Sunday, April 15, 2007

Kendall Chutes

Kendall Peak, WA
Kendall Chutes
April 15, 2007

Day before Tax Day. Perfect time to go skiing and relax. I met up with Andy, Mica, Becky, Lee and Murray on an expedition to try and find these chutes we had been hearing so much about. Kirsten wasn't feeling well, so she decided to stay home, but granted me permission to go without her. Pete, who had originally organized the trip woke up Sunday morning and decided he needed to spend the day at work. And a couple others who had considered going also dropped out, so instead of a hoard of 10, we were trimmed down to a much leaner hoard of six.

We skinned to the top of Kendall Stump, which was the part of the route we were familiar with, but without Pete there to consult us, we gave the map some extra attention and picked a route across the ridge, above Kendall Peak Lakes, and on to the back side of the chutes. We stopped for lunch as the in and out sun happened to be out, then picked one of the mellower lines and skied down one at a time. The snow was pretty icey at the top, which made things interesting since that was also the narrowest part of the chute. We scraped our way down this section, then the next section had lots of avy debris waiting for us. After surviving the bumpy ride through the avy debris, we finally hit good snow: an inch or so of fairly unaffected new snow on a firm base. We carved up the rest of the chute and gathered at the bottom.

Looking back up at all the great lines left to ski and pondering the unappealing conditions at the top, we agreed it had been a successfull recon mission and decided to leave the rest of the lines for another time -- when conditions were better (and when Kirsten could come).

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Red Mountain

Red Mountain, WA
Southwest Face Ski
April 8, 2007

A week ago we went into the Commonwealth Valley at Snoqualmie Pass in a group of about a dozen with low expectations to ski Red Mountain. The snow in the valley was bullet-hard and as we passed under Kendall a few people skied past us. They had just come down from Red and said the snow was the same up on the mountain. Well, that was enough for most of us and we cut the day short, opting for a late breakfast at the Pancake House instead.

This week, we decided to give it a go again. Temps were higher. The group was smaller. We had Tundra with us. There was no way we could fail. I forgot my camera in the car so there is not the usual abundance of photos, but you will have to take my word for it. We did make it up Red. It was supposed to rain at some point during the day, but on the way up to the summit the snow seemed to be corning up pretty well and the rain clouds that were threatening only spat on us just a little bit. Skiing from the top was nice, but closer to the valley it turned into pretty thick chowder.

We skated out the valley and were back to the cars not longer after noon. Super nice tour for a quick day. Gotta keep hitting the Snoqualmie Pass area while there's still snow.