Finally it’s corn season in the PNW! I haven’t been able to ski for the past few weeks, which turned out to be fine since it allowed time for the snow to transition to corn. Finally, this Thursday and Friday were my days.
Thursday morning I left Bellingham at 2:30 to ski the north face of Tricouni peak, across the valley from Whistler. Lee convinced me to stop in Squamish for a quick, greasy breakfast at McDonalds (this would come back to haunt me later in the day). The approach took longer than expected, so after hours of skinning up logging roads, we finally made it to the alpine. The heat was intense as we skinned toward the southern ridge of Tricouni. By the time we gained the ridge it was obvious the snow would warm up before we could get to the top. Tough to get the timing right, best to be cautious.
We ate some lunch and skied back down our up track. We decided to skin toward a saddle below the peak, so we could still ski down to Brew creek and make a loop out of the day. The heat was even more brutal as we skinned up the sun oven towards the col. We didn’t know what to expect on the other side. We found some tricky route finding through seracs and cliffs, ending on an endless expanse of avalanche debris. We finally made it back to the road and then back to the car.
I slept in until 6:30 the next morning, then rallied for sled assisted skiing on Mt. Baker. I’ve always looked with envy on the guys snowmobiling up the Easton glacier, and finally got the opportunity to join them. What little snowmobiling skills I have were rusty, which made for an interesting ride up the still icy glacier. Lets just say I’m glad I didn’t break anything (on the sled or myself).
We left one snowmobile halfway up the glacier, and took the other one to the crater. We booted for a few minutes, and traversed below the Roman Wall over to the Coleman-Deming Col, to start up towards Colfax peak. We got to the top and waited a while for the snow to soften, and then headed down the couloir. It was awesome skiing, with great views as well. We skinned up the rapidly warming Deming Glacier, and hung out at the crater for a while and enjoyed the views, before sledding down the glacier and back to the car.
It was great to get out for a few days and enjoy the ridiculously good spring season we’re having. Powder skiing is great, but it’s hard to beat smooth corn in the sun and ending the day with flip flops and beer.
Louie Dawson earned his Bachelor Degree in Industrial Design from Western Washington University in 2014. When he’s not skiing Mount Baker or somewhere equally as snowy, he’s thinking about new products to make ski mountaineering more fun and safe.