Saturday, December 1, 2007

Crystal Backcountry

Crystal Backcountry Skiing, WA
Bullion Basin & Crown Point
December 1, 2007

Winter is finally here. We had some big dumps of snow in the mountains in September and October, but November was mostly dry and warm until the past week. Andy, Pete, Mica, Marcus, Kirsten, Tundra and I left the Crystal backcountry parking lot at 9 o'clock or so and headed toward Bullion Basin. After a couple hours of skinning, sometimes on nice old road cuts and sometimes busting through thick, only partially covered underbrush, we reached the ridge above Bullion Basin. The sun peeked out for a few minutes midway up to Crown Point, then dark storm clouds rolled in and the snow and wind picked up. Pete dug a test pit on a NE aspect and found some marginal conditions. We ski cut the runs and the top couple inches of unconsolidated snow ran downhill fast, but nothing else moved. Then the joy began and we all floated 500 feet downhill on crazy hero powder, bouncing in and out of the turns, hooting and hollering. What a way to start December! We broke trail back up to the top and took another run. The snow was falling heavily at this point, and strong winds were transporting a lot of it onto the slope we were on, so we called it a day and headed back out. We avoided much of the nasty brush that we skinned up on by staying on the road, dropping about 1,000 feet in a snowplow. Then, with quads burning, the road threw one last thing at us: a minefield of sharp, softball-sized rocks lurking just below the surface at the end. We tried to forget about that though, and as we chowed down on burgers and beer at the Naches Tavern and watched the snow falling outside , we just thought of bouncy, fluffy powder. Yum.

:: TR
:: Turns-All-Year

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