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geyer
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PostSun Apr 01, 2018 12:00 pm 
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Dates: March 31, 2018
Distance: 8 miles
Accum. Elevation Gain: 4600' (3700' w/o our lone ski lap)
Total Humans Seen: 2 (and we knew them!)

Eve's been raving about Welcome Pass and/or Oakes ever since Matt posted about them earlier in the season, so we had to take a crack at least one of them before spring conditions allowed us do bigger (and possible better?) things. Only caveat was that we wanted to do it on skis, since I'm a relative BC newbie and Eve doesn't really do snowshoes...

If you're wondering why you've never heard of anyone ski Welcome Pass before, that's because it is definitely a snowshoe route. Undoubtedly. But with these snow conditions, I can see even snowshoeing being a total bane. The approach was not fun.

AFter a little bit of road walk/skinning, we hit the trailhead
AFter a little bit of road walk/skinning, we hit the trailhead
skinning through the trees did not last long until we booted up the rest of the way. Crotch-deep postholing is fun, right?
skinning through the trees did not last long until we booted up the rest of the way. Crotch-deep postholing is fun, right?

Anyways, with me being a noob (or n00b for those of you who feel so inclined to correct me), I made several noob mistakes. The most obvious, glaring, dumbass mistake was forgetting my ski poles shakehead.gif I mean who needs ski poles anyway? So I spent the first mile of skinning the road with terrible posture and my calves and back were already starting to cramp up. Then I realized that there were thousands of free ski poles everywhere and found two perfect length branches that solved this issue for me. Whammy - total MacGyver skills.

Mistake #2 was bringing my mountaineering boots and ski boots. I thought booting up through the trees would be easier in my actually comfortable mountaineering boots (not wrong) but I didn't think that my feet would swell up and make it next to impossible to get my ski boots back on when transitioning. Also didn't realize how much longer it would take to transition. Chalk this one up to a learning curve.

So after a fairly late start (left Seattle after 6), crusty snow conditions making booting up miserable, and some learning, we finally made it to the pass after a long 4.5 hours (blame that all on me, Eve was cruising). Eve kept going towards Pt 5743, whereas I was content to only make it above 5600'. I was gassed.

Welcome Butte
Welcome Butte
Damfino
Damfino
pillows
pillows
An icy Sefrit
An icy Sefrit

The salvation of the day was that we we took one ski lap down about 900' on some pretty mellow terrain. On the way back to the car, we did a lot of butt-sliding (glissading sounds too formal for whatever it is we were doing) through the trees and made it down to the car in 2 hours.

ridge fun!
ridge fun!
turns
turns
let 'er rip
let 'er rip
skin track
skin track

Takeaways: I'm out of shape; Last minute packing means I always forget something; I need to get better at skiing 'bad' snow; Welcome Pass is gorgeous.


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Jeff
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Joined: 18 Aug 2008
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Location: Someone get me out of Everett, WA
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PostSun Apr 01, 2018 12:13 pm 
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Most skiers are too cool to admit it, but there are some routes that are definitely snowshoe routes. But its always a little bit of fun to go out and give it a try regardless. One of these days I will head up and do Welcome Pass and Excelsior with my skis.
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geyer
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PostSun Apr 01, 2018 12:29 pm 
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Jeff wrote:
But its always a little bit of fun to go out and give it a try regardless. One of these days I will head up and do Welcome Pass and Excelsior with my skis.

Absolutely. We were talking a big game in the car about how we'd keep going as far as possible once we got up there, but we took too long and settled for one quick lap at the pass. That ridge would be fun to traverse in both directions.
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Just_Some_Hiker
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PostSun Apr 01, 2018 12:32 pm 
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geyer wrote:
If you're wondering why you've never heard of anyone ski Welcome Pass before, that's because it is definitely a snowshoe route. Undoubtedly.

I don't know, dude. I see a lot of skiable terrain in your pics. If I got above treeline and saw this while wearing snowshoes, I would have cried.

geyer wrote:
Mistake #2 was bringing my mountaineering boots and ski boots. I thought booting up through the trees would be easier in my actually comfortable mountaineering boots (not wrong) but I didn't think that my feet would swell up and make it next to impossible to get my ski boots back on when transitioning.

Yeah this is crazy wrapped in crazy. That's a lot of weight to be carrying around. It sounds like you need to see a boot fitter to get your ski boots properly dialed in. AT boots should be relatively comfortable. I actually find my AT boots to be more comfortable than my Nepals.
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geyer
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PostSun Apr 01, 2018 12:59 pm 
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Just_Some_Hiker wrote:
I don't know, dude. I see a lot of skiable terrain in your pics.

Just to clarify, I mean the route up was better for snowshoes. If I had snowshoes, I could have cut a big chunk of time off. Not denying that there's tons of skiable terrain up there. We just didn't have time to ski it because it took so long to boot up.

Just_Some_Hiker wrote:
Yeah this is crazy wrapped in crazy. That's a lot of weight to be carrying around. It sounds like you need to see a boot fitter to get your ski boots properly dialed in. AT boots should be relatively comfortable. I actually find my AT boots to be more comfortable than my Nepals.

This is my first full season doing AT and....now i know. I just thought the range of motion of normal boots would have been better for the ascent than ski boots. Turns out that it doesn't really matter when you're booting up snow. The AT boots are plenty comfortable and good fitting.
But also, it's not that much weight. Both pairs of boots come in under 3 lbs.
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Brushbuffalo
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Location: there earlier, here now, somewhere later... Bellingham in between
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PostSun Apr 01, 2018 7:09 pm 
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Looks like you had a good outing even with the minimal " fun" skiing. There have been trips ( not to Welcome) where I have used snowshoes to negotiate steep forest with brush and fallen logs and skis to enjoy the easy skiing up higher. Used xc boots on both the snowshoes and old skinny tele skis.
geyer wrote:
An icy Sefrit
An icy Sefrit

Yes, that mountain is icy, but not "Icy" (Peak). It is Mt. Sefrit.

--------------
Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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geyer
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PostSun Apr 01, 2018 7:20 pm 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
Yes, that mountain is icy, but not "Icy" (Peak). It is Mt. Sefrit.

Well if I change the caption, no one will ever know wink.gif
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Stefan-K
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PostSun Apr 01, 2018 10:57 pm 
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best way to learn is by doing, so I'd say pretty successful!

beg to differ on snow shoe route classification... those trees and everything else looked like some fun skiing!  you just had crappy snow... but at least it was relatively avi safe.
and crusty... ugh

Thanks for the nice pics.  Some sweet looking lines on Damfino,
would be fun to check out some time if anyone's up for it
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