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The Climbing Club • View topic - Elfin Lakes 7-8 March 2009

The Climbing Club

at the University of Washington
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:29 am 
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Location: Fremont
Valerie and I decided that given the forecast which got progressively sunnier and less Pacific-Northwesty as you looked from south to north that we would forego our planned Nooksack traverse and head up to Garibaldi instead. I didn't realize this at the time, but would later learn that this was my last chance in the "prove that skiing doesn't suck before I sell my Dynafits" series of backcountry outings (recall Little Tahoma anyone?). We left from Bellingham a bit before 7 on Saturday morning and made good time across the border, bad time through Vancouver and after a brief stop to buy much-needed chains in Squamish, were at the trailhead probably a bout 10 or 10:30. Light snow and a bit brisk on the skin-in, but perfect snow conditions everywhere. We got a nice gladed run down Columnar in shin deep powder in the open with a bit of a drip-formed crust underneath that in the trees, playing it safe due to a very gloom and doom avy forecast (CAC red for above treeline) and witnessed some incredible sky fireworks on the skin back to the shelter. Sunday morning, we were out of the hut by 10 after a leisurely breakfast and lost hour bound for the Gargoyles saddle for a fantastic, albeit disorienting run down completely untracked, again about shin deep powder. A few natural slides (given the aspect looking like wind slabs) could be seen across the valley toward that big hairy SOB Atwell Peak. Skinned out in flurries, grabbed shitty coffee in Squamish (apparently when you want a mocha there you order a "mocha latte" unless you want coffee with a little Hershey's syrup in it), and stopped at Chuckanut Brewery in Bellingham for dinner, which needs to become a standard from the north. Take the Lakeway Dr exit off 5, follow it until it turns into Holly and the brewery is a few miles down on the left. Photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/nak0959/Elf ... March2009# as usual.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:05 am 
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Alpine Slogger
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Location: Too far from a summit
Looks like fun. So does this mean that you sold your Dynafits? Going to spend your time hucking on the Dukes now?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 10:58 am 
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Raging Alpoholic
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I'm going to stick it out with the Dynafits and with backcountry skiing. I am finally seeing a little improvement, and having a bit more fun now that I got to ski real powder for the first time! There is still much to learn though.

Here's a few of my pics from the trip:






More can be found here: http://community.webshots.com/album/570465068RlHbuj

I second the recommendation for the Chuckanut brewry :drink:
Thanks for a great weekend Nathan!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:01 am 
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The Shepherd
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Location: Ravenna
Awesome! Brings back some great memories of Elfin.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:13 am 
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giving spoon
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Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: Daddy
That Atwell is awfully pretty. Looks like an interesting climb...

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:47 pm 
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UW Climber
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2004 12:29 am
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Location: Seattle
sounds like you made the best of the scary avy conditions... what makes you hate dynafits so much? I recently converted from splitboarding to dynafits and I'm loving it... !


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:50 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 7:51 am
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Location: Fremont
Rok you were the last hold-out on snowboard in the backcountry who I was hoping would inspire my brother to pick one up and stop snow-shoeing with his board strapped to his back. That used to be the only time when my Dukes came into the backcountry - they slowed me down to his speed.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:12 am 
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hahaha sorry to have "lost" the role model ;) I had a rad time splitting for 3 years, it's definitely *far* superior to snowshoeing and carrying the board on your back (though I've also done some pretty big trips that way...) - you just have to get good at the transition to keep up with skiers. I think what turns a lot of people off from splitboarding is that they feel the skiers are always waiting for them, but I think after a season of practice it's about the same. Actually, readjusting my boots etc for downhill/uphill mode and doing the leashes (yes, I ski with leashes) and fiddling with the dynafits takes me longer than my splitboard did. I wouldn't have sold it if I could afford to keep it around... though my skis with dynafits are probably about half the weight so that's pretty nice too :)

Have you tried to convince your brother to rent a splitboard from second ascent?


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