It was another weekend of conservative skiing due to avalanche conditions, so we decided to explore the Kendall Knob area in order to try and stay in the trees as much as possible.
The danger level was Moderate the night we made our decision, but it changed to High over night and we forgot to recheck it the morning of the tour. Had we known that we would have made different decisions, but thankfully we had the opportunity to learn without consequence this time around.
Important: Remember to check the avalanche forecast the morning of the tour, as a change in overnight conditions can cause the danger report to adjust.
We parked on WA-906 and had a nice chat with the family next to us getting ready to do some resort skiing, before heading towards the Pacific Crest Trail North Trailhead.
Working our way up through the Kendall trees, making good time.
We worked our way up through the trees, making good time and passing a couple parties on the way. We shared our respective objectives for the day, discussing our thoughts on the snow conditions.
Just as we neared the top of the trees, we saw a skier dropping down through trees, the powdery turns looked like fun.
Ski lines above Kendall trees.
We ended up going a little higher then we planned, but decided to traverse over anyways and get a closer look before making a decision on whether or not to drop back down to a more conservative crossing.
The steepness and exposure was concerning, but didn’t look too bad. That said, we ended up misjudging it and the slope got steeper the closer we got. We moved fast yet cautiously, spread out from each other, as we examined each step for shooting cracks in the snow.
Getting to other side and back into some trees was such a relief as that was the crux of the day.
After traversing some more through the trees we reached the top of the ridge and rip skins and descend down, getting a tiny huck off a downed tree, and coming to rest at an opening the banks of the lower Kendall Peak Lake.
We then worked our way through terrain that was at too low of an angle, making it more of a wallow, before seeing tracks up to the backside of the knob. We were happy to transition back into uphill mode, agreeing to never take that route again.
We finally got to Kendall Knob #2, but didn’t tag the true high point. The view here over I-90 was pretty amazing, you almost forget you’re so close to civilization at times.
Descending off Kendall Knob through the trees.
We discussed the plan for getting down through the trees, but it wasn’t long before we unknowingly got off course. In the excitement of an open section we ended up following it too far right into steeper and denser trees.
We decided to stick it out, and while character building, it wasn’t exactly what I would call fun. Thankfully we both made it our without incident.
After what seemed like an eternity of tricky turns, we were relieved to finally get back to the PCT and follow it the rest of the way out.