First Tracks on McCue
November 30th, 2014 in Trips, Trails, & Tours
Jason, pictured here skiing the summit pyramid of Mt Shuksan, completed the first ski of McCue ridge of the season. He got his start backcountry skiing six years ago at High Camp where his love affair first began. While Jason saw the appeal of ski touring, the relationship had a somewhat rocky start. He didn’t want to invest fully in an expensive backcountry set up so he used his heavy resort skis and boots, that lacked a walk mode. To make this set up work he had purchased a pair of Alpine Trekkers, devises that clicked into his regular downhill bindings and allowed him to ski uphill with the use of skins. This clunky setup was further impaired because the Trekkers couldn’t be re-sized, so in the field he had to adjust his bindings at every transition. All these factors combined to make for one of the slowest trips around the McCue loop I have ever done and left Jason exhausted. He was not dismayed though and the following day we completed a more successful ski into Roaring Creek with remarkable coverage given that it was just after Thanksgiving. After that it was pure love and Jason continued to explore the backcountry both at High Camp and elsewhere. The grand finale of his first backcountry season was summiting Mt Baker and skiing down, still with that original clunky set-up (just thinking about climbing Baker without a walk mode makes me wince).
In the six years since that first tour Jason has become quite the accomplished skier. On his ski of the ridge this time around Jason reported 6″ of light and fluffy snow through the glades. As Jason describes it, powder is mostly air so skiing is practically flying and it felt good to fly for the first time in many months. His description of the rest of the route was less inspiring and he cautioned others not to follow his tracks due to “steep, exposed and dangerous bushwacking.” I’m looking forward to a little more snow before I venture up the ridge. Thankfully there is snow in the forecast for later this week.