Friday, February 4, 2011

GB6K's State of Bromace Address

Who would have thought that bromance would be so easy to find in Washington. Christ, when it comes to wintertime brotherly love this state might as well be the Phili of the West.

Skier Boyz mobile recruitment division has had steady business since finally making it back to the west coast. Having spent December helping a friend with a family Business ( then spent the beginning of January in Wisco making delicious food for my family and catching up with those important folks that I see all too rarely, I made my way back west to the mountains.

Through Outdoor Research I connected with Jason Hummel, (a TR with Jason’s Photos can be read at: a photographer who has spent his entire life here in the Cascades. He, Adam Roberts, and I connected within days of my return and headed up to the Winchester Lookout for a shot at Mt. Larrabee. This little lookout is pretty picturesque and in the summer time is a short hike from Twin Lakes. In the winter the 8 mile road to Twin Lakes is closed and you have to skin, hike, or…snow machine to the end of the road. We were lucky enough to have the help of Roy, a local ripper from Glacier, and his old (1985) and small (500cc) snow machine to shuttle 6.5 of the 8 miles up the trail. From there it was pretty painless trail breaking to the lakes and then the hut. The weather was beautiful, the clouds going in and out and we made the hut just about sunset. Perfect.

Hummel saddling up for a tow.

Touch of Blue from Twin Lakes.

Mt. Larrabee. Ascent route/1st day's descent in the sun,
and the 2nd day's descent in the shade.

Looking out towards Canada. Larrabee in the foreground
American Border Peak and Canadian Border Peak just behind.

The next day we climbed Larrabee. The breakable crust was so thick I thought I was skiing Superior with the Beattie Twins, but as we climbed it got (slightly) better. We found ourselves on the summit with pretty low visibility and waning hours, the result of the incoming clouds and a late start. We skied our ascented route and made it back to the Lookout before dark to find five more people had made the 8-mile trek in from 542. How bromantic.

Booter to the summit, Day 1.

The right lighting shows the glaze.

After an evening of swapping stories and making dinner we went to bed and woke to clear skies. It was time to ski something more aesthetic. We had been staring at the SE face of Larrabee since we got to the Lookout. There is a lot of ice in the middle most of the way across the face. The lookers right seemed to be the best bet. Two others had started a couple hours before us up our track from the day before. We caught them at the summit and they decided not to ski their central line (of course) and to ski the line we had been considering. Fortunately their tracks broke some of the crust and made the couloir actually enjoyable to ski.

Up to the choke. Day 2, on the SE Face.

Down to the apron. Day 2, on the SE Face.

We headed back to the Lookout and packed up, headed down to the road and made quick work of the trip back to the car. I was pretty happy to have this as my first tour of the season.

Parting shot.
An objective for next time.

GB6K, out.

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