Since the traverse was supposed to be an 8 hour, 10 mile climb/tour with some downhill in between, Tam and I opted to do laps on Copper while Dylan, John and Mariel (John's daughter) did the traverse. The three of them were off at 8:30 Saturday morning with clear skies and the temperature hovering around 5 degrees.
Tam and I spent a little time sitting in the car, eating turnovers and drinking tea, hoping for the temperatures to warm up some. Even though the temps hadn't increased much, once the sun hit us, it was time to put the skis on and start up the trail.
|Tam with the summit of Copper Mountain above her|
As you can see, the weather was so bad that we had to put on caps to keep the sun off of our foreheads! On the way up, Tam asked if the 8966 foot summit was, "imperative." My answer was, "Of course!" Her next comment was that she wouldn't have another lap in her if we kept going up.
So we opted to get off of the sun baked snow and head down a NE facing slope. The snow was a mixture of sun crust and mashed potatoes and we struggled for some good turns for several hundred feet before traversing back to the Lunch Counter.
Here we stopped for a bit longer, eating, gawking, and enjoying the weather before we started up again. This time we didn't talk about the summit, we just went for it.
|Tam contemplating the summit|
|The Sawtooths from Copper Mountain|
|John getting some turns|
That evening we all enjoyed burgers at Bridge Street and then a great soak in a hot springs before calling it a day.
We woke Sunday morning to 3-4" of fresh powder and were all jazzed to get back up there. We left the car around 9AM for a repeat trip up Copper. The weather was a mixture of sun and clouds, with a whisper of wind. Temps were a little warmer, around 15 or so.
We made good time up to the Lunch Counter, where again we stopped for a quick bite before heading on to the summit.
|Mariel heading up|
The sun and clouds provided a great backdrop for some skinning photos. As usual I was bringing up the rear.
Once on the summit, where there was surprisingly little wind, we again enjoyed astounding views.
|Mariel pointing out FD Bowl to Dad.|
This time around the snow had a thin layer (2-3") of powder over the sun baked crust from yesterday. It made for pretty good skiing as we all carved down the south face into the trees. We then put the skins on and headed back up.
At the halfway point to the summit our legs started complaining, so we shucked the skins and skied down the ridge.
|Tam blowing smoke|
|Mariel carving it up|
|Dylan jumping a pillow|
|Dylan enjoying the day|
With John leading the way, the trip back to the road was much easier than the one Tam and I did yesterday. In a short while we were sitting on John's tailgate enjoying an ice cold Rainier reminiscing about the weekend with big smiles on our faces.
What a weekend!
John's trip report: http://www.splattski.com/2013/copper/index.html
Stats (John and Tam)
Vertical: about 2500 feet each day
Distance skinned: about 2.5 miles each day
Tam's summits: 2!! (+/-5,000 calories burned)