Dec. 27, Alpental Valley

Seth kick turns his way up to the NE ridge of Chair Peak
Headed up towards Chair Peak, thinking we would drop off the backside to Snow Lake.   Unfortunately after struggling/booting up to the ridgeline in steep deep snow we found that wind had affected the snow quality on the backside, not to mention visibility was poor.   The terrain over the NE shoulder has some pretty good slide paths and with lots of fresh snow and the bad visibility we decided to drop the front side.  Took a nice direct line back down to Source Lake, then did a lap off Pineapple Pass and then finished by climbing over to Draft Dodger inside the ski area's permit area.  Unfortunately the ski patrol had opened up the area that afternoon and we had a bit of tracked up skiing on our final descent.  Good day.  My legs were pretty fried by the finish.

Seth fixes his skins as we crest into Chair Peak basin

Initially attempted to boot up the far notch,
due to easy skin track leading into,  but ended up getting turned
 around by deep and steep snow.  Skied back down to lower notch

Kevin lays a skin track up to the ridge

Able to skin all the way to ridgeline on the lower notch


After aborting backside, found some good turns on the front.

Seth hydrates before we finish our climb to Pineapple Pass

Dec. 21, Silver Fir Opening and Pineapple Basin

Crispin and Geeb lay tracks into Pineapple Basin

Once again, good to see the usual cast of characters for the opening day of Silver Fir chairlift at Summit Central.  Ran into Chris, Quincy, Matt, Heidi,  John, Adam C., Crispin and Sean Courage.   With no new snow the hill looked pretty sketchy, but thankfully the surface crust wasn't too thick and skiing actually turned out to be pretty good.   For the second half of the day toured up the Alpental Valley with Crispin.   We reached source lake and decided to put a skin track going up No Fog.  Crust over in the Alpental Valley was a little thicker and just a trace of fluff on top of the crust.  The uphill journey was fun and it's always nice to be the first group laying tracks into an area.  We skipped Pineapple proper due to obvous wind scouring and our high point was above Draft Dodger Ridge.  Unfortunately skiing was really poor.  Looking forward to more snow! Elevation gain: 1,976 feet Distance; 4.5mi. Time 2:45

Almost looks good!

Notice the lack of ski penetration

No Fog down to Source Lake

Dec 14, Summit West opens and Alpy lap

According to media reports, due to global warming, the ski areas are suffering.  Also, according to media, avalanche danger is extreme and we should probably not even go skiing.  Truth be told feels like a pretty normal year.  All the ski areas in the northwest have started operations.  That being said, we do not have much of a snowpack yet.  Summit West started operations today and it was great to see all the regular skiers.  It's always fun to see the stoke of the first day of the season and see friends you haven't seen since last season.   Conditions were pretty firm today, and no one that I ski with wants to ski Summit West for long, but everyone was happy to be sliding down the hill at Snoqualmie Pass.   I stuck around for a couple hours then drove over to Alpental to see if I could skin high enough to find snow that hadn't been affected by recent rains.  Unfortunately any new snow was covered by a fairly solid rain crust.  Enjoyed the workout and challenge of skinning to the top, but the skiing was pretty awful.  Nice to be the only one that skied off the top today though.

Top Lift Shack looking ready for operations

Today Day 7 on snow,  Frozen top layer.  Hoar frost layer appears to be gone.
Day 6,   West lap, sticky mush,  then Chair 1 Alpy, decent top half Debbie's Gold        
Day 5 Skied Crystal w/ Greg and Francine,  6 inches fresh in Green Valley
Day 4, West laps with Francine, saw Seth And Ireton

Dec 6, Summit West - day 3 of season

Different day, same characters.   Everyone is motivated to ski.  Top 2/3 of West skied quite nicely.  Perhaps a little lumpy, but nice cold corduroy and some fluff on the sides.

Dec. 5, Paradise

Crispin and Greg making the climb to Camp Muir

Just another day in Paradise.  Hooked up with Greg Louie and Crispin Prahl to skin from Paradise (5,400) to Camp Muir (10,188) on Mt. Rainier.   Total elevation gain 4,788.   A little breezy as we crested Pan Pt. but once on the Muir snowfield enjoyed little wind and pleasant temperatures.  Near 9,000 feet we were passed by Amar Andaker.   He said today would be his 350th visit to Camp Muir.  We caught up with Amar at Muir and he offered to show us a better route down that avoided the Pan Pt. descent.  Despite an amazing amount of tracked snow (busy weekend at Rainier), we were able to find some clean routes for most of our descent.  Overall an excellent day with good friends and hope for an excellent ski season.

Mt. Adams in the distance.
Greg, Amar, and Crispin at Camp Muir

Crispin and Greg ready to go downhill!



Amar Andaker finding us the best snow

Dec4, First day on Skis - Summit West, Snoqualmie Pass

I missed the first snows of the season, so was a little late getting on the skis.   However, noticed Snoqualmie Summit actually tried to groom out Summit West.   That got me excited to grab skis and make a couple of laps.  Sure nice to be on snow!

November 4, Xanadu versus Rosy Boa

Kevin on Xanadu  (going wrong way on trail)

Rain, rain, rain.  It's been a little wet at Snoqualmie Pass.   In typical fashion we started looking east for a dry spot to ride.  Cle Elum, wet, Yakima, getting wet, Leavenworth, not wet since 6 am!   Leavenworth the mecca of mountain biking.   Unfortunately not!   It should be a better place to ride, but trail development seems to be way too complicated when dealing with the federal government that controls most of the hills above town.  Leavenworth originally had Freund Canyon, an old road turned to trail.  They have slowly been getting approval to expand that network.  Then there is  the renegade unapproved trails like Xanadu and Tres Hombres.   Despite riding every year in Leavenworth we have always shied away from Xanadu due to it's reputation of being a little burly.  Well today with funky weather we checked it out.  It runs along the spine of a ridge through a burned out forest, so the soil should get enough sun and wind to dry out.   The pedal starts up Derby Canyon Rd, then hooks left onto a gated logging road that is a little more trail like.   The trail itself drops down the ridgeline with banked corners and a couple sections of steep slickrock and trail.  Overall trail is fairly rideable, but due to lots of use and not enough trail work it has a lot of braking bumps.  Since the loop is only about 6 miles we hopped in the car at the finish and relocated to the Ski Hill parking area in Leavenworth.   With soils getting dryer the Rosy Boa loop was great.   The climb trail is sweet, followed by the roller coaster downhill of Rosy Boa then finished on 4 The Boys.    Definitely enjoyed Rosy Boa better than Xanadu, but glad we finally ticked off Xanadu.   This was a good way to combine two rides that alone are not very long. 

Francine still on her bike

Trail 2 - Bike shot on Rosy Boa, Leavenworth Wa.
Francine on Rosy Boa

Oct. 17, 2018 Miller Peak Loop

Always a favorite ride.  Took John Misuradze with me and got in a good ride.   Trail conditions were great overall.  Ride took a little longer with John.  It's full concentration for like 80 percent of the ride.  Lack of concentration could involve falling down a hillside that was extremely steep.   While the riding wasn't  as technical as my last loop in the Teanaway, the consequences of making a mistake could be quite high.   I noticed on Iron Bear trail that my rear brake was disappearing.  I took a quick look and did not see any issues. I rode down Iron Bear a little more slowly with front brake only.  At the Miller peak trailhead, I adjusted the rear brake and it seemed okay.  It wasn't till the end of our loop that the brakes faded away again.  Looks like lack of brake fluid change was resulting in the brake fluid overheating and the rear brake not functioning.   I went light with the rear and managed to keep the heat down.   Beautiful ride, took us about four and half hours.

Teanaway ridge trail

Final ridge line to the summit

John near the summit 6'400 feet.   Fuel injected bike that John
just set on ground for no better place to park.  He was at his summit.

Heading down, Miller Peak in the background

Last big hill climb of the day

October 8, Sun Mountain, New Trails!

Hooked up with Don and Val Hecker to get a tour of the new trails built this summer at Sun Mountain in Winthrop, Wa.   Both Don and Val had volunteered time working on the two new trails.  From Chikadee parking lot there is now great trail that climbs up to the ridge.  Previously getting that high involved taking the gravel road.   We started on Criss-Cross then headed up and West on a new trail that hasn't been completed.  It's in great shape though and looking forward to it's completion.   Good out and back.   Then we caught the new, this spring, trail up to Pete's Dragon.  From there it was all downhill.   Great new trails and fun to hook up with the Heckers.



Map shows our first half of ride. 

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Oct 13, Sage Hills

Cheated and drove uo the upper trailhead.  Tight trail.

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Oct 10, Teanaway

Finally rode out further in the Teanaway.  Great challenging loop with Erik Hotchkiss and John Misuradze.

Erik keeping an eye out for bucks


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Tight switchback!



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