost 20 years ago (and later forgot about). This profile confirms for me that the historic race actually descended the NE (left) side of Meadow Creek from the Cedar River watershed to cross Meadow Creek at 2900ft elevation. This indicates that the modern Meadow Creek road system is actually closer to the historic route than the Pacific Crest Trail is, though modern grooming of the road (for snowmobiles) changes the character of that section.
p. 2943: 2020, March 14, Mountaineers Patrol RaceThe sixth modern Patrol Race (Snoqualmie Pass to Meany Lodge) was scheduled in March instead of February in hopes of more favorable weather and snow conditions. As in the 2019 race, the course would follow the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) south of Yakima Pass rather than the road system east of Meadow Creek. Racing teams were grouped into two waves. The "Turtle" wave (slower teams) would start from Snoqualmie Summit West at 6:30am and the "Mach" wave (faster teams) would start at 7am. Individual teams would be separated by at least one minute.
The race was held during an early stage of U.S. response to the global coronavirus pandemic of 2019-20. The COVID-19 disease first struck the United States at an elder-care facility in Kirkland, Washington. At the time of the race, public health authorities were discouraging group gatherings and encouraging "social distancing." The Patrol Race organizers decided to cancel overnight stays at Meany Lodge and send racers home from the lodge as soon as they were rested and ready to go.
I spent two days prior to the race scouting the route from Snoqualmie Summit to Tinkham Pass. The Lodge Lake section, in particular, offered rough skiing and trail-finding. Sean Fearon and Nick Middleton met me at Summit West around 5am on Saturday to ski the trail after a light snowfall overnight. The day was cool with sometimes crusty snow conditions. We completed the route to Meany Lodge.
Ultimately, 20 teams (out of 22 starters) finished the race. The Open Division was won by "Team Klipspringer" (Elsa Klein, Linden Klein and Evan Williams) in 6:43:55. This is the first time a mixed-gender team has won the open division. The winners of the Womens Division were "No Debris in the Skin Track" (Ali Forelli, Liz Webber-Bruya and Elena Horton) with a time of 9:03:04.
p. 2966: 2021, March 13, Mountaineers Patrol RaceMarch 12, 2021 marked a year since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Meany Lodge has been running this ski season for day skiers only. This year's race was self-timed, with QR markers placed at various points along the course. Racers equipped with a smartphone app scanned the markers to record their time at each waypoint. I broke trail with Sean Fearon and Matt Schonwald on Friday, March 12. Warmer and drier weather was forecast for Saturday, March 13, so we didn't have to re-break trail on race day. Thirty teams entered the race. Three teams did not finish and two others were disqualified, probably due to incomplete teams. The Open Division was won by "Old Age and Treachery" (Seth Davis, Aaron Ostrovsky and Dave Braun) in 4:44:48. The second place team (Allen Taylor, Sam Lien and Ben Peters) was just 34 seconds behind. The Women's Division was won by "Snoqualmie Skimo Sisters (Esther Opersteny, Holly Davis and Anne Marie Stonich) in 6:33:26.
p. 3000: 2022, March 19, Mountaineers Patrol RaceThe eighth modern Patrol Race was held as COVID-19 restrictions were easing (although the pandemic is not yet over). I broke trail with Gregor Visconty and two others from the Cascade Backcountry Ski Patrol on Friday before the race. Race day started out rather warm and wet but dried out as the day went on. Twenty-six teams entered the race, three of them in the Women's Division. The Open Division was won by "Cascade Trifecta" (Ingmar Prokop, Allen Taylor and Sam Lien) in 4:48:25. The Women's Division was won by "Snoqualmie Skimo Sisters" (Esther Opersteny, Holly Davis and Anne Marie Stonich) in 7:14:10. Racers were allowed to spend the night after the race at Meany Lodge but most chose not to. I returned to the lodge on Saturday morning and skied in from the Crystal Springs SnoPark on XC skis with my laptop computer in my backpack. I gave an abbreviated presentation of my book, Written in the Snows after the race, but I didn't stay overnight.
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