The West Ridge of Forbidden is one of the best climbs in the North Cascades. Check out this video shot last week by Chase Wallace. Conditions are prime right now!
Washington Pass: I was pleasantly surprised to find good quality dry snow above 6000′ on shaded aspects yesterday. There was wind effect in many alpine locations (still quite skiable), but more protected areas skied really well! Compared to last year, the snowpack is noticeably deeper. Total snow depth ranges from ~170cm on lower elevation solar aspects to well over 250cm in shaded northerly aspects, and this means that a lot of lines are really well filled in!
This happened on Sunday December 6, 2015. Two skiers left the ski area near Corona Bowl planning to ski the backside of Stevens Pass. They realized how unstable the snow was and decided to try to find a low-angled exit. The terrain is quite complicated in this zone and they ended up triggering an avalanche that fully buried one of the skiers. Fortunately she was dug up in time with no major injuries. Be careful out there! It's going to take a little while for things to settle out.
With several talented photographers on this trip, including one professional on the trip, putting together this trip report was much tougher than expected by the sheer overwhelming number of great shots! In an effort to get something out there, I have decided to do it in 2 parts, with that in mind, here is part one of one of my all time favorite trips - Dolomites skiing.
The North Ridge of Mount Baker is one of the best alpine ice climbs in the North Cascades. The ice climbing is just hard enough to make it exciting but not so hard that you top out with a wicked forearm pump. The route is easy to complete in two days and has the added benefit of descending the standard Coleman-Deming route, allowing you to leave your overnight gear in camp and climb with a light pack. What more could you ask for? (maybe a hut with a cold beer at the end of the climb.....)
Located in the spectacular Boston Basin in the North Cascades National Park, Sharkfin Tower (8,120') isn't the biggest, baddest peak in the neighborhood, but it is a fun mountain to climb with plenty of challenges, great positions and awesome views. Here are some photos from a recent ascent of this North Cascades gem with Jim D. and Jack M.
Sharkfin as seen from the lower camp: