It takes a lot for me to feel guilty about skiing good snow, but the last few days of skiing around Washington Pass have been over the top (literally). Looking around the country it seems like the other major mountain ranges are getting skunked. Fortunately for us in the North Cascades we've had some sizable dumps over the last week, nearly doubling our snowpack.
Mount Shuksan is one of the true iconic peaks in the North Cascades. It has to be one of the most beautiful peaks in the world, with sharp rock spires sticking out of massive glaciers. Last week David and Chris from Billings, Montana had the opportunity to climb the Sulphide Glacier on Mt. Shuksan with Jeff. They spent three days climbing and training on the peak. The climbing conditions were perfect and so was the weather.
A few weeks ago, long time NCMG guest and documentary film maker Pete Vogt ran a film camp here in the Methow Valley. Each of the students was required to produce a sub 5 minute documentary during the camp. One of the students decided to make a video about climbing and the metaphors it reflects on everyday life with the help of NCMG. Unfortunately during the climbing day, a thunderstorm moved in and they were forced to climb in the rain at Fun rock. Here is film maker Willow Jon Collamer's film titled "REACHING". We hope you enjoy it.
While the valley is sweltering under 90+ degree temps, conditions at Washington pass have been ideal. Highs in the 70's, great views and long climbs are just what this weather calls for. Last week, NCMG guides Matt Walker and Larry Goldie decided to link up a couple of classic routes in the Wine Spires in a long day. The began with the West ridge of Paisano Pinnacle, and then continued on to the North Face of Burgundy spire. These each can be done as
There are certain routes at Washington Pass that are in a league of their own in terms of quality, accessibility and just plain fun. These make up our favorite climbs, and the SW Rib has a secure spot as the best 5.8 climb at the pass. Toward the end of June, Larry guided Kyle Kimball for a day on this route and made a short video that shows some of the superb climbing and the spectacular setting that makes this route such a gem.
This year's Ortler Tour will be one to remember. Boot-top powder, blue skies and an amazing group of ripping skiers all combined for the perfect trip in the Italian Alps. Check out the video below for a little snapshot of the fun.
According to the calendar it is officially Spring but it's still winter in the mountains here in the Northwest. Once again we are enjoying the late season skiing that La Nina always tends to deliver. To celebrate/mourn the last days of winter I headed out skiing with Backcountry Season Pass holders Bob and Larina Davis, my friend from Leavenworth Shannon Fallon, and my wife. We spent the day heli touring near Silverstar and Kangaroo.
We've had a bit of a break in the La Nina storm cycles lately. This has allowed us to enjoy some mid-winter sunshine and ski some steeper lines due to the good stability, but we're looking forward to when the snow starts flying again. Extended forecasts are calling for a sizable dump starting next week. We all know how reliable extended forecasts are but we are going to be ready. Last year's big dumps started around the end of February and didn't let up until May! Are you ready?
After digging out from yet another big storm cycle that dumped snow on the Methow, it was time to explore the skiing on the hill right above my house. I rounded up a small posse of friends and we had one of the best days of lowland skiing ever. If its this good down here, you can imagine how good it is in the mountains right now!