Posted by: magmatist | February 11, 2014

Toboggan Pass, February 9, 2014

Google Earth image. Canyon Lake and western route to Toboggan Peak. Bjorn's Trail (yellow) is approximately located. Click to enlarge any image.

Google Earth image. Canyon Lake and western route to Toboggan Peak. Bjorn’s Trail (yellow) is approximately located. Click to enlarge any image.

Here’s the first report of XC fun this winter in the Chuckanut foothills. Conditions have been off and on. As this report makes clear, there is some good road and trail skiing if you can get to the snow. This report was written by Simon Graves, the photos are by Dominic Battistella. There are a few wistful comments by the jealous blog administrator.

On Sunday, Dominic and I (Simon Graves) successfully summitted Toboggan Peak with an approach from Canyon Lake Road. (Directions to the start of human-powered travel at the gate are given in this older post. DT)

At the gate, 1100'. Simon, Robin, Hannah, Teggart, Bear and Hannah

At the gate, 1100′. Simon, Robin, Hannah, Teggart. Hey, where are the dogs?

We started at the high gate (1200′) at 11:30 with a party of seven:  Myself, Dominic, Robin, Teggart, Hannah, Bear, and Harvey.  We packed skis and gear on our bikes and rode 3.33 miles to the last junction before the Lake .  At this junction (2300′) there was thin, just-skiable snow.

Bear, Hannah and Teggart continued another half mile to the lake from there, where they reportedly skied across the lake.  Haven’t spoken to them yet about conditions. (Could one of you let us know what it was like there,and if you went much beyond the lake? DT)

Looking down to Canyon Lake. Teggart and Hannah are just visible on thier bikes at lower left.

Looking down to Canyon Lake. Teggart, Hannah and Harvey the dog are just visible on their bikes at lower left.

Canyon Lake to Toboggan Peak. The peak is at center on the extreme right margin.

Canyon Lake to Toboggan Peak. The peak is at center on the extreme right margin.

Robin, Harvey, Dominic and I went up the hill (left) at that junction, then took the first right and then the first left.  This dead-ends at a landing 3100′, 1.1 miles from the Canyon Lake Road, 4.4 miles from the gate.  Definitely ski-able there. The topography is in the figure at left.

Simon and Robin at the hairpin on Bjorn's. Are we still having fun?

Simon and Robin at the hairpin on Bjorn’s. Are we still having fun?

Bjorn’s jeep trail, which was cleared by anonymous jeepers this summer, climbs from that point all the way up to the junction near the lakelet.  We skied the whole way, on increasingly favorable snow.  There is a great boulder field there that is ripe for summer exploration.  The trail crosses it once, goes through a young alder carwash* switchback, and then crosses it again.

Simon skiis through the boulders on Bjorn's.

Simon skis through the boulders on Bjorn’s.

Robin and Harvey, yielding to the pressures of academia, turned back at 3:30 at the top of the boulder field (4200′), picking their way straight down the boulders (plenty of snow for that; it would be much slower in summer) and returning to their car at 5:15.

Nirvan at the Toboggan Lakelet.

Nirvana at the Toboggan Lakelet.

Dominic and I continued, met up with the road below Toboggan Peak, and skied past the lakelet to the Pass, arriving at 4:30.  The snow was dreamy up there, so thick and soft.  I don’t have a good vocabulary for snow, but it made tele turns like floating on clouds.  I was nearing the limits of my sandwich at that point; we could have enjoyed ourselves all night!

Up to the summit (4800′) to find the repeater tower removed, enjoyed the fleeting view, and headed down around 5:30.  Such a brilliant descent to the boulder field, stopping for a ski across the lakelet.

We followed Robin’s tracks down the boulder field and skied most of Bjorn’s trail until things got thin and too fast for the tight woods there.  Back to the car at 9:15.

So what everyone says about bad conditions is a compete lie.  It’s dreamy up there!

Comment from Dominic: “There were about 8″ of powder at the top of the ridge”.

*carwash: according to Simon this is  a description for “when a road is starting to overgrow with young alder, thin enough to ski through, but thick enough to slap you as you pass”. We probably all know what this is like.

DT adds: Here is the NOAA forecast for Canyon Lake. Some good, some not-so-good.

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