Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cole Creek Ski and 7+ Hours Pass Closure

  With all the recent snow and the heightened avalanche conditions that go along with it, I was challenged on what to do this week. I felt like other than running around Tiger Mt. the only other option was to do some low angled skiing. I am not very adept on skis so I do my best not to put myself in overly challenging positions. I decided that a long road ski was something that might pan out. I figured the road would be broken by snowmobiles which would make a nice base. I also knew that the snow would be coming down with purpose giving me something to smooth out the bumps.  The Cabin Creek Road was plowed to just before Monahan Road. The short ways to the end of the maintained road was topped with 6 inches of new snow. I plowed my way to the turnaround and carefully parked out of the way.

The Pup's leg is slowly mending but I added some extra insurance. Thankfully it seemed to help and stayed intact for the entire day.

The snow was really coming down as I started up the road. It is hard to believe but despite getting out a couple of time nearly every week this year this was the first time I had any snow fall on me.  I don't know much about snow conditions when relating them to skiing but the snow was sticky and I didn't get any slide whatsoever.  I was making good time despite of this. roughly the same speed I would have been doing walking. After a few miles I was passed by 3 snowmobilers making for an interesting situation. Since now the way was a deep trench I was able to get out of the track to allow easier passage. I however was not able to corral the dog. The first two were able to coax the dog enough to get passed, but the third had no such luck. The dog ran up the road after the first two. I was disconcerted with this, thinking I might have to keep going until I was able rejoin my wayward pup. Thankfully after a mile the dog came bounding back allaying my fears that I might have to put in an epic day. I always laugh when I run into snowmobilers on my trips. I tend to be well into my day and I always get the same funny looks. I can always imagine that they are thinking, how did he get so far in.... and then quickly followed by the Why? I was very happy when I reached the where the snowmobliers had stopped. It is always a moral victory when I can outlast them.  After reaching the area where they stopped the snow was at least a foot deep of very sticky snow. I started to get snow balling up on the bottom of the skis. The drill became, ski for a short ways and then stop and knock snow off the skis, and repeat. This became old quickly so I decided to stop. The slope was not steep enough to overcome the stickiness of the snow so I wasn't able to glide at all. Finally with about a mile to go the snow became slick enough that I could get some sliding in. Finally I regained the car and had a well deserved lunch. In retrospect I wished I would have eaten my lunch on the run since I was unable to make it past Easton before the pass was closed. I had no idea how long the pass would be closed so I got some coffee and parked for an hour. After becoming bored I decided to do some exploring in Easton. This also gave me some opportunities to see how the new Audi handles in the snow. I pushed it pretty hard and enjoyed it immensely. Not wanting to tempt fate I again parked and waited. After a couple of hours I made my way back into Easton and got some snacks. After about 4 hours WSDOT finally gave 10 pm as a tentative reopen time. Only 3.5 hours to go. Thankfully I was able to get enough phone connection to fill my time with updates to my family and using the internet. While for most people waiting 7.5 hours for the pass might be disappointing but for me it was a very memorable day. In the end , for me creating good memories is what life is all about. He who has the most stories in the end wins, in my humble opinion.

Approx 7.5 miles  4 hours car to car 1500' of climb 7.5 hours waiting in the car

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