Washington Pass — Crack of Afternoon

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 29, 2012      
Lou skiing near Washington Pass

Lou skiing near Washington Pass, Early Winters Spires to left, looking north at some of the Cascades, eventually going on into Canada. Click most images to enlarge.

Sandbagged by the locals again. When we packed for Cascadian ski mountaineering, no one told us to grab the chainsaw. Typical! Yet, not all was lost when we found the road to Cascade Pass blocked by blowdown. We turned around, drove to Washington Pass, and just did what the PNW residents told us to. Head for white stuff, don’t worry about starting at 2:00 P.M., and have fun.

Why is there never a chainsaw around when you need it?

Why is there never a chainsaw around when you need it? We considered trying the winch, but the way everything was laying together made doing so look like something for the Darwin Awards. As in, 'hey bubba, hold my beer and watch this...'

Only problem with the touring was somewhat scorching heat, but the views distracted.

Only problem with the touring was somewhat scorching heat, but the views distracted.



The skiing was a bit loose and slushy, but still fun when you're in a place like this.

The skiing was a bit loose and slushy, but still fun when you're in a place like this.

Louie about midway down, we're looking southeast here.

Louie about midway down, we're looking southeast here.

We had snow from our tailgate, I'm told this is one of the few places in PNW where you get that this late in the season.

We had snow from our tailgate, I'm told this is one of the few places in PNW where you get that this late in the season.

Loving having our camper at the trailheads, and the sunshine napping was tested by Louie.

Loving having our camper at the trailheads -- sunshine napping was tested and approved by Louie.

Map below shows the region we were in, tour we did goes up valley southerly from the southern loop of Highway 20, next to Early Winters Spires. (The map may indicate we went to the crest of the ridge, but we actually stopped below what looked like a 4th or 5th class scramble to the top. Apologies to locals if I got any place names messed up. Corrections and additions appreciated.

[googlemap width=”525″ height=”350″ src= “https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=207386974612227469344.0004c3a0e1352c54d79be&msa=0&ll=48.503071,-120.630226&spn=0.026729,0.055189”]


15 Responses to “Washington Pass — Crack of Afternoon”

  1. Lisa June 29th, 2012 3:58 pm

    Another awesome day in the PNW. I love this place!

  2. Gerald June 29th, 2012 4:06 pm

    Why are you people skiing in June while I’m reading about it on a monitor?

  3. Lou June 29th, 2012 4:37 pm

    Gerald, because we are WildSnow.com and we know no summer. Or something like that, anyway (grin)

  4. Lou June 29th, 2012 4:40 pm

    One has to wonder, how is Google contextually picking an ADHD drug ad to go in our upper right sidebar? Do they know something we don”t? Time to figure Google is in decline? Hint that Lou should sell some relevant advertising for that space? Ideas?

  5. Scott Nelson June 29th, 2012 7:48 pm

    Looks like the perfect vehicle for what you guys are doing. Looks a nice trip so far. I think you need a satellite office in the PNW, and a new office manager, uh, namely me (grin)…

  6. Eric June 29th, 2012 10:34 pm

    Guys, as I’m sure Louie knows the route to do is the “Birthday Tour” which starts at the blue lake trail, and goes down the route you skied, ending at that hairpin turn. Ideally done with two cars (or hitchhiking). Probably going to head up there Monday.

    Welcome back to the northwest.

  7. Xavier June 29th, 2012 11:21 pm

    Places where you can skin from your car in WA right now.
    WA pass…check
    Chinook pass.
    Sunrise, MRNP( opened today)
    Paradise, MRNP
    Reflection Lake, Tatoosh Range, MRNP

    I’m sure there are others.

    I would recommend Sunrise Lou, the views of Rainier and the skiing from Sunrise is pretty darn good.

  8. Lou June 30th, 2012 8:43 am

    Eric, yeah, Louie mentioned that. An up-and-back was more appropriate after we’d been delayed by the tree on the road, plus, we weren’t sure where we’d have to go to boots on dirt mode. A few knee issues in the family that do much better when we can stay on skis… Lou

  9. Lou June 30th, 2012 8:51 am

    Xavier, thanks!

  10. Lou June 30th, 2012 8:54 am

    Scott, that’s a good idea, start planning (grin).

  11. Steve June 30th, 2012 10:49 pm

    Lou, come on down and grab my saw in Mazama If you’re still on the East Side. You can leave it with Louie and I’ll get it later. Not only does it help with road blockage, but you can fire it up at any campground in WA until 9pm and cut your own wood, but you need a permit (very easily obtained). They want the deadfall off the ground in these parts and wood cutting is encouraged.

  12. Kathy July 2nd, 2012 9:13 am

    LOve these trip reports. The Cascades are the best!

  13. Jason Hummel July 2nd, 2012 9:57 am

    Awesome guys. Great place to ski. Ha. I’ve had that happen to me on the cascade river road before too. Unfortunately my day ended lost in the forest in a Whiteout somewhere below Pyramid Peak (on hwy 20). You guys got a way better deal! Way to get up here and enjoy the skiing. This week it appears like good weather is FINALLY coming. Yay!

  14. Bill July 2nd, 2012 11:13 am

    Another great blog Lou.
    Hey, do you have any tricks for keeping your feet dryer in TLT5’s
    I noticed in wet conditions a moisture gets thru pretty easy.

  15. Lou July 2nd, 2012 11:30 am

    Bill, I tested the TLT5 in a tray of water to see just how much they leaked. Photos of that on previous review. They didn’t leak as much as I expected, but yes, as soon as the water get up around the tongue attachment area they tend to seep more than some other boots. Still, I think part of the reason they feel wetter is just that the reduced volume makes them sweat up faster… In terms of tips, I’ve done nothing to waterproof mine, but you could apply some duct tape over the rivet heads on the inside, and perhaps do something under the lower tongue area. Probably easier just to carry a dry pair of socks. They don’t ski anything remotely like the Cascades in central Europe, so they don’t even know what you guys deal with in terms of moisture, as in, the foot “trail” up the stream bed (grin). Lou

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  Your Comments

  • See: I've been skiing 2014 Megawatts at the resort quite happily, and the previo...
  • Kevin Sweeney: Thanks Lou! I had cross-threaded one of the barrels, luckily your tip with ...
  • Aaron Schorsch: Any input on the durability of the 2013 Carbon megawatts (white patern)? I...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Ok Dabe, fair enough. I'm totally open to TR2 gaining popularity. In the en...
  • Dabe: Lou, I listed the categories that the TR2 outperforms its immediate competi...
  • Rar0: Toured the Scott superguide 88 this year and completely agree with this rev...
  • Shane: Adventure tours with less than optimal skiing conditions are my standard so...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Thanks Marc, I should have included that... forbidden knowledge and all tha...
  • Marc: Ok,in the Tecton First Look you wrote 80g per brake. Thx...
  • Marc: Sorry if you have covered this before...how much weight is saved by removin...
  • Frame: Look like good ski's. Will we get a tour of the ute/camper at some point to...
  • Louie III: Tabke, the Tecton has a narrow heel cup (they call it the "power cup"), but...
  • Geewilligers: @skialper Is there any way to get your normal course issues here in the ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Made some edits, turns out both jackets have what they call 700 fill down, ...
  • Allan: Lou, Thanks for adding the dimensions. They are the same profile as the Sup...
  • See: Come to think of it, the Ultra Vectors are about the same weight as my old ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Apologies for not including more about the Ultra Vector dimensions. I added...
  • Nate Porter: And the whole line goes back to black bases next season. Yeah!...
  • See: 185. Old skis are carbon Justice. Also really nice....
  • Allan: What size 108's do you have? I just bought the Superguide 105's. ? They sho...
  • See: I’m liking the 108’s a lot. I haven’t been touring on them, but they weigh ...
  • Allan: I'd bet the dimensions will be like the V8 and V6 with more side cut and a ...
  • See: I’m partial to alpine skis that tour, but 1587g for a 95 x 177 with “supple...
  • Doug: I wonder how the dimensions will compare to the vectors? It's hard to tell ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hi Herb, that used to be here: https://www.wildsnow.com/more/backcountry...
  • Herb Jones: Hey Lou, where on this site are all those fantastic boot dimension measurem...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Good to hear Skafti, isn't there some kind of McMaster equivalent for Canad...
  • Thom Mackris: Nice write-up, Lou. ... Thom...
  • Skafti: Thanks Lou - was more referring to if the shell thicknesses were the same. ...
  • Skafti: Any update on if this will work with the Dynafit Mercury?...

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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