20 June 2012

Little Devil - Part 2

I left you with Day 1 of our 2-day epic trying to reach Little Devil's Peak in the North Cascades. Here's how the rest of the trip shaped up:

We awoke on Sunday morning to clouds and rainbows. There was definitely a storm coming in and we were glad we planned to get out of camp by 5:45am to start towards the peak. We estimated it would take about 3 hours to get there.

Storm Clouds

Rainbow!

The night had not brought us the thaw that we anticipated. In fact, it was rather humid and warm. I always have a hard time layering in those conditions, but eventually I figured it out.

HOW many jackets should I wear?

I love this picture. I'll call it "Skier's Silhouette" 

Even though the weather didn't require it, we were all still thankful to Kevin for putting in the skin tracks the previous evening! It made for some fast skinning, and we were across the long ridge in a mere 30 minutes.

Setting off

Pole. Step. Pole. Step. Pole. Step.

The Ridge Traverse

Once around the bend, we navigated through a flat section with the sun peeking out of the clouds. We had still NOT laid eyes on Little Devil's Peak, and 90 minutes into our tour I was beginning to this this peak was a figment of Kevin's imagination....

Sun Spots

Huh, I wonder where the cloud layer is? Not obvious or anything.

Looking back from whence we came

Then, as if on cue, we could suddenly see it. Little Devil's Peak, in all her glory! 

There she is! Center.
Who's excited? THIS GUY!

To get to Little Devil, we needed to pull off our skins and made some turns down an open bowl before skinning back up and traversing to begin the climb to the summit. We discussed avalanche conditions, as the temperatures were warming, but it was still before 8am, so we chose to keep going... speedily.

Conferencing

First turns of the weekend. Heavy, but decent snow.

In total, it took about another hour from where we skied down to get to the summit. In keeping with Cascade weather traditions, the conditions that met us on the summit were rainy, windy, and generally unpleasant. Kevin stood on Little Devi first (he certainly earned it!) and he was able to find the register placed there in 2007 by Fay Pullen, a local area legend known for being the first person to stand atop the summit of most of Washington's more obscure peaks.

Fay's Register

Little Devils

While on the peak, we all heard buzzing, similar to what it sounds like to be under a power line. I had never experienced this before, but apparently before/during a storm the ambient static energy can cause your metal objects to literally start buzzing. We were all carrying ice axes - thus the buzzing. This phenomena was completely mind blowing to me, but it also signaled danger, so we got off that peak without dawdling. Not that the wind blasting in our faces was encouraging us to stay anyway.

Skiing off of Little Devil was better than anticipated. We made a couple of long cuts across the bowl to make sure nothing slid, and generally enjoyed the skiing.

She looks much better with ski tracks

We were traversing below a rocky ridge line to begin climbing the first bowl we had skied earlier in the morning, when a cornice above let loose a point avalanche. Roaring towards us, the avy stopped just above our ski tracks. To say we were unenthusiastic by this development would be a gross understatement. There was no time for discussion, we just had to get out of there! Fast. With my heart beating out of my chest, I BOOKED IT up the hill, setting a new Kristina Land Speed record for skinning.

Once safely out of harm's way, we looked back to survey just how close we'd come. The picture says much more than I ever could.

Lucky

The rest of the trip back to camp went smoothly. We packed up our tents, ate some much needed food, and started on our ski trip down. The snow was wet and miserably heavy. I fell a number of times due to thigh muscle fatigue. Skiing in that stuff is hard enough, let alone with a 35lb pack. 

At one point, Kevin let off a slab avalanche (on purpose) which cleared a HUGE area for us to ski down. It was like a grooming machine had driven straight up the slope! I was happy to make a few awesome super-g style turns before we got back into the miserable heavy snow in the trees.

A few more face and some close calls with tree branches later, we were back at our shoes. We slid down the snow taking short cuts of the trail for as long as we could, before having to hike another hour plus back to the car. I have never been happier to get in a skunk stinking car!

Our trip ended in a small Washington town off Highway 20 at a restaurant called, if you can believe it, GOOD FOOD. The food was not what I would call good, but it was food and we were hungry. Plus, it gave Grandpa Max and Wammie a chance to make a new friend - the restaurant cat, who would NOT leave us alone. 


Kitty was very tolerant, for the price of some chicken

Fed Little Devil was a GREAT weekend and I give it an A+ for embracing new experiences and weekend warrior-ing. Thanks Kevin for taking us out. I can't wait for our next adventure!

Flashing the gangsta UW sign. Great weekend!

1 comment:

Allison Lee said...

i wanna goooooooooo