High Campbell is my favorite chair- really that I’ve ever ridden. I mean, how many other lifts take you to so much terrain? From 6 you can, hike to controlled areas and enter a door-way to endless touring. Powder Bowl, the Throne, and Double Oughts are some of the best lift service steeps around. The King and Silver Basin top the charts for patrolled in-area hike-to snow. Crystal Lakes and Morse Creek allow skinners tons of turns. The problem is you have to know where to go and how to get back.
Here are a few pointers on Chair 6:
1. Know how to unload the chair (that would be to the left so you don’t get bull wheeled).
2. Clear the unloading area so other people can safely get off the chair (go further away than you think).
3. Know where you are going. It is not always clear where Crystal’s boundary ends and the wilderness begins. Once through the Southback Gates, there are few signs and no ropes to delineate the boundary. Many skiers have been disoriented and wound up half way to 410 before they realized their mistake.
4. Understand that if you need help or any type of rescue outside of Crystal Resort it will be costly for you. Backcountry rescue is not easy or quick. Carry your cell phone and ski patrol’s number 360.663.3064-for emergencies (NOT lift status reports) and always travel with a partner. Just a quick word here about cell phones–they get cold and batteries die so never replace common sense with your phone.
5. Understand our boundary policy. Except for Kempers, our boundary with Mount Rainer National Park is open. Kempers slide path is a permanent closure; you will get your pass yanked for a very long time if you venture in there.
6. Respect Chair 6. Never jump from the chair, don’t push against the chair when you are unloading, ride on the inside seat if you are a single, and keep your ski tips up when the snow gets deep (which it will this winter.)
The High Campbell Chair is one of Crystal’s greatest gems. Treat it with respect, find some friend to show you around, and enjoy the endless possibilities it has to offer.
Photos by Kim K.