Trip Report    

Backcountry Ski/Snowboard - Mount McCausland

Good skiing had at alternate destination

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Over 5 inches of snow fell during the trip.   Conditions were excellent.    Good test of outerwear.

Our group assembled in the Yodelin lot and we discussed weather conditions, the NWAC avalanche forecast and the terrain of the planned objective, Mt McCausland.    From that location we couldsee that the slopes of Mt McCausland above the divide between Lake Valhalla and Smithbrook were already enveloped in cloud.   There we also a couple of people that based on the NWAC report had already ruled out climbing the upper slopes of the mountain.    We reached a group consensus that an alternative destination was preferable that didn't involved the long approach on Smithbrook road.    We choose Skyline Ridge and Tye bowl as the alternate.    We found better and more stable snow conditions than expected and forecast.    Observation of the snow indicated that winds were much less than expected.   The snow was quite fluffy in Tye bowl.    To return to Steven's pass, we choose to skin to the upper radio tower.    We discussed Moonlight bowl, examining the slope steepness map, we choose not to skin farther out on the ridge to access Moonlight bowl, but to take a more southern line that avoided mostly avoided steeper slopes.   This line provided excellent skiing and the best snow conditions of the day -- at least down to 4600 ft.   Then the trees thickened and in retrospect it would have been less effort to have skinned up from that point and skied out the normal Skyline ridge route.      However we descended through ever thickening trees until eventually emerging smelling of pine sap on the PCT.