First Peak


Turns in the Soldiers.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

I was trying to cut down on my windshield time but wanted to get out. I was also emotionally exhausted, so didn't want to think or plan too much. Ralph chose First Peak. His email said:

"I will GUARANTEE good snow would be found"

Who could argue with that?


The road seemed a bit icy and my wipers weren't working well in the cold. So we were about 15 minutes behind schedule when we unloaded in bright sunshine at the ski area. As we prepared to get on the chair, the liftee told us we might want to wait... due to wind, the upper chair was not yet running.

We figured we could just skin up the second lift, so up we went.

And then on went the skins. The liftee at the second chair came out and talked to us about our backcountry aspirations. Then we pointedly instructed him to NOT turn on the lift until we were over the top.

We were successful in climbing the second chair before they turned it on, devaluing our single-ride pass. Ralph knew the line to follow and we were soon on the upper slopes, which the picture shows as being firm; al dente as it were.


The prediction was for a NW wind blowing 20-30 with stronger gusts. On top of First Peak, I could make a similar prediction for any day of the year and be right 90% of the time.

From the Second Peak weather station: at 1100. -10 wind chill, 45 mph with gusts to 63.

I walked the last 100 feet. When I got back to my pack and started on a cup of tea, the wind got under one of my skis and flipped it.


Zoomed shot of Big Peak (left of center).

Camas Prairie

The ridge up to Second Peak.

Upper mountain

On the way up, we had done our due diligence and found a few spots of good pow. We had great fun zooming down to the saddle.

Then came the normal skin back up to the top of the lifts (yeah, you have to climb to get home). After checking out with the patrol and then skiing the groomers back to the parking lot, we de-geared and basked in the sun. It was quite warm, and not a breath of wind. This is looking up the first chair from the parking lot.

Mariel cranks some turns

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