Into the backcountry: Stevens Pass & Tye Peak

This morning we headed up to Stevens Pass to meet up with a bunch of locals, all keen to get into backcountry and ski some fresh tracks.

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It was around 930 by the time that Craig had made his way over from West and that MJ and Becky, two ski patrol friends of Woody had joined us. With Andy Dappen, a local backcountry enthusiast and keen blogger making up the group we were ready to get moving.

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There was a heavy mist lingering amongst the timberline as we made started skinning our tracks through the heavy snow-laden pines. Beneath us, foot upon foot of dense snow thickly carpeted the cascade forests. We had just ourselves for company, on the opposite side of the valley we could still make out the pisted runs of Stevens Pass but today was all about heading away from the boundaries. Our beacons were on our shovels packed.

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It took over an hour to reach the first summit, a snowy prominence adorned with pines heaving under the weight of snow at the top of Skyline Ridge, Blue Jays Immediately appeared, keen to any remnance of food and with apparently no fear, as they swooped into your hand to collect a prized snack.

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From here we dropped down brought scattered trees into a deep snowy bowl, seconds of fun from hours of work before the ravine once again blocked our way and marked the start of our new rising traverse up to the crested ridge of Tye Peak (5476ft). We switched turns as we gained height, side-stepping to gain the wind crusted crest itself before it flattened out into a broad shoulder. Above 5’500ft the panorama began to open up. Through the distant mist, Mount Stewart, The Enchatments and Rock Peak could all be made out.

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From the top we retraced our tracks for a few metres to avoid the worst of the windslab, before turning down the fall line, arching tracks descending back down to the timberline. Before we knew it we were amongst the trees again, survival skiing at its finest as made slowly made our way down towards the narrow valley floor of Nason Creek.

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About Richard Talbot

An accomplished fell-runner as well as being a keen climber and mountaineer. Since 2005 he has worked for the UK based manufacturer Mountain Equipment and is currently Director of Product. He has worked in the outdoor industry for over 15 years.
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