Silver Star north ridge Feb. 22

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Don Nelsen
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Silver Star north ridge Feb. 22

Post by Don Nelsen » February 23rd, 2019, 3:24 pm

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On Wednesday I'd taken two of my brothers to Seattle for a tour of the Boeing Museum of Flight. On the way back, we were treated to a view of Silver Star in full sunlight, silhouetted against a dark background of clouds. It was simply stunning and way too tempting so I decided I had to get up there.

When I set out Friday morning the weather had changed and I wasn't sure I could even get near enough for a decent chance at the summit. I was heartened as I started up the 1100 road and a log truck was leaving so I knew I could at least get close enough for a good try. The logging operation was less than halfway to the infamous 4109 road but there had been enough traffic from the local monster truck crowd that I was able to do it. It was a nail biter, for sure, since had I met another vehicle, there was no way to pass by unless the other guy could handle a foot and a half of snow - my SUV isn't quite good enough for that kind of work. In a pinch, I knew I could dig out since I had brought a snow shovel but I sure wasn't looking forward to having to use it.

Arriving at the start of the 4109 road, I could see there was no way I was driving up there but a few of the aforementioned monster trucks had given it a go. I grabbed what I needed and headed up wearing spikes and carrying my snowshoes, hoping for the best. It started to snow as soon as I started but it was light so I wasn't worried about the drive back.

The tracks ended only 1.2 miles up the road:
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Now the real fun began as I worked my way up the road through two feet of untracked snow. It was beautiful but it was a major workout and I was sinking a foot down with every step.
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As I climbed higher, the wind started to blow and every now and then huge ploplets of snow would come crashing down. I got really nailed just once but I was dressed for it so no big deal.
The parking area was a wind-swept arctic scene and the wind was really relentless by now and the sky had lowered with increasing snowfall.
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I hoped that wind would turn out to be my friend by packing the snow on the ridge ahead into our fabled pacific northwest boilerplate so loved by Mt. Hood downhill skiers. I continued on up.

Once on the ridge I found the going easier but I was still sinking about six inches with every step and I was done for the day. No way could I make the summit today but even worse, the wind was at least forty MPH with higher gusts and the snow and ice was hitting me in the face making it hard to see and even keep my balance.

A very short video as I turned around at 3,500':


6.4 miles, 1815 EG, 5 hours, 5 minutes.
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Splintercat
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Re: Silver Star north ridge Feb. 22

Post by Splintercat » February 23rd, 2019, 4:47 pm

Great photos, Don! You are intrepid! I think even the snow has ruts on Road 4109..! :D

Tom

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Bosterson
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Re: Silver Star north ridge Feb. 22

Post by Bosterson » February 23rd, 2019, 5:00 pm

Nice looking powder! The wind in the Silver Star area is something else - I remember getting knocked down by gusts on Little Baldy. Definitely understand turning around if that were pelting you with ice and snow! Looks like we are having a legit winter for once. :D
Will hike off trail for fun.

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Chip Down
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Re: Silver Star north ridge Feb. 22

Post by Chip Down » February 23rd, 2019, 8:04 pm

Damn, you and Bosterson are putting me to shame (not the first time).
I want to get up Little Baldy this winter, waiting for the right conditions (easy drive, firm snow above).

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Silver Star north ridge Feb. 22

Post by Don Nelsen » March 6th, 2019, 6:18 pm

Splintercat wrote:
February 23rd, 2019, 4:47 pm
Great photos, Don! You are intrepid! I think even the snow has ruts on Road 4109..! :D

Tom
Tom, yep, the ruts have ruts! :D

Thanks for the comment.

With all this late season snow the wildflowers should be rally great this spring.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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