Fadgen's Adventures

Fadgen's Adventures
Green Creek Lake

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Copper Weekend

A couple of weeks ago during our avalanche awareness class with Sawtooth Mountain Guides, Tam and I talked about doing a ski weekend based in Stanley.  When John Platt brought up the idea of doing the Copper Mountain traverse this weekend, we jumped at the chance.

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
We progressed relatively quickly up the ridge trail, and after little over an hour stopped at the Lunch Counter for a quick bite to eat before continuing on up.

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
Along the way we spied some ski lines in a bowl across the valley that looked pretty good.  Unbeknownst to us, these were from the traverse group.

Soon enough we made it to the summit (Tam's first time!) and wandered around a bit trying to get out of the breeze that was now blowing and seeing if we could see John, Mariel, and Dylan.  After all, they were supposed to come up this way.

The Sawtooths from Copper Mountain
After standing around and enjoying the views for 15 minutes, we pulled our skins and headed down the south face.  The snow was a bit crusty on top, but silky smooth down below.  The sun had warm it up enough for some great turns.

John getting some turns
Once down in the trees, we had to find our way back to the car.  Let's just say that Tam's guide did not find the easy way out.  Luckily John and Dylan met us at the road and saved us a little bit of a walk.  As it turned out, their guide got them a little off-trail and they didn't complete the traverse and had beaten us back to the car by an hour

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!

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)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Jughandle Mountain - 8340 feet

John leading the way with Jughandle to the left
Yesterday Ralph Shelton, Chris Reedy and I met John Platt at Lake Fork for a little ski tour up Jughandle Mountain.  We travelled a little over four miles from the trail head to the summit at 8340 feet.  As you can see from the pictures the weather was absolutely fantastic!

Heading up in the sunshine
John, Chris, and Ralph preparing for the first run
Some of the turns
We did a couple of laps on some low angle terrain at both Jughandle and another area to the right called Ladybug.  The snow was fantastic, varying between light sun crust up top to silky smooth powder down lower.  Our timing was perfect as the sun is really starting to warm the area up.

Another great day to be in the mountains in the winter!

Just poached this video of me off of John's website:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHKeN3WfvFU&feature=player_embedded

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A team of adventurers consisting of John, Tamara, Taylor, Dylan, and Shadow Fadgen