24-26 Jan 2014 Mt Formidable and S Loop tour

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24-26 Jan 2014 Mt Formidable and S Loop tour

Post by E_$ » Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:20 pm

esvege and I enjoyed excellent travel and often-enjoyable ski conditions this last weekend, generally south of Cascade Pass. 

We approached Friday, parked at the Eldo lot and a pass and a col later, camped near Art's Knoll; a couple brief runs of corn in between.

On Saturday we climbed and skied a few different aspects on Mt Formidable (the NW face was--as we feared--too firm for a complete, or an enjoyable, or a completely enjoyable descent).  The main line: the N-facing Formidable glacier that drops ~2500' from E of the summit to the Middle Cascade Gl.  A spectacular ski run in a spectacular spot!  The snow was actually surprisingly good.  Only one crevasse crossing up high gave us pause; this should fill in soon. 

Main event

Side trip

We topped the fine tour with beers and whiskey.  Saturday night was still and beautiful, surreal stars accompanied by similarly surreal sounds of rime shedding over rocks and ice down the walls of Hurry-up and Art's Knoll, which formed an ampitheatre of sorts.

S-loop Sunday: quickly booted to the notch between Hurry-up and Art's Knoll, brief sun-softened ski to the base of Plan B couloir, climbed that rig in pleasant conditions, and relaxed for a bit on Hurry-up's summit.  Then skied the S Glacier's often-creamy windboard, another long run.

Spider from base of Hurry-up's Plan B

esvege climbs Plan B

Formidable from summit Hurry-up

esvege sniffs out good snow on the S Glacier (center speck)

I benefit from his snowknows

Traversed the basin a ways (Trapper lake below), finally got to put some skins on to climb to the head of the Yawning Glacier.  (Recollection compels mention: this tour is incredibly scenic, my eye and camera couldn't adequately capture the expanse of mountains replete with climb/ski lines.)  Found some powder (!) on the Yawning, then climbed out of cold-sink Pelton Basin (an avy had run from Mixup across the basin and up the other side a little bit) to Cascade Pass and home.

If you look through the pics here you'll see a whole lot of cramponing--for this trip anyway, ski is the adjective, mountaineering is the noun.

Our list of potential lines included the more westerly of the N-facing shots on Spider (the one Sky pioneered), but the 'schrund was gapetastic.  A zone of beauty; good place to spend a spell in the mountains and get energized.

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Re: 24-26 Jan 2014 Mt Formidable and S Loop tour

Post by ziff » Wed Jan 29, 2014 11:28 pm

wow! I was there this summer and hope to get back this winter - I was also in awe of all of the skiing potential and beauty back there. thanks for the TR and kudos for getting out there so early in the year.

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Re: 24-26 Jan 2014 Mt Formidable and S Loop tour

Post by skykilo » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:11 pm

That's a prime North Cascades fun zone, there.

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Re: 24-26 Jan 2014 Mt Formidable and S Loop tour

Post by DonJuanPakistan » Sat Feb 01, 2014 8:16 am

The vortex. I can feel it.

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