Last Updated: April 11, 2014
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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dolomiti Snowboarding, Dec-Jan '13/14

Eleven days chasing Dolomites pow...
Panorama of the Sella Group with Piz Boe at top (right of center). Pordoi Pass at far left.


View from Buffaure Ski Area looking northwest in the direction of the Otztal Alps. The infamous iceman, on display in Bolzano was located somewhere in this area.


Taking in the view from near Passo Padon (looking north) with peaks on the Italy-Austria border visible in distance.


Fresh tracks descending from Col Rodella down into the Fassa Valley, ending finally in the town of Campitello.


Buffaure's Orsa Maggiore lift with peaks of the Rosengarten/Catinaccio Group visible at left.


Panorama looking east from Col Rodella with Sass Pordoi at left and Marmolada at right.


Getting ready for the ride down from a summit between Ciampac and Buffaure ski areas.

Related:

Reports/Photos
Winter 11/12 - here.
Winter 09/10 - here.
Winter 07/08 - here.

Photo album
The early years - here.

Videos
Dolomites (Return To), Winter 03/04 (video - 17.8MB/9.32min)
Dolomites "Fuori Pista", Winter 05/06 (video - 42.6MB/11.46min)

Friday, March 21, 2013

Mount Aix - Mount Aix Trail, October 2013



Seemingly out of place for this part of the southern Washington Cascades, 7766-ft Mount Aix is a prominent peak well east of the Cascade Crest with excellent 360 degree views that include Rainier, Adams, Goat Rocks and the Stuart Range. Approached via the Mount Aix Trail, it’s just a 12-mile hike (round-trip) with only a short bit of class 2/3 scrambling to reach the top. About a third of the route is on high ridges which are often frequented by mountain goats. The trail’s southwestern exposure makes it a great late-season venue after the first snow has claimed the more shaded north and east aspects. The neighboring peaks and bowls, including Aix itself also appear to offer excellent ski touring potential, was it not for seasonal pass closures making for a long drive from Seattle.




Friday, March 7, 2013

Mount Angeles - Route 1 (via Klahhane Ridge), October 2013



Clearly visible from Highway 101 between Sequim and Port Angeles, and from Victoria, BC not 30 miles to the north across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Mount Angeles is a popular day-trip with impressive views of the Olympus massif, Bailey Range, and southern tip of Vancouver Island. Approached from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center via the Klahhane Ridge Trail, it’s a mere 4 miles and ~2000 feet of absolute gain to reach the summit. Taking a left after about 2 miles onto the unsigned Mount Angeles Climbers' Trail, the route switchbacks to reach a talus bench and from where a final crappy chute leads to the top. For extra credit, I traversed the crest to the east summit before descending back to the Klahhane Ridge Trail at a broad saddle high above Lake Angeles. I had designs on the peak at the extreme east-end of Klahhane Ridge, but my desire for it quickly vanished upon reaching the end of the established ridge trail. All-in-all, Mt. Angeles makes for an enjoyably casual outing; the ideal venue for escaping the lowland fog that blanketed much of the Puget Sound basin for several weeks this past October.




Tuesday, February 18, 2013

Crown Mountain - Crown Mtn trail, October 2013

Tucked away amongst the low peaks just beyond the Grouse Mountain ski area, Crown Mountain is a deservedly popular day-hike with spectacular views overlooking the Lower Mainland. From Grouse proper, the approach entails a relatively short trail hike, with just a smidge of class-3 scrambling near the very end. For the lazy, the Grouse Mountain Tram saves about 2900-ft of gain starting from near the end of Capilano Road, or you can get your sweat-on and hike the relentless Grouse Grind stair-master instead. Whatever you do, a stop at the Peak Chalet for a quaff before taking the tram back down is practically mandatory, and you’ll still please the in-laws with an early return in good time for Thanksgiving dinner!






Friday, February 7, 2013

Mount Cruiser - South Corner, September 2013



In a range known for loose rock, Mt. Cruiser joins maybe a handful of other Olympic peaks that offer easy but fun climbing on reasonably solid rock. Approached via Mildred Lakes, Cruiser’s popular South Corner route entails just 3 short pitches - a steep 4th-class chimney, a run-out 5.0 slab/face and finally the exposed ridge crest to the summit. All this can be enjoyed only after 4.5 miles of winding, rooted trail with bad-tempered hornets, a steep, and tedious bushwhack and some footsore side-hilling to boot.

Arriving at the trailhead late in the afternoon, Eli and I reached the lower lake basin at dusk and stumbled around in the dark before locating a suitable camp spot next to another party along the SW shore of the middle lake. Leaving the trail just shy of uppermost-Mildred Lake the following morning, we thrashed through brush heading in a northerly direction. We were aiming for a prominent swath of grass and low vegetation we spied earlier that morning. The swath seemed to offer the easiest route to the upper basin west of Cruiser proper. From there, we angled leftwards over heather, talus and gravel to reach the apron beneath a prominent ‘Y’ chimney.

After a cruxy step in the lower chimney, we scrambled up the left ‘Y’ branch ending with a tight squeeze under a chockstone. The chimney business now behind us, we turned right and walked a short distance to the base of the slab. Stepping out off the platform onto the slab felt a bit committing and is probably the most difficult move of the pitch. Climbing up, I clipped a couple manky bolts and that was pretty much it for pro. I stopped to set up a belay at the newer bolted rappel station near the crest and brought up Eli. From there we simul-climbed the remaining bit to the summit using slung horns and a rusty bolt or two for protection. The summit isn’t a particularly comfortable place to hang out, so we had a quick look around, snapped some photos and started back down.

My camera fell out of my pocket while rappelling down the slab pitch and disappeared somewhere in the bushes or talus below, never to be seen again. Eli started taking photos only after this happened, so unfortunately no snaps of us on route. And what about those hornets you ask? Suffice it to say, they really took a liking to me on the hike down from the lakes. I tried outrunning them after the third or fourth sting and promptly tripped on a tree root protruding from a particularly steep section of trail. My ‘swan dive’ and subsequent tumble was halted only when I narrowly avoided face-planting a tree and slammed into it with my pack instead. The hornets seemed satisfied with this performance and graciously left me to nurse my bloodied knees and wounded pride. Thankfully the rest of the hike down that damned trail went without further issues. Goodbye and good riddance!




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