Tag: snowshoe

Play weekend in the snow

On April 8 and 9, Glenn and I took our climbing students and five other instructors to Alpental for the snow outing. Brian King did a great job capturing the fun:

[flagallery gid=14 name=”Gallery” w=500 h=500 skin=lightgrey]

You know you shouldn’t be here

Part of my job as climbing instructor is organize and teach an overnight field trip where would-be climbers learn how to travel on a rope, use their ice axes, and test their ability to survive in the cold. Normally, I would have held this field trip at Stephens Pass ski area, but because of an unusually snowy spring, they stayed open longer than I anticipated.

The other confounding problem with the field trip was snow. There was WAY too much of it! You wouldn’t think that this would be much of a problem, except that the avalanche danger was through the roof for this time of year. And skiers, boarders, and snowshoers all over the Cascades were getting buried every other day. Not good.

On to Plan B…except that there was no Plan B. Dratz!

Not quite sure where to go, another instructor, Glenn, and I decided that we ought to go for a mid-week scoping trip. We reviewed the avalanche forecast, powered up our avy beacons, and packed shovels and probes. The avalanche conditions were marginal, but we felt prepared for risk. (Nick called dibs on my Rodriguez bike.)

The going was pretty tough. Two people carving a path in thigh deep snow get very tired very quickly. Fortunately, we found a suitable spot. But not before two random skiers ran into us, asking what the heck we were doing out there.

“Um, snowshoeing…”

“Didn’t you read the avalanche forecast?”

“Yes, we did. Thank you.”

“And you decided to come anyway?”

Thinking in my head: “Well, so did you!”
Out loud: “Thank you for your concern. We have beacons, shovels, and probes. It is a risk we were willing to take.”
Thinking in my head: “And where are YOUR shovel, beacon and probe?”

“But you’re traveling so close together.”

Thinking in my head: “So are you and who the heck are you anyway?”
Out loud: “Thank you. We evaluated the slope and felt comfortable with our traveling distance.”

Then we got a lecture on the avalanche terrain of the basin, a warning to stay out of the way of skiers (because Alpental just opened the backcountry and they’d be coming through here pretty fast), and some general comments that gave me the impression that they were pretty much assholes who didn’t want anyone messing up their fresh snow.

It was one of the weirdest encounters I’ve ever had with someone in the backcountry who wasn’t a ranger or ski patrol or some other appropriate authority.

Glenn and I shook our heads and wandered downslope toward the valley where we ultimately found the perfect camping and practice spot.


Last night, Eileen, Jeremy, Barbara, Susan, Nick and I skied and hiked into the Mount Tahoma Trails Association’s yurt under moonlight. Not your typical Friday night activity, to be sure, but a great way to end the week! This morning, the weather was surprisingly clear (the forecast was for rain/snow), so we high-tailed it out of there.

The views were good, so there was plenty of reason to slow it down.

The snow was ski-able for about 2/3 of the trip. Nick and I had the advantage on the way in because we were walking instead of skiing. Downhill on the way out, however, was a different story.

Hurricane Ridge

The weather was forecast to beautiful today, so my dad, Nick, and I got up before dawn and headed to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. We snowshoed through deep powder and took lots of pictures. What a day!

[flagallery gid=8 name=”Gallery” w=500 h=500 skin=lightgrey]

For best picture viewing, click on the “FS” button in the bottom right corner. “SL” runs an automatic slideshow. Clicking on the “i” in the upper right hand corner gives you more information about the picture.

Kendall Peak Lakes

It’s been a super fun week of vacation, packed with adventure everyday. We were a bit tired of being in the car after yesterday’s adventure on the Skagit River, so we decided that Snoqualmie Pass would be as far as we’d go today.

The xc snow parks were bound to be packed with skiers, so we decided to snowshoe to Kendall Peak Lakes. We attempted to reach these lakes last Christmas, but turned around short of our destination because we had a dinner date to get to. This year we had no time constraints – not even sunset – so we knew we’d make it.

This can be an easy trip if you stick to the roads. Or, if you’re like us, you march straight up the hill through the forest. Adventure beckoned and we arrived at the lakes about 2 hours after leaving the cars. We snacked on the ridge overlooking the basin below Kendall Peak (pictured below) and Snoqualmie Pass (not pictured because it’s an ugly ski area).

We mostly stuck to the road on the way down and were pleased to find our car still at trail head. (We parked it, with about 100 other cars, in the no parking area under the freeway.)