7 Search Results for ""mt. rainier""
- From: TetonGravityResearch
Words And Video By Joseph Mara
In a cut-off corner of north-central Washington State, a little known heli-skiing operation has been flying under the radar for nearly thirty years. North Cascade Heli (NCH), located in the town of Mazama, operates in a 300,000 acre permit area just south of North Cascades National Park. Pioneered by Harris Sanford in the early 80’s and then named Liberty Bell Alpine Tours, the outfit is now run by owners and guides Paul Butler and Ken Brooks. Their multifaceted operation now offers several different experiences ranging from a single heli-day (seven guaranteed runs or money back) and private flight time charters, all the way to extended guided touring trips at their two-story backcountry yurt. Planning a longer trip is recommended because weather conditions in the North Cascades vary drastically from day to day. The operating season is short, only seventy days from mid-January through March. Space fills up quickly so plan months in advance if you can.
NCH offers a wide variety of terrain for all ability levels. Their longest run is 3,800 vertical feet, touring through high alpine peaks, glades, and trees. Bowls, couloirs, and slide paths are also on the menu. Snow? Yeah, they have plenty of that. The Cascades receive huge deposits of white gold every year and boast some impressive totals, including the single season world record snowfall of 1,140 inches held by Mt. Baker, situated just west of the helicopter permit area. The Cascades are the most glaciated mountains in the lower forty eight and are one of the few mountain ranges in North America with active volcanoes, including Mt. Rainier rising to over 14,000 feet. This makes the Cascades one of the most dramatic mountain ranges in the world, and there is no better way to experience them than by helicopter.
You will be in good hands at NCH with some of the most experienced guides in the business. Pilot Seamus O’Daimhin, a Vietnam Veteran who flies for logging and fire-fighting operations in the summer, has eyes in the back of his head. You will buzz low over mountain peaks and watch the bottom drop out as you cross ridges between runs. With such a large permit area and a max elevation of 9,000 feet, NCH can always find the good snow, even after a big warm up. conditions. If you get lucky, your guide just might take you to Stair Step, and Seamus will drop you off on a tiny mountain peak landing that may test your faith in him.
The typical one day trip begins in the heli-barn at 7:30 AM with a review of the day’s schedule and backcountry safety protocol, followed by weigh-ins and outfitting of all guests with the necessary safety equipment. Afterwards, a short review of proper beacon, shovel, and probe use takes place outside. Once everyone has completed the safety training, the pilot will go over the dos and don’ts of riding on board the A-Star B2 helicopter. Around 9:00 AM, up to three groups of four guests each will take turns loading the bird and flying out to their first run. Seven runs with lunch provided is a typical day, and additional runs can be purchased on the spot with time and weather permitting. Expect to arrive back at the heli-barn by mid-afternoon with a huge grin and a hankering for cold beer (BYOB). If you will be enjoying an extended stay with NCH, you will be shuttled to the Barron Yurt to begin your multi-day backcountry tour. The touring packages can often include an extra “heli-bump” or two.
NCH’s location in Mazama is why it’s one of Washington’s best-kept secrets. Mazama is relatively isolated during winter months due to the closure of the west side of the North Cascades Highway. The Washington State Department of Transportation cannot maintain the road because of the massive amounts of snowfall. Most guests come from the Seattle area and make the four and a half hour drive around. Lodging can be found in Mazama at the Freestone Inn, or The Rolling Huts if you are looking for a more rustic experience (outhouses and no sink). Nearby Winthrop is a charming old western town which is well worth a stop for lodging, hot air balloons, the oldest legal saloon in Washington State, city girls on vacation, or the rusty old cowhands and their classic cars. Make sure to check out Kelly’s restaurant at The Rolling Huts outside of town for the best Irish food around, not to mention Steve’s signature cocktails which may or may not include real absinthe (ask for the “Aviation”). For anglers, this is prime steelhead country as well. The nearby Methow River offers excellent fishing and the latter half of NCH’s operating season coincides with the start of the fishing season. The cross-country skiing is also world class possibly more popular here than alpine skiing (if you happen to know someone who is into that). This seldom seen corner of the country is more than worth a visit. Combine the skiing, the natural beauty of the North Cascades, the uniqueness of Mazama and Winthrop, and NCH’s nearly three decades of heli-operation experience and you might just leave with a new annual tradition.
- Blog post
- 2 months ago
- Views: 162
- Not yet rated
- From: mollybaker
If you’ve lived in Washington’s mountain communities, you’ve probably heard of Liz Daley. Born in Tacoma, Wash., the 27-year-old backcountry snowboarder, climber, and mountain guide has used the Cascade Mountains as training grounds her entire life. With multiple expeditions and first female descents on many of the cardinal peaks of the Pacific Northwest — Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Mt. Shasta, and Mt. Adams — Daley has been preparing for a flourishing future in snowboard mountaineering. Throw a few seasons in Chamonix into the mix, new relationships with Jones Snowboards and Patagonia, and Liz might just be on the road to becoming one of snowboarding’s leading ladies in backcountry and mountaineering.
Or is she already there?
I get in touch with her to chat about the upcoming season just before she rushes out to an event in Seattle. It’s a few hours before and she’s a ball-of-energy, but excited to revel in the recent snowfall, intentions to climb in Utah all of November, and a hut trip she has planned for December on Roger’s Pass. Following her social media stream is enough to make even the most keen climbers and snowboarders jealous. Liz doesn’t let a day go by without getting outside.
“For years I've been seeking out ways to ride as much as possible and travel — becoming a professional snowboarder just helps facilitate that,” explains Liz candidly. “But, I don't like the idea of being solely a professional snowboarder. I want to develop an array of skills. That's why I got into patrolling and guiding.”
Liz Daley in Portillo, Chile. Photo by Adam Clark.
Brilliantly blonde and always outgoing, Liz is unassuming when it comes to a high-profile resume of big lines around the world. The first time we met, in Mt. Baker’s only après bar, the Tap Room, her long blonde hair, pink pom-pom hat, and perfect, white-toothed smile glowed in a room full of grungy ski-bum dudes and mountain employees. She resembled a backcountry Barbie of sorts (minus the psychosis and other plastic-girl stereotypes), but with all the characteristics parents should want their daughters to emulate. She’s obviously motivated, confident, and modest at the same time about her achievements, including missions like the first female snowboard descent of the Coleman Headwall of Mt. Baker. How hadn’t I heard about her before? How had the narrative of Liz Daley, a competent and multi-faceted snowboarder chick, who splits her time between the Cascades and Chamonix, been kept silent?
Liz Daley and Drew Tabke climbing in Chamonix. Photo by Davide De Masi.
“Liz has come into her own as a competent mountain guide and snowboard mountaineer at a time when excitement around these sports is really growing,” says professional skier Drew Tabke, who’s been on many mountain adventures with Daley over the years. “I expect a lot of options to open for her as far as travel and expeditions to virtually anywhere — and Liz has the motivation and enthusiasm to tackle anything.”
For an all-around athlete and mountain girl like Liz, representing companies like Patagonia and Jones isn’t the only way she’s going to find her way into the outdoors. With EMT and Outdoor Emergency Care certifications, a guide resume with the American Alpine Institute, and a recent stint on the Canyons Ski Patrol in Utah, her career options in the mountains are clearly diverse and easily attainable. She’s even spearheaded her own splitboard programs with AAI, which start in December near Mt. Baker.
Liz Daley shredding the Coleman Headwall. Photo by Davide De Masi.
“Last spring I was teaching six-day Basic Alpinism courses on Mt. Baker, where I demonstrate crevasse rescue and ice climbing techniques. It’s fun, but walking down any mountain sucks,” says Liz. “I'm hoping all of my courses fill up so I won't have to walk down another mountain ever again.”
This winter, even if Liz won’t be walking down mountains, she’ll still be climbing and riding them. That’s inevitable. Her upcoming season involves a few early season objectives in Washington and BC, followed by her AAI clinics, and then she’s off to Chamonix — a place where a long list of lines to ride has begun to accumulate.
Climbing the Cosmique Arete in Chamonix. Photo by Davide De Masi.
“There are a couple big lines I've had my eyes on for years, but they haven't been in,” she explains. “In Cham, you don't ride something if it's not in, so I'm waiting until conditions are right. I've also yet to summit Mont Blanc.”
Regardless of her job or whether you’ve heard of her or not, Liz will be out ripping around in the mountains of the world. Not a few times a week or a handful a month. This girl is out there all the time. And her skills are transcending those of other women in her discipline because of her intrinsic motivation to go out everyday.
For Liz, being in the mountains isn’t a job or hobby; it’s a daily affair.
Some spring shredding on the Easton Glacier in Washingotn. Photo by Davide De Masi.
- Blog post
- 8 months ago
- Views: 309
- Not yet rated
News: Mount Rainier National P News: Mount Rainier National Park Climbing Ranger Dies During Rescue Attempt
- From: media-75233
A climbing ranger at Mount Rainier National Park died during a rescue attempt on the Emmons Glacier yesterday afternoon. Ranger Nick Hall, 34, fell from the 13,700-foot level to about 10,000 feet on the mountain's northeast side as he was helping to prepare other climbers for extrication by helicopter.
At approximately 1:45 p.m. on June 21, 2012, a party of four climbers from Waco, Texas, fell at the 13,700-foot level of the Emmons Glacier as they were returning from a successful summit attempt on Mount Rainier. Two members of the party slid into a crevasse. A third member of the group was able to call for help using a cell phone. During the subsequent rescue at 4:59 p.m., as the first of the climbers was being evacuated by helicopter, Mount Rainier climbing ranger Nick Hall fell, sliding more than 3,000 feet down the side of the mountain. He did not respond to attempts to contact him and was not moving. Rescuers reached Ranger Hall several hours after the incident began and found him to be deceased.
High winds and a rapidly lowering cloud-ceiling made rescue efforts extremely difficult, but with the help of Chinook helicopters from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, three members of the original climbing party were lifted off the mountain by about 9:00 p.m. and taken to Madigan Hospital. The remaining member of the party spent the night on the mountain with climbing rangers from Mount Rainier National Park, and rescue options were reassessed this morning. All four suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Nick Hall was a 4-year veteran of Mount Rainier National Park's climbing program and a native of Patten, Maine. He was unmarried and has no children.
Photo via www.nps.gov
- Blog post
- 1 year ago
- Views: 326
- Not yet rated
- Views: 126
- Since: 1 year ago
- Not yet rated
- From: TomBurt
Home from a 9 day stint in Washington. The first four days was the Baker Banked Slalom. I took fifth in Pro-Masters and came home with a Pendleton blanket. Temple Cummins won the Pro-Mens with a come from behind win on his final run to bring home his 4th gold duct tape. I led Devon Raney, a friend who has lost his eye sight, down the course as his eyes. He wanted to stand up the course but fell on the same bank during both of our runs. There is always next year for Devon and my eyes. I have to say thanks to the Cummins family for putting me up while I was there.
Temple and myself picked up Andy Hetzel in Seattle and headed up to Crystal Mt. We were there to judge the North Face Masters freeride series stop two. What a great riding mountain Crystal is. Forrest Burki a Crystal local came through and won the contest.
Here are some shots of Baker and Crystal taken by Temple
Looking down the Banked Slalom
Three Generations of Cummins (Cannon, Temple and Joe)
Devon Raney and his eyes down the mountain, me, at his cabin in Glacier
Hiking Table Mt.
Crystal Mt. view of Rainier
Andy Showing his Northwest style
Ridge Hiking at Crystal (Andy, me, Jim Zellers, and Jimmy Hopper)
Jim Zellers Dropping in
Andy on the Drop
Tom riding a spine
Tom Talking at the riders meeting for the North Face Masters
Judges stand with Andy, Julie Zell, myself and Temple taking the photo
Forrest Burki, the winner at Crystal, half cab in
- Blog post
- 3 years ago
- Views: 1024
- From: TomBurt
- 3 years ago
- Views: 324
- Not yet rated