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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Washington Pass - ski/split (Nov. 22)

Amanda Barg, Luke Panezich and I snuck out of town on Thanksgiving for a quick Washington Pass pow fix. Despite the fact that it last snowed almost a week ago, temps in the teens at the Blue Lakes trailhead practically assured us great pow conditions. Luke suffered a skin issue early on and had turkey dinner obligations later that afternoon that necessitated an early departure, and so returned to town early. Amanda stopped just shy of Blue Lakes Col and not seeing me, decided to ski back down to the road and wait for me. I, having selfishly abandoned my comrades back in the forest, made a run for the col and took a glorious sun-drenched ride down the south-side into Copper Creek Valley. An exhausting slog back up to the col and a final run down the north-side, staying left for untouched champagne on gentle slopes well into the basin, saw me back to the trailhead where Amanda was happy to see me. I had hoped for another run, but alas it was not to be. Photos by Amanda - the cold shocked my camera batteries!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Heather/Maple Pass ski/split (Nov. 18)

Together with Jerry, Susan, Eric (Henry), Jay and his girlfriend, we made the long drive to the plowed pull-out near the Rainy Pass Trailhead. It was good to be skinning starting right from the road, and in no time found ourselves traversing the slope high above Lake Ann - our destination: Heather Pass, and beyond it, Maple Pass. Three laps from the top of Maple Pass down to the lake (est. 1200ft - 1300ft) in exquisite pow made this a day worth remembering...and no core shots either! Hey, if it's good enough for Winthrop locals, not to mention Gordy Skoog himself, it must be good, eh?

"Muir on Sunday" (Nov. 11)

Scott and I paired up for our first ski/split tour of the season, and what amounted to little more than a 'hike' in whiteout. Coverage at Paradise was marginal at best, and with poor visibility and strong winds chipping away at our motivation, we called it at around 8K. We were, however able to get a few turns on the wind-blown ice and occasional pockets of pow, but all in all it was a day better spent in bed. Despite the challenging conditions, I must say that my new SD Mojo split is far and away a huge improvement over what I've been riding up until now!

"Top 100" Party (Nov. 10)

Tom extended a last minute invite to join him at the party being held at Don Beaven's Marysville home. Having missed several opportunities to attend such get-togethers in the past, I couldn't let this one pass me by. Besides, what better opportunity to rub elbows with Cascade mountaineering pioneers such as Fred Beckey, Mike Swain and Alex Bertulis, just to name a few? Noteworthy highlights of the event included a slide show by host Don Beaven describing his recent attempt at climbing K2, a recognition and roast for John Roper and another gentleman who's name escapes me at the moment, and a slide show by Paul Klenke detailing his attempt at climbing Lincoln Peak earlier in the year. Last but not least, was Lowel Skoog's impressive Google Earth-based slide show detailing his bi-decade quest to ski the Cascade crest from Mt. Baker to Mt. Rainier. Check out the photos to see if anyone looks familiar!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Modified Brostrom Procedure (Nov. 6)

After a week in a splint cast and four weeks in a regular cast, Agata finally got her cast removed Nov. 6. Consistent with my experience following a similar procedure on my left ankle eight or nine years ago, the surgeon basically told Agata to begin walking as soon as the cast was removed. Six or so weeks of rehabilitation should get her ankle back in shape just in time for 'boarding season! The photo at right shows her ankle just after the splint cast was removed (about a week post surgery). Photo at left is my ankle also a week post surgery.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Exfoliation Dome - West Buttress (Oct. 27)

Exfoliation Dome is rather large granite dome south of the town of Darrington. Unlike other nearby features of interest to climbers, Exfoliation Dome is a distinct peak unto itself. It is apparently the most difficult 4,000-foot summit to attain in Washington State. The easiest way to its summit is a 9 pitch 5.8+ alpine rock climb...the West Buttress (aka Blueberry Hill). Martin Cash had already climbed the route on two previous occasions, and was very accomodating to climb it once again with me. Full report here.

Sperry Peak - South Ridge (Oct. 14)

Having been granted the proverbial green light to take a break from his parental obligations, and myself having been cleared for a day off from my caretaker duties (Agata recently underwent sugery on her ankle), Scott and I were effectively handed a kitchen pass to go play in the hills. I succeeded in talking Scott out of skiing up on Mt. Baker, citing the obvious lack of new snow, for my tastes anyway and instead proposed doing a scramble of some sort. A few options were discussed, but we eventually settled on climbing the South Ridge of Sperry Peak. Full report here.
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