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!
We have had a great start to the BC season here in the North Cascades. Lots of folks got out to enjoy the skiing near Heather Pass in early November when the highway was still open. But things have changed now:
Snow Depth 47" at WA Pass site and 58" at Hart's Pass site.
Highway 20 closed at Silver Star Gate but highway is well plowed to that point.
Good snow coverage and easy snowmobile riding on Hwy 20 to Blue Lake and beyond. Avalanche debris piles are mellow.
Harts Pass Rd has been packed by sled-necks.
Rain crust up to about 6,200' and west aspects were wind hammered.
Delancy ridge is NOT good - breakable crust above unconsolidated.
Good skiing has been found on easterly aspects like Portly Bowl. No reports from Hairpin yet - stay tuned.
Bottom line is you will need a sled to get the goods and look for areas protected from westerly winds. Its a good start but can't say its epic yet. Hope for more snow!
Does the recent snow get you thinking of ski season? We have been busy receiving all of the new 2015 backcountry ski products at the Goat's Beard. Some notable items:
Remember, we are the valley's best option for boot molding, binding mounts, and float cartridge refills. Special pricing offered when purchasing equipment from the GB!
Fall has arrived in the Methow Vally! The leaves are turning yellow, the larch are gold, and the ground cover is red. The days have been spectacular with highs in the 60's and 70's and lows below freezing up high and 40's on the valley floor. This is my favorite time of year for backpacking, hiking, climbing, and biking. No more smoke, no more sweating on the uphills. Come by and rent a bike and ride through yellow cottonwoods or pick up the new climbing supplements for the Matrix and the new granite crags Bryan has developed! Lots of new fall clothing has arrived and backcountry equipment will be here soon including the new DPS Tour1 skis!
Temperatures are dropping and the larch trees are beginning to turn yellow. It's an exciting time of year when we can find perfect temperatures for climbing on the valley floor or going on the epic long bike rides. Hiking up at Maple Pass or Harts Pass is spectacular now! If you haven't been to the new crag The Matrix, now is the time with afternoon sun and beautiful views. Our new website here has the mini-guides available for sale. Mazama Rock will now be in color and those are available here too!
We have new fall clothing showing up each week now. Prana and Carve are here and Ibex will be showing up soon. Dynafit bindings and boots will ship on the 15th too and we've already done our first ski mounts of the year. That's thinking ahead and we love it!
We are open from 9am-5pm Monday-Friday and 8am-6pm Saturday-Sunday.
Mazama has a new climbing crag!
Summer at the Goat's Beard: