Voyaging North. April/May 2013 Part 1: PNW

This last April, Rob and I packed up for an epic adventure with our sights set on shredding spring snow in the Pacific NW, British Columbia, and Alaska. With a night in Portland under out belts, we headed north for closing day at Stevens Pass. A little beer scored us free tickets. A snowy night made us hopeful, but the day provided variable conditions, so we stuck to in bounds riding.

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Our next mission was a tour around Forbidden Peak in the North Cascades. Living out of the truck took some serious organization, and every day was a constant game of tetris.

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We packed up for our planned trip not totally sure what conditions would present us with. The ranger station was closed, but we were able to find a nice woman who printed us out some maps.

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We started on snow, but anything with a lot of sun exposure was melted out. Rob chose to continue skinning, where in most spots I chose to remove my split board. The North cascades gave us so much hope, but not much success. We were faced with a thick cloud layer the next day that kept us away from the higher elevations. At least we were presented with some phenomenal views!

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Our next goal was Mt. Baker.

With a an alpine start under our belts, we were almost sure we’d be on top of Baker by 1pm. We were moving fast and feeling good.

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When the sun finally rose we treated ourselves to some more breakfast and took in the views.

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Route finding was very intuitive, and we saw no immediate reason to rope up.  We were very thankful for ski crampons though! When we reached the ridge line a classic PNW marine layer rolled in. It was still early morning, so we assumed it would burn off quickly. We eventually weighed our options and considered moving forward with terrible visibility, but once it got even thicker we decided to try to wait it out. After a couple hours we were pushed to insanity.

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The weather was not clearing, it was getting worse.  We waited it out for hours, but to no avail, we were shut down from the summit. We were disappointed, but excited to move north to Canada!

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