This article will read more like a recipe than a actual article. Our first concoction has these ingredients: cold snow, sunshine and muscle mass. Splitboards in hand Jimmy Wood, David Ghan and Byron Bagwell set out for the famed Winchester fire lookout.
Six miles of approach allow you the spectacular views the North Cascade has to offer. It is important to stay hydrated as well as nourished. This is where Hillslop plays a major role in accomplishing a goal. Hillslop ingredients: this, that, and the other thing. All sorts of variety can be administered here. This next photo portrays Hillslop at its bare minimum, courtesy of David Gahn.
Backcountry travel is an adventure complete with uncertainty. Upon our approach we came across a wind slab that had broken about 18 inches deep. This caused concern as the release occured just prior to our arrival. A pit was dug, the situation accessed and skinning commenced.
The Winchester fire lookout is a gem. It has been kept intact by outdoor enthusiasts. During our visit we fixed a few things. The front door needed some maniputaion to keep the wind out. Happy to jump on projects, I went to work with my leatherman using materials that had been there for years. Comfort sets in with 6 to 7,000 ft peaks all around. Here we have Jimmy Wood enjoying the inside of our home for the time being.
As the day comes to an end stories are shared, bets are made, insults are traded. These are the things that keep the crew in good spirits. It is important to take in the good things. This structure was here before us and hopefully will be here after us. The recipe here has but one ingredient: respect, for the natural beauty that is all around us. In this next photo it is found in the rotation of the sun.
Darkness sets in. Armed with headlamps and candles the crew maintains their dignity by cooking up a grand portion of Hillslop. Mac and cheese, chili and cheesy chips, Hillslop of the gods. Stories fly and ideas arise. The Winchester Slider is born, whiskey, gin and organic freerange co-op cocoa. A hot totti of sort. This elixir keeps the crew warm while temps dip into the teens.
Daybreak brings warmth and light. There is snowboarding to be done. Riding with a heavy pack is always an adventure. Your weight works with you then against you, balance is the key here.
The descent from Winchester was a blast, 1,500 feet of glorious pow. The whole day went kind of like this last photo.