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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Seattle/Chamonix
    Posts
    67

    Talking TR: NW Couloir of Mt. Shuksan

    It has been FIRING the last month in Washington as you may have known. Mt. Baker has the second largest snowpack in the world right now at 157.9 inches, not very surprising, right? After the entire Mt. Baker ski area closed for 3 days during the snowpocalypse we've had epic blue-bird days for the past week or so. I taught a backcountry splitboard course through AAI last weekend in Mt. Baker's backcountry and was tormented, looking up at Mt. Shuksan for three days straight. The NW Courloir was looking so irresistible with the stable snowpack we've had with only further stability projected. I was hoping to get up there before the weather/stability shifted or I'd surely loose my mind!

    What I had to look at for 3 days:


    Here's a zoomed in shot of the route from the BD website. The NW couloir is a 50 degree, super exposed line. It starts with the blind roll-over at the top which can be pretty intimidating, then you get to the choke which is a short section of 50 degrees. At the base of the choke you make a sketchy exposed skiers left traverse, above some cliffs, out of the couloir onto the face. After this you enjoy a steep slide down 2,500 +/-, which gradually turns into a less gripped free-riding frenzy down to the Salmon Creek drainage. We shredded from the col at the top of the Crystal Glacier at about 8,600ft down to Salmon Creek drainage at 3,000ft. Making this about a 5,600 ft line! STOKED!


    Blaine and Rhett, Pro patrol watch out! We left Bham at 2:45am, leaving the Mt. Baker parking lot at 4:45am. None of us had been up Shuksan before so we were playing it safe time-wise. A 4:45am departure proved to be more than enough time.


    Sunrise on the skin up the White Salmon Glacier.


    Mt. Baker at sunrise, so epic!


    Me at our high point and the only sun we enjoyed the whole climb/descent. Shuksan summit pyramid behind me.


    Rhett dropping. Since none of us had been on Shuksan or knew exactly where the entrance to the NW Couloir was, we dropped in far skiers right against the rocks in a well defined steep couloir. We descended about 400 ft when it turned to blue ice and cliffed out right above the NW Couloir. We could see down the entire line but there was no way to get down safely with 4,000 feet exposure below. I anchored myself into the blue ice, carefully changed over to crampons and we all hiked out. When we dropped in again we stayed more skiers left and dropped over the blind roll-over to a steep face with no crevasses that led directly to the entrance of the couloir. Ya live and learn...


    Blaine jump-turing in the choke the traverse below.




    So stoked to be done with crux and heel side traverse, I put my axe away and we prepare for shred.




    Steep, kind of scary but the snow was firm and edge-able pow the entire way. It got a little variable towards the bottom of the face but soon after turned to fluffy goodness.


    We began hiking out of the drainage at 1:30pm, had a 700ft climb then skin/ski back a cat-track to the White Salmon Lodge. Plenty of time for champagne in the parking lot staring up at Shuksan as the sun went down. Good times had by all! Thanks Blaine and Rhett for a great day!
    Last edited by BettyDee; 01-03-2013 at 10:05 PM.
    www.lizdaley.us
    @liz_daley

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Uber Alles California
    Posts
    3,582
    Sick!! I never had the balls to do that, mad props!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Up North
    Posts
    944
    looks amazing

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Southern NH
    Posts
    4,185
    Sweetness! Need to find a job in Seattle! Who's hiring? I want that as my playground. Damn. Time to go play on our EC version - George, . . . I hear you calling!

    Stoke delivered!
    The Passion is in the Risk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    The Flatlands
    Posts
    2,321
    Bad ass. Way to get after it!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Boulder County
    Posts
    68
    Dayum! Very impressive.
    Not done with my drink til I've crunched all the ice

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    E >>> W
    Posts
    4,178
    Nice work!!!
    Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Natures peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn. - John Muir

    "How long can it last? For fuck sake this isn't heroin -
    suck it up princess" - XXX on getting off mj

    “This is infinity here,” he said. “It could be infinity. We don’t really don’t know. But it could be. It has to be something — but it could be infinity, right?” - Trump, on the vastness of space, man

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Hurrakin
    Posts
    1,968
    Ballerz! I mean,uh, strong work there Betty.
    Did the last unsatisfied fat soccer mom you took to your mom's basement call you a fascist? -irul&ublo
    Don't Taze me bro.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    1,481
    Thanks for the stoke. Makes me want to go back up 542 again soon.

    Love this shot
    I wear crocs for the style, not the comfort.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    345
    Go Liz! Good work!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    NorCal
    Posts
    2,507
    This is awesome. Nice TR.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    The Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    483
    Amazing, strong work. Thanks for sharing.
    Makes my middle-aged knackers shrivel just looking at that shit.

    We saw some folks hitting that line last spring...since then, I've been staring up there and pondering route-selection, etc.
    Your photos and narrative put it into perspective. Just WOW.

    Mad props to you and your crew.


    .
    Enjoy Every Sandwich - Warren Zevon

    .

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Golden, CO
    Posts
    1,063
    Nice line and beautiful pics. Thanks!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Portland
    Posts
    263
    Fantastic. Seattle is looking better and better...
    Sent from my Timex Sinclair using TGR Forums

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    below the Broads Fork Twins
    Posts
    5,822
    Very cool TR and pics!
    Success has many fathers, while failure remains an orphan // Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after - HDT

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    tahoe
    Posts
    2,377
    attaboy girl!!!!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    on tha eastside
    Posts
    209
    Baller! Looks like a real fun line!

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    JH/AK/Los Andes
    Posts
    2,686
    Nice line girl!
    "The idea wasnt for me, that I would be the only one that would ever do this. My idea was that everybody should be doing this. At the time nobody was, but this was something thats too much fun to pass up." -Briggs
    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    Wear your climbing harness. Attach a big anodized locker to your belay loop so its in prime position to hit your nuts. Double russian Ti icescrews on your side loops positioned for maximal anal rape when you sit down. Then everyone will know your radness
    More stoke, less shit.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    straight out the nickel & dime
    Posts
    1,209
    Bold work!!
    imz-design
    industrial design • new product development
    http://www.imz-design.com/

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    coloRADo
    Posts
    2,115
    Great. Now my day's skinning accomplishment has been reduced to shit. Fuckin gnarly line, nice job! Jealous as fuck.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Gates of Hell
    Posts
    4,423
    Most excellent stoke. Thanks for sharing!
    Going where the wind don't blow so strange
    Maybe on some high cold mountain range

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    In the swamp
    Posts
    4,587
    Freaking sick

  23. #23
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    pdx
    Posts
    7,667
    Thanks for sharing that! That was awesome!

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Behind the Potato Curtain
    Posts
    2,912
    So rad, those shots for sure belong in the entrance pic thread.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Pleasuretown
    Posts
    1,100
    Nice work. And if I'm doing my math right, you made pretty good time.

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