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Mesahchie Mark
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Joined: 10 May 2005
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Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine
PostSun Feb 25, 2007 10:13 pm 
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After mulling over a short list of options, dicey and I decided to stay close to home and make a run at South Bessemer Mountain.  South Bessemer, 5028', is the smaller sibling of Bessemer Mountain (5166') and a neighbor of Green, Teneriffe, Si and Quartz.  An old logging road leads to the top, but given the recent snowfall and general winter conditions, it would take an effort to reach this summit.

We started off at 8:20 AM on the Bessemer Trail (900'), which is really a gated road approximately two miles past the first bridge on the Middle Fork.  Our plan:  hike to the snowline, then skin our way up from there.  That's right, we were going to ski this puppy!

After a mile, we intersected the CCC Trail, and turned right.  Following the only maintained road (the spurs are overgrown with vegetation from disuse), we passed a mining operation at 1.8 miles.  I know because there is a sign that says "MP 1.8".  smile.gif  Slowly but surely, the snow deepened the higher we climbed.  We followed a set of steps in the snow that transformed into a snowshoe trough.  At about 2300', the snow was deep enough to begin trekking.  Deploy the skis!

At first, it was pretty easy going - just stay in the snowshoe track, where the trail was already nicely compacted, and trek on.  This plan worked to about 3500', then the snowshoe tracks ended abruptly.  Heh.  Time to break trail for real!  At this elevation was the snow thick, wet Cascade concrete, producing a noticable drag on skins.  Snow was building atop the skis, and sticking to the skins.  Just great.

Snow conditions improved slightly as we gained elevation, but it was still a slog.  At around 4000', we came to a long, east-running traverse that cuts straight across a fairly steep slope.  One can tell where the road "should" be , but the deep snow completely fills the roadway, making it barely discernable from the rest of the slope.  Better safe than sorry, dicey and I donned avi beacons at this point, mostly to safeguard against any trouble from above.

The traverse brought us to 4500' as the road switched back again to head to the northwest.  Soon afterward, any telltale signs of the road disappeared as the grade diminished substancially and the landscape was covered in a thick layer of white.  Dicey checked her map and pointed out the ridge we needed to take to the summit.  Up to this point, our weather had been overcast but calm.  Now, we were getting some sun breaks.  The overall effect was to create very flat light, which made it difficult to denote subtle differences in the snow, despite my wearing polarized sunglasses.

Finally, at 1:00 PM, we crossed a steep, windscoured slope and arrived at the summit.  In mid-winter conditions, the summit resembled a mini-ridgeline, replete with cornices off the west side.  Dicey and I only spent a few minutes on top to snap pics and take in our surroundings, then it was time to leave.  Snow flurries hastened our departure.

Now for the important part:  the ski down!  Actually, the best skiing was a small gully close to the top, which passed by in a matter of seconds.  The rest was a quick trail ride down the logging road.  If you've ever skied a long cat track at a resort, you know the feeling.  We finally gave up the skis at about 2400', after I had a close encounter with a rock.  A stiff-legged hike out in ski boots ensued.  We made it back to the car a little after 3:30 PM, which meant it took us a full two hours less to descend than ascend.  That's why we took the skis!  Emboldened, we went straight to the NBB&G to recoup lost calories.  Good times!

Here are a couple pics.  Lighting sucked, what can I say.  Enjoy!

Summit is Near
Summit is Near
Pratt River Drainage
Pratt River Drainage
Looking Back
Looking Back
Garfield Sunbeam
Garfield Sunbeam
Dicey Summit
Dicey Summit
Bessemer Major
Bessemer Major

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Cheers,

Mesahchie Mark
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Grizzy
Yellow Cedar Hugger



Joined: 16 Jul 2006
Posts: 1934 | TRs
Location: Switchbacks
Grizzy
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PostMon Feb 26, 2007 8:43 am 
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Nice TR! I love your "Pratt River Drainage" shot, that is such a Northwest (northWET) looking vista, nice job!
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ActionBetty
Im a dirty hippie!



Joined: 06 Jul 2003
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Location: kennewick, wa
ActionBetty
Im a dirty hippie!
PostMon Feb 26, 2007 10:01 am 
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I love the Dicey summit picture.. the frozen tree is an added bonus. biggrin.gif

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"If you're not living good, you gotta travel wide"...Bob Marley
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dicey
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Joined: 11 May 2004
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Location: giving cornices a wider berth
dicey
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PostMon Feb 26, 2007 10:23 am 
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Hey Mark,
Where is your summit shot?  I DARE you to post it! wink.gif

Packing skis 2.5 miles up a logging road = questionable
Descending 2k in about 10 minutes = priceless

The upper glades just below the summit were heavenly on the way down and if the weather had been better, I think we may have done some laps there - oh well.

I don't know why there are always so many cars driving up and down the middle fork road.  Where are they going?  What are they doing? paranoid.gif

They probably thought it just as odd to see two people walking in ski boots with skis on their packs and not a lick of snow in sight! lol.gif

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I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
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jimmymac
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Joined: 14 Nov 2003
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jimmymac
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PostMon Feb 26, 2007 10:38 am 
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Mesahchie Mark wrote:
At first, it was pretty easy going - just stay in the snowshoe track, where the trail was already nicely compacted, and trek on.  This plan worked to about 3500', then the snowshoe tracks ended abruptly.  Heh. 

Sorry about that. Actually, it was about 3,050'.

What can I say? I sensed that my date had had enough of the soft stuff. It was time to cheerfully suggest a retreat and live to hike another day.
Jimmymac, making a trench to "almost" Viewpoint 3300.
Jimmymac, making a trench to "almost" Viewpoint 3300.
Mrs Jimmymac, still having fun, restaurant bound.
Mrs Jimmymac, still having fun, restaurant bound.
With the low ceiling, taking in views meant looking a little closer.
With the low ceiling, taking in views meant looking a little closer.

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"Profound serenity is the product of unfaltering Trust and heightened vulnerability."
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dicey
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dicey
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PostMon Feb 26, 2007 10:47 am 
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So it was YOU!! flowers.gif
I enjoyed your trip report and pictures from a month ago. See here
We didn't have quite the sunny weather you did, but oh well.
Thanks for putting in the track as far as you did.  Breaking trail after that was exhausting!
So you were up there on Saturday?

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I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/32121172@N00/sets/
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jimmymac
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jimmymac
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PostMon Feb 26, 2007 11:02 am 
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Yep.

The road cut where you folks turned on your beacons would have turned us around, so our plan was to go as far as the switchback/landing at 3300'. Even that goal became inconsequential, cuz of the vast white fuzz off to the east that never lifted.

As odd as it may sound, a couple of folks carrying skis and riding mountain bikes would seem perfectly logical to me now that I've been there a couple times.

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"Profound serenity is the product of unfaltering Trust and heightened vulnerability."
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dicey
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dicey
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PostMon Feb 26, 2007 11:09 am 
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Now that you mention it, we did see some mountain bike tracks on our descent, but didn't run into anyone all day.  I even mentioned to Mark on the way up that maybe we should have brought bikes.
The thought of flying downhill on a bike with skis attached to one's pack sounds pretty dangerous/potentially painful though.... huh.gif

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I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/32121172@N00/sets/
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Tazz
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PostMon Feb 26, 2007 11:57 am 
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Great report Mark!  Sorry I could not make it.  Looks like I would have been wallowing and flailing around in the snow anyways. Plus  you two would have had to wait for me at the car due to the speedy decent on your skis.   up.gif

Good stuff!
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Randy
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Joined: 18 Dec 2001
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Randy
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PostMon Feb 26, 2007 2:37 pm 
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Looks fun. That snow looks pretty deep, I think I would have collapsed after a few hundred yards!
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jimmymac
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jimmymac
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PostMon Feb 26, 2007 4:28 pm 
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lol.gif  lol.gif  Yeah but, yeah but...  clown.gif

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"Profound serenity is the product of unfaltering Trust and heightened vulnerability."
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Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine



Joined: 10 May 2005
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Mesahchie Mark
Really Useful Engine
PostMon Feb 26, 2007 5:11 pm 
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Thanks for the comments, everyone!
BTW - I have a question:  Anybody know where the name "Bessemer" came from?  I'd like to know...
I may post a couple more pics tonight... wink.gif

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Cheers,

Mesahchie Mark
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Conrad
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Conrad
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PostMon Feb 26, 2007 5:19 pm 
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I've biked with skis. I didn't strap them to my pack; I strapped them to the bike, horizontal and pointing forward, next to (on both sides of) the "men's bike" horizontal brace bar. Can't remember if I used cinch straps, bungee cords, or just big rubber bands.
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dicey
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dicey
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PostMon Feb 26, 2007 8:19 pm 
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Now that sounds like a real workable solution!
Thanks for the idea up.gif

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I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
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Sabahsboy
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PostMon Feb 26, 2007 8:25 pm 
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Mark and Dicey, only Pratt view and "Looking Back" fail the test of your choice.  The Garfield view and summit pix are dandy of the first 6 photos.

Just read the Dirty Harry summit TR and drooled; now I am a mess.  I must give this a try....great views and beautiful snow.  Now, where are those gaters?
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