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Red Mountain, February 20, 2008

Both Kevin and I had been in Canada with the families for a few days, and we were both pretty tired from the drive (I had gotten in the night before) but the weather looked nice and we hadn't done any touring for a while, so I got out of bed and met him at Sahale around 9:45. Sure enough, the high overcast that was hanging around Seattle gave way to swirling clouds with patches of blue as I crested Snoqualmie.

A bomber snowshoe track from the weekend made for some rough going, but an inversion the night before had left the higher elevations still soft - it was quick going to the base of the final climb up Red following several different tracks and making our own when it looked smoother to do so. On the final push, we caught a couple of skiers who obviously had the same idea as us, and skinned up to meet them. This last section had frozen in places but was starting to soften, and we decided belatedly that ski crampons were in order. After correcting this, Kevin laid down a smooth track to the summit, probably one of the easier ascents we could remember of Red Mt.

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The two other skiers came up shortly afterward, and we chatted for a bit before the ski. The weather was perfect, the views were delicious, and the hot sweet tea hit the spot.

Skiing was a mixed bag - the snow was in a weird transition stage for the top few hundred feet, a kind of half-crust half-corn cocktail with some frozen chicken heads thrown in for fun. The mid section over uniform avy debris was actually pretty fun skiing, and there was a brief period of really nice corn as we rounded the corner of Red onto a more south-facing aspect. Lower down, the corn turned to mush with no real base, but this section didn't last long.

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A quick trip back out to the car, where we downed about a half liter of water each with some animal crackers, and still time to stop at Scott's Dairy Freeze in North Bend for a bacon cheese burger. With the sun and 55 degree temps, I figure I got my vitamin D quota for the day. Is this a great sport or what?

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