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killclimbz 03-30-2012 04:51 PM

Stevens Pass March 17-24
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It's no secret that this has been a bad season. This is pretty much going down to the worst one I have seen in Colorado since I moved here in 1990. I can live with it as there haven't been very many bad years out here. The PNW this year has been having an amazing season. Record setting for many places. Having made a journey out to Washington last season at the end of January and getting amazing conditions for the first half of the trip but rain for the second, I booked my flight for a week long trip in March. March seems to be the $$$ month in the PNW and I was not disappointed. The other thing that helps is a good friend and forum member here, Ale Capone lives very close to Stevens Pass. He is also a splitboarder. He also happens to know the backcountry around Stevens Pass better than well, anybody. I'd call him the Godfather of the pass. He's done stuff there that people just look at. Couldn't of had a better tour guide.

Day 1

Stopped by the Skykomish Deli to get a sandwich for my lunch. Splitboarding makes you hungry. They also have awesome sandwiches in there. Highly recommended. Of course I couldn't leave without leaving a little Colorado stoke somewhere.
The drive up the pass got me stoked, it had snowed around 80" the previous week, and the storms were still rolling in with smaller amounts. The 6-10" range. Perfect for a refresh and keeping the avalanche hazard not too crazy.
We went to a secret spot that Ale has. He calls it Flying Squirrel after seeing one back there several months ago. The skin started by the road side. The snow bank was just a little deep.
The creek looked pretty awesome too.
And of course the trees.
This area is on the East side of the pass where they don't get as much snow. My 340cm probe barely penetrated the snow before hitting ground. It hit at the 290cm mark...
Since I don't get to play in a Maritime snow pack all that often, we dug a pit to check it out. We did find a rotten layer about four feet down. This wasn't a steep riding day, so we weren't too worried. On the wrong slope though that layer could be a serious problem.
We got to the top of our line and Ale decided to smash some pillows.

killclimbz 03-30-2012 05:03 PM

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And enjoy some sweet turns.
Day 2

We went to Heather Ridge which is across the the Highway from the Ski Area.

The scenery is sweet.
This time around Ale brought out his pooch Calolo(sp?) to ride with us. On our first run she got the rad pics.
The it was back to skinning and checking out the snow pack.
Remember that 290 centimeter depth on the East side? This is ale with my 340cm probe and his arm buried into the snow as far as he could reach. He did not hit bottom. That is over a 3 1/2 meter snow pack. That is over 11 feet folks.
Our second run went down the South Face. We figured since it had been snowing all day it would ride nice.

killclimbz 03-30-2012 05:12 PM

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Which it did. Further down though the temps warmed while I was riding a spine. Stuff started sluffing hard and I pulled up hard by some trees due to the amount of snow that was moving around. It was a good call, as soon as I did that maybe a class two avalanche kicked off below me and filled the gully. We had a few car sized chunks in the debris field. No harm no foul though. I believe I have video of this, I will hopefully get to edit everything next week. Further down Ale and Calolo found more pillows to smash.

Day 3

My buddy YC who flew out with me joined up with us along with a friend of his Jonathan from Seattle. The skies decided to break blue bird for another day on Heather Ridge.
The crew for the day.
The ski area looks fun, but I'll take the other side of the highway any day.
More stellar scenery.
And more killer drops. Ale playing with the white room.

killclimbz 03-30-2012 05:17 PM

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killclimbz 03-30-2012 05:22 PM

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killclimbz 03-30-2012 05:24 PM

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Of course with 40 yards on either side of me, YC somehow manages to clip me, here is the last shot I took before protecting myself and my camera.
Fortunately, I wear a helmet and the blow was glancing.

More pics to come after the weekend. I've got a bunch more to post and maybe some video...

wrathfuldeity 03-30-2012 05:40 PM

Very nice and great selection of a week to come out!

HoboMaster 03-30-2012 05:40 PM

Some nice lines on those cliff-ridges, looks like the trip was worth the effort. That dog is awesome.

snowvols 03-31-2012 08:19 AM

Gary looks like a good time! Hopefully, it made up partially for such a terrible season. Great pics and the terrain around there looks super fun.

killclimbz 04-02-2012 10:41 AM

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Oh I don't doubt it. There is also awesome stuff at Baker too. In fact there is a whole bunch of awesome all over the place out there. Part of the reason for sticking around Stevens is just that I really wanted to get to know the place. After touring there for seven days, I now have a fairly complete working knowledge of how the backcountry works in that area of the pass. I doubt I'd ever be there and not be riding with Ale, but it's good knowledge to have.

The other reason for not traveling out of that zone, was that Ale's vehicle is less than road legal. "Mad Max", is not something I'd want to drive more than an hour with. We got pulled over on our last day and the cop went over a laundry list of things that needed to be fixed to deem it road worthy. It was kind of funny, except that he was considering declaring it not road worthy, but he eventually let us go with a warning. Limiting your time in it, definitely increases your life expectancy.

Hopefully next year, we'll get around a bit more. There is a lot more bc riding I'd like to check out in the state for sure.

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