Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lane Peak - The Zipper Ski Descent

Improvisation . . . on the fly.  A washed out climb/ski of Mt. Rainier turned into a soggy descent of Lane Peak in the Tatoosh.

The original plan had Jaime and I climbing in Tieton on Saturday, meeting Doug and Alex in the parking lot of Paradise on Saturday night, and then climbing/skiing Rainier on Sunday.  Things didn't exactly go as planned.  On Saturday, we got in one pitch of climbing at the Bend before getting rained on and retreating to the car.

From there, we hightailed it to Packwood and spent the next couple of hours drinking beers with the locals in the Blue Spruce.  After a quick nap in the parking lot, we met up with Doug and Alex, drank some more beer and then got chased off by Johnny Law.  On the way back down the mountain, Lane Peak emerged from the clouds, and we laid a plan for the next day.
Lane Peak and the Zipper Couloir in the middle
After a late start and a later breakfast, we left the car in the Narada Falls parking lot sometime after 10 am in a light mist ... or maybe a steady rain.  On the way to the summit, the rain finally turned into snow.
In the Zipper
After a pretty quick bootpack up the couloir, we turned the corner and headed up towards the summit.
From the top of the Zipper looking up towards the summit.
Jaime climbing up to the summit ridge
From the ridge, a cool traverse led up some steep snow to the summit.

From there, it was all downhill - in the mush.  It was kind of like skiing wet styrofoam balls.  But it was definitely fun!
Doug dropping the top of the Zipper into the fog
The exit.
All in all a great weekend!  Sometime you just have to make the most of what you're given.  Here's a little video stimulation to hold you over until your next weather window.

Lane Peak - The Zipper from Chris Winter on Vimeo.
Some unedited video from a ski descent of the Zipper Couloir on Lane Peak

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