The Swath, March 2010
Preston first put the bug in my ear regarding The Swath about a month or so ago. According to him:
"The Swath is probably one of the most distinctive avalanche paths and obvious ski runs around these parts. You can't miss it when driving east on Hwy. 2 from Leavenworth as it cuts an unmistakable scar from a point high on Chiwaukum Ridge, falling 4,000 feet to the valley floor."
Funny really, since I had never heard of it before let alone taken note of the feature while driving by on Hwy 2. Surely I've glanced over in that direction once or twice over the years, and ironically probably even skinned right over the small summit en route to our first night's camp during the North Chiwaukum Tour Tod and I did back in December 2004.
Similar to Preston's experience earlier this winter, "with this years lack of low elevation snowpack, only the top 2,700 feet were in." But with cold dry powder of variable depth for most of the descent, The Swath was one of the more memorable tours of the season for me. An added bonus is being able to skin up a logging road from the valley floor right into the gut of the feature. On return, we simply turned onto the logging road without stopping and continued skiing/riding back down to within a half-mile of where we parked the car.
So basically a 2,700-ft+ north facing "road shot"...what's not to love?
Click here for photos.