This is always a special time of year when the North Cascades Highway opens. Skiers will flock to Washington Pass for easy access to some spectacular terrain, bikers can ride along 5' tall snowbanks, alpine climbing can be combined with ski descents, and the local hiking and climbing in Mazama is ready. Here are the latest conditions:
The Goat's Beard will be open daily from 9-5 and we have a great selection of new gear, footwear, and clothing for Spring. Stop by for any questions or just to visit after the long winter away!
As always, give us a call or stop by the Goat's Beard and we can help you find your next adventure. We will shorten hours to 9-5 Thursday-Monday and will be closed Tuesday-Wednesday starting March 22. We will return to normal hours when Hwy 20 is opened for the season!
North Cascades Conditions Update: Winter is not over yet!
Winter is not over yet in the North Cascades. During last week's warm up, we experienced a significant avalanche cycle but have hit the reset button with over 2 feet of new in the past 6 days and another foot forecasted for Friday 2-19. Here are the details:
•Hwy 20 is still closed at the Early Winter's gate 2 miles west of Mazama. WA DOT groomed the highway to the overlook at WA Pass to fix the weather station so t...he road is in great shape.
•Snow depth is around 110" at 5,450' and ski penetration was over 1' on Thursday Feb. 18. It isn't blower low density but conditions above 6,000' are soft, deep, and excellent! Below 6,000' we have seen a crust layer but that may be buried by the foot of new snow forecasted for Friday. As always, check NWAC for avalanche conditions.
•Harts Pass also has around 110" base depth but the road is very bumpy from heavy snowmobile traffic.
•The lowland/front country skiing is probably done given all the valley rain but if we get another shot of low snow, there is still a solid base.
•Methow Trails have survived a couple days of rain (which actually made the skate skiing very fast and fun!) and have 3-7" of snow forecasted for Friday 2-19. Both skating and classic skiing are great with perfect firm platforms.
We have great cross country and AT rental's including Voile, DPS, and Ski Logik with Dynafit or Fritschi Vipec bindings. Stop by or give us a call to discuss getting you out on your next adventure!
"Lets go ski THAT!"
The holiday's have come and gone and a new year has started. But some things haven't changed - the skiing has remained fantastic in the Methow Valley and the North Cascades! Here are the details:
We are frequently asked about how to access the backcountry without a snowmobile. The simplest answer is to contact North Cascades Mountain Guides. They charge a reasonable fee to take you and your crew up on WA Pass with snowmobiles and have an awesome day of skiing tailored to your needs. www.ncmountainguides.com Another option for the dirt bags is to try to hitch a ride with other skiers. I generally suggest bringing a 60' rope and at least a 6 pack of beer to the end of Hwy 20 at 8am and start begging. Don't expect a guided tour or to get a ride back at the end of the day.
Have fun, be safe, and please remember the Goat's Beard when you need to buy some stuff!
Conditions for all winter activities around Mazama are fantastic and only seem to be improving! We have received another foot of snow on the valley floor this week and more than that on WA Pass. Here are the details:
Highway 20 closed at Early Winters Gate 1 mile west of Mazama
All Nordic trails are groomed and in great shape with level platforms and firm bases after some colder temps.
WA Pass settled snow depth 90" with over a foot of fresh snow in the past 4 days so surface conditions are deep powder. Reports of some wind stiffening on north aspects but generally fantastic backcountry conditions. As always, be cautious in avalanche terrain and check with NWAC for current avalanche forecasts.
Highway 20 is smooth to the Silverstar Gate but gets very bumpy above that point.
Last report is that there are still trees across the Hart's Pass road but snowmobiles seem to be getting past (anyone want to take a saw up there?).
Forecast is for another foot of snow coming in smaller increments this week but should keep things fresh. Temperatures remain in the 20's all week - perfect!
Need backcountry equipment? Save $50 on binding mounts when you purchase from us and we will match online prices for identical products.
It has been a crazy week on the east side of the North Cascades! We've had a ton of snow, rain, and snow! All the moisture is great news on all fronts but no one likes the rain in winter! Good news is that we are cooling off again and have more cold snow in the forecast! Here are the details:
As always, give us a call with questions or observations.
And if you want the Goat's Beard to remain in business, shop local for things you need. We will match prices for identical size/model to encourage you to NOT shop online!
The east side of the North Cascades has been very fortunate this season with good early snow. Here is the latest:
Nordic: Methow Trails has groomed all of the Nordic trails around Mazama. The best conditions can be found in the open meadows. Sections of trail that are under trees have less snow and do not have classic tracks in most cases. Conditions are about as good as you could hope for in November although, to be honest, it isn't awesome - just pretty good. More snow in the forecast for this week though...
Roads: Highway 20 is still plowed 7 miles west from Mazama to Silverstar gate. The snowmobiling is easy cruising all the way to Rainy Pass.
Harts Pass is well packed but the gate at the bottom is closed and requires a tight move to go around with a sled and there is a downed tree that also requires a tricky move. Dead horse point is no problem.
Backcountry Skiing: Pretty good coverage for skiing although it isn't hero snow out there. 42" base at WA Pass and 40" at Harts Pass. We still have the rain crust up to 6,300' and west aspects were wind affected. Best skiing is on east aspects and protected north aspects. You will find 3-4" of low density snow on a firm base above 6,300'. We have had temperature inversions so its been above freezing over 6,500'. People are still coming back with grins from early season turns.
Ice Climbing: I haven't had any direct reports from climbers yet but Gate Creek looks to be in which leads me to suspect the Standard and Czech Gully could be in as well. It has stayed below freezing on the valley floor for about a week now which should create some good ice.
Let us know if you have any good information for us to share.
And please think of us if you have any gear needs. Its hard to compete with online shopping but we're trying!