Cave Ridge, January 3, 2012
Scott Otterson was in town for the holidays from his new overseas home of Harz, Germany, and eager to get his single day of PNW backcountry skiing in for 2012. Scott has had the unique fortune of chasing wind-power jobs around the globe since acquiring his PhD from the University of Washington a few years back - last year it was Denmark!
We convened at the lower Summit West parking lot, then shuttled over to the Sahale lot in Kevin's car in order to minimize parking impact. There had been a fair amount of fresh snow accumulation overnight, but a temperature spike early in the morning had turned the precip to rain, making for some heavy going for whoever was breaking trail. No problem, we were outside, it had stopped raining, and grip was impeccable for skinning. For once in many an outing, Scott had no gear issues, and we passed the time with pleasant conversation as we skinned up through Commonwealth Basin.
Meandering along the flank of Guye Peak, we veered into a more northerly drainage than usual, and found some nice terrain that none of us had ever seen in dozens of trips through this area, ending up on a "bump" between Guye and Red Mountain with some interesting cliff band features. Finding a boulder field that was surprisingly filled in given the almost complete lack of snowfall in December, we were delighted with the slalom course of pillows - not many turns for the day considering the "horizontal" distance covered, but it was great to get out with Scott!