Dunite Couloir: Ultramafic uplift in the name of freeride.

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DonJuanPakistan
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Dunite Couloir: Ultramafic uplift in the name of freeride.

Post by DonJuanPakistan » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:09 pm

We spent three summery days on the Washington coast. Calm, glassy seas and warm sunsets, dinner by the campfire.

Curvy roads through temperate rain forests lead us back across the Olympic Peninsula towards the ferry that would take us home to Seattle. Near Sequim, on Washington's north coast, views into the Cascades would flash through windows in the passing walls of trees.

Three Fingers and White Horse stood out, completely draped in white down the foothills. To the north of the Skagit valley, Mt. Baker and the Sisters Range beckoned as well.


... Another Scurlock photo, another ski descent. ...

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On prior visits to the summit of the North Twin Sister, I thought I saw snow ramps connecting to this beauty couloir on the back (S-SW side) of the peak. Although in the Scurlock image it seemed improbable, the photo was from March 2005, a notorious low-snow year.

I called Louie Dawson, who I hadn't met or skied with yet, and he was keen. I had high hopes we'd ski in without abseiling, but we decided to bring a 30m, a tag line, some tat and a pair of nuts just in case. I met Louie in Deming. A classic Washington phenomenon: Strangers meeting in an Indian Reservation gas station parking lot at 345am to load bikes and skis into a car and drive up a logging road.

Louie nears the top of the North Sister.
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In fact, the snow was in. We got up top nice an early (1020am), took one look at it, and skied in off the summit. Incredible, perfect, fun, awesome, corn down extreme steeps - a winding serpentine series of ramps and gullies which lead aesthetically into the main couloir. Its an interesting feeling in the mountains to be on a snow structure that you know is temporary.

Red dots mark where the ski line goes.
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About see around the corner and discover if it does or does not connect... (Louie pic)
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It goes! (Louie pic)
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Louie gets his shred on.
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We skied the remainder of the couloir hooting and hollering. I expected pockmarks and runnels, but it was surprisingly uniform and smooth. At the bottom, we discussed either exiting downhill to the west base of the range, and back around to the bikes, or up and over the col between the two Sisters, perhaps having a look at the NE Face of the South Sister.

In the end, since it was breezy, early, and partly cloudy, we decided temps were low enough to head right back up the couloir to re-summit the North Sister. Cruiser booting back up had us on top again in no time, and we clicked in and skied the North Face.

Off the summit again, this time down the other side.
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Managable wet slides on the upper face, surfy corn out the bottom.
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Louie wears strictly khaki colors, so I could only really get pictures of him when his gear was showing.
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Back at the car at 220pm, I drove back to Seattle for a friend's birthday party, though I did have the strong urge to bum a guest meal at the Western student cafeteria and cruise for coeds at a local Bellingham beach.
Last edited by DonJuanPakistan on Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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skykilo
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Re: Dunite Couloir: Ultramafic uplift in the name of freerid

Post by skykilo » Mon Apr 29, 2013 1:03 pm

Stellar.

ryanl
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Re: Dunite Couloir: Ultramafic uplift in the name of freerid

Post by ryanl » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:17 pm

DonJuanPakistan wrote:A classic Washington phenomenon: Strangers meeting in an Indian Reservation gas station parking lot at 345am to load bikes and skis into a car and drive up a logging road.
Hah. yes,i guess that might seem strange in some parts of the world.

Welcome home Drew. Great trip.

ziff
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Re: Dunite Couloir: Ultramafic uplift in the name of freerid

Post by ziff » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:17 am

Wow! Nicely done.

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Diamond Dachshund
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Re: Dunite Couloir: Ultramafic uplift in the name of freerid

Post by Diamond Dachshund » Wed May 01, 2013 10:00 am

Nuthin but net.

naomig
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Re: Dunite Couloir: Ultramafic uplift in the name of freerid

Post by naomig » Wed May 01, 2013 11:00 am

I'm gaping at your day.

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huevón
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Re: Dunite Couloir: Ultramafic uplift in the name of freerid

Post by huevón » Tue May 07, 2013 8:19 am

Neato, cool hidden gem of the Mount Baker wilderness.

I 'screwed around' on the North Twin Sister once when I was bumming around Bham, entering via the col between N and S peaks, and doing a little counter-clockwise circumnavigation to top out on the N face and [split]board down. I'm 95% sure I booted up the shorter couloir on the right in your pic and then kept going around. In hindsight I should've snaked yer line and then tried for the south peak. :x
Edit: not that I was ready for a pro line
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casruff
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Re: Dunite Couloir: Ultramafic uplift in the name of freerid

Post by casruff » Thu May 09, 2013 7:23 am

Now this trip is just plain rad. Drew, give a shout next time you are passing through Mount Vernon. I'll be out of commission for mountain fun for the next couple months due to new parenting obligations. However, I do know of some really good breweries with outdoor tasting rooms that I would be more than happy to show you.

Casey
206-356-4994

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