June's Smash & Grab

Below is an excerpt from my latest newsletter - Smash & Grab, which comes out monthly (more or less).  If you're interested in joining the cool kids' club, follow this LINK.  Come on, everyone else is doing it! I do know that there are some glaring contradictions between the newsletter and the website, but nothing that keeps us getting outside, so let's ignore those inconsistencies and get going, hmmm?

| sma-sh; and; grab | phrase. 1. A distinct form of burglary. It involves smashing a barrier, grabbing valuables, and making a quick getaway.

Issue 8 - We're back!!
On the first week of May, my plane landed in Sea-Tac on a late, late, drizzly night. I had an incredible trip to Europe - my first time on that side of the Pond. I skied the Haute Route and Mont Blanc, and road tripped to central Italy and back to Switzerland. I hope to go back next spring - want to join me? Since then, I've skied Mt Daniel (near Cle Elum off of I-90) and Mt Shuksan. My Shuksan descent of the White Salmon was likely the last one of the year - it featured steep bushwacking for 1000' from Chair 8 to the valley floor - oy! I've also started rock climbing again and during the rainy days trail running.

 One access note - Glacier Creek Road, which is used to access the northwest side of Mt Baker, is washed out at mile post 3. This adds a 7-mile hike or mountain bike ride up the road. If you want to climb the north ridge in solitude, this is the year to do it but be prepared to earn it!

What's happening next.
So much is starting to happen this month. Smash and Grab is going to turn into a monthly occurrence - I hope to send one out by the 10th of each month (I realize that this conflicts with the notice at the top of website - expect the S&G to come out again on the 20th to a much, much bigger audience! -Chris) It will also be posted on my website. The website is also going through a serious redesign. I'm working with the folks at Squarespace to launch something a little glossier, little less blog-y. I'll still be posting stuff up, but it will be more thoughtful, informational, and less trip reports but still lots of photos.

 I'm working on the logistics for trips to China, Chile, and Antarctica. I hope to have material on the website next month.

What's good?
Its June - the snow is still up high, but the rock has dried out down low. So this month is the best time for some of the big tours and high mountain descents for ski mountaineering, and taking advantage of the sunny days to warm up your rock climbing skills. Here's what I recommend.

For Ski Mountaineering

  • Mt Adams, Southwest Chutes - 2 days or "The Express", an extremely long day. 
  • Mt Baker, Easton Glacier - 2 days or "The Express", an extremely long day. 
  • Mt Baker Circumnavigation - 5 days. Features an ascent of the mountain from the east side via the Boulder-Park Glacier, and a ski descent of the Park Glacier from the summit. Not for the weak of heart! 
  • Ptarmigan Traverse - 5-7 days. A tour through the heart of the Cascades, from Cascade Pass to the Suiattle River. Several side day tours possible if we bring a little bit of extra food and fuel. 
For Rock Climbing

  • North Bend / Exits 32 & 38 - 1 day. The best thing about the Exits are their convenience to Seattle, and ease of access. Its a great way to spend a day or an afternoon warming up for the season. 
  • Index - 1 day. A little bit of a farther drive, but trad climbing and a great intro to multi-pitch climbing. 
  • Leavenworth / Icicle Creek - 2 days. The climbing at Icicle Creek is some of the best in the Pacific Northwest. Everything from single pitch to multi-pitch outings are possible. Really, to make the most of the time you should book two days, and either stay in Leavenworth or camp out on the Icicle. 
  • What to work on? What do you want to learn? We can have instructional days based on anchor building and top-rope site management, full "what-if" rock rescue clinics, and pushing into lead climbing. 
For Alpine Climbing

  • Snoqualmie Pass - 1 day. The Tooth and Chair Peak are dry, and snow coverage allows for quick approaches. 
  • Colchuck Peak - 1-2 days. 
  • Washington Pass - Early Winter Spires, Le Petite Cheval, Cutthroat Peak. These are awesome day climbs, right now with a thick blanket of snow that makes the approaches really easy. Stay down in Mazama or Winthrop in the evenings!
  • Boston Basin and Eldorado Peak - there is still a lot of snow, adding two miles to the approach into Boston Basin. Doesn't mean it can't be done - but you're going to earn every bit of it!
Interested?  Questions?  Email me at chris@chrissimmonsguiding.com.  Hope to see you again in the mountains!