I plan to summit Washington and ski down within the next two weeks (pending weather). I am 22, in college and in excellent shape. I am not new to Washignton and have rode it as well before. I am an a snowboarder with 60+ days of high alpine experience in Colorado, Oregon, and Montana with countless days in the East. I have avalanche training. I also get in about 10 significant hikes per year. I know the snow and am comfortable in most conditions. I was trained at a young age in rock climbing and ropes but have minimal recent experience. My question is simple: My route would be Lions Head. I would ride down back through Right Gully. I could imagine in high wind that Rigth Gully could get a little dangerous and might require ropes? Are the ropes neccessary? I have all the proper gear with the exception of ropes, a harness and an ascender. So do i need a harness and ascendor or not...I can see how it would be more comfortable. Also, at this time of the year how is the snow in the snowfields...crust...corn...shaley ice??? I am really interested in getting into ski-mountaineering so this would be my first real trip. I plan to train on Washington and travel elsewhere for larger trips. Thanks guys
Ropes and ascenders are not needed. Just check the avalanche conditions and weather discussion at www.tuckeman.org and be ready for colder temps and higher winds above tree line. You will need crampons and an alpine axe to get up Lions Head winter route. You may even decide to climb up Right Gully to check out the conditions first hand before having to ride down it. If you would like any company let me know I've been on this terrain a few times and I'm always looking for opertunities to meet new climbing partners. I be interested to hear what other big trips you are considering. I've been to Rainier a couple times.