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East elk to west elk pass traverse

Report Submitted by MaSid
(trip) Date: Monday Feb 12, 2024

Submitted: Monday Feb 12, 2024 at 15:38


Given a potential high pressure ridge lining up with the coming weekend, it was time to finally get the circuit done and have a fresh track available. To ensure success, AT gear was used. Turned out to be a lucky phenomenal day. -6 at 830, but with cloud to keep things cool to start. Zero on return at 230. The fresh grooming on elk pass trail was solid and fast on AT gear with wax. Rebroke the trail through Patterson meadows (ankle deep). Good and solid for all skis. Not so much east elk. Still looks like December in there, bush, open water, and so-so snow for the first half. Able to use wax for the first meadow section but needed skins for the narrow drainage given the bottomless pole plants in the worst places. Looked like it might start to clear, and by the time I got to the viewpoint: there were views! Sunnied up even more for the descent and west elk pass. Couldn’t ask for better timing. First few turns found some punchy crust so aimed for a slightly mellower line (not the LT line) and crust improved. Lots of logging detritus and other veg poking up but avoidable. Quite possible for a good skier to descend with LT gear I think if the crust stays intact. But you probably still want skins for getting into east elk and up the cutline. Snowfa HQ in west elk did not fully survive the meltdown. It’s just a bench currently and didn’t get added to today. The lunch log is pretty much bare wood.

Fresh bobcat tracks on the new grooming (and the bigger cats have been around in east elk pass).

Oh yes, couldn’t believe my luck, is it really clearing? Thanks to JeremyN for his photographic inspiration with this technique (if any of you recall his shot early one morning in west elk pass a few years back).

Another moment of brilliance in the fork scrape meadows.

No wind and ever changing views. Perfect spot for a cup of tea and a biscuit.

Then brilliant sun for the descent and the return through west elk meadows (complete with some minor icing).

6 comment(s) posted


2024-02-12 at 16:32 - comment by SkierRoger

I’m going to guess the caption of your second photo refers to this May, 2022 photo taken by Mike W.

2024-02-12 at 18:45 - comment by MaSid

Found it: photo by trip reporter JeremyN, early in the day at west elk meadows.

2024-02-12 at 23:19 - comment by Mike W

MaSid - Thanks for your compliments on my photo. Except I don't remember taking that photo and can't find it going back to the start of SkierRoger. Which report did you find it in!?

2024-02-13 at 06:44 - comment by MaSid

December 2020, so pre-Roger, back in the Skier Bob era (time flys). The above photo is currently on Bob’s “scenic” photos home page. The photographer had also taken a good one of the wind wall in front of the Fork ‘n Meadow Lunch Log (built by “Cheeky”).

2024-02-13 at 08:44 - comment by Mike W

Got this image by clicking on the photo thumbnail under "Scenic Photos Dec 26, 2021" on SkierBob's website. Looks like it was Jeremy N's photo.

2024-02-13 at 10:56 - comment by MaSid

Oh no! My bad. My sincerest apologies Jeremy, and of course a fantastic photo, which I have subsequently tried to emulate.

No wonder you didn’t remember Mike! It’s my memory that’s bad, not yours. (-:

The trip report has been edited to give proper photo credit.

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