Snoqualmie Mt. East Flank, April 3, 2007
It looked like a one day window of cool and clear weather for the first week of April, with the nice day being Tuesday the 3rd. we got the band together for a tour somewhere up Commonwealth Basin and met up at the magical hour of 10:30 AM at base of Sahale. Scott Otterson, who has been toiling at his doctoral research all year and hadn't toured at all, was able to join us and we carpooled up from Ballard.
Traffic was moderate, the day was perfect, and the hypnotic beat of King Sunny Ade filled the car on the way up. When we got there, we found a couple of inches of fresh snow on the ground with rapidly rising temperatures.
Skinning was smooth and easy, except moving between the shady cold areas and the warm sunny areas was causing snow to stick to everyone's skins. Scott broke a pole shaft while whacking his skis to remove snow buildup, and we all stopped to apply some Glop-Stopper skin wax.
As we got further into the valley, the snow got deeper and deeper. We contemplated Red Mountain again, and then Lundin Peak, which both looked promising, but finally settled on the east flank of Snoqualmie Mountain, which had some nice looking lines through cliff bands down the middle. We circled in a long traverse under Lundin as the wind picked up speed and the the snow surface turned from heavy fresh to wind affected crust.
Due to the late start and the fact that Frank and I both had classes to attend later in the afternoon, we decided to cut the trip short and ski from the knob rather than going on to the East Summit, but the scenery was great from our turnaround point.
For the descent, we picked a fall line route that bisected the cliff bands. Unfortunately the stable wind-affected snow we had skinned up was loaded and slabby in the somewhat protected gully, and as we traversed over large portions of the snowpack left before us, revealing a smooth frozen corn lower layer. Kevin took a little ride as part of his slough caught him, and rode it down the chute, but fortunately was OK and even found his sunglasses and single pole (he had loaned his other one to Scott in an attempt to equalize the "telemark handicap.")
Most of the snow in the lower portion of the basin had turned to slop over avy debris, but was still fun skiing. We rejoined our skin track and made for the cars, thankful for another great day of sunshine in the mountains.