Dec. 29, Mt. Roosevelt

1" breakable crust.   Not a good ski.

Dec 23. Snoqualmie Mt., Crooked almost, and South Ridge

Met up with Seth to search Snoqualmie Mt. for some good snow.  Headed up the phantom slide path, across from Alpental ski area.  The dust on crust, fresh snow, made for sonme difficult skinning, and we resorted to booting several sections.  We paused briefly at the entrance to the slot couloir, then headed to the summit.  Standing on top, the views were outstanding.  We were lured into the crooked couloir by the expanse of fresh snow.  I had heard reports that the slot couloir had beeen skied multiple times this year, but had not heard anything about the crooked.   The guidebook, by Martin Volken, recommends a rope for the crooked, due to an ice buldge that appears occasionally.  I have always found the crooked to be steep, but never in need of a rope.  Well today, with our shallow snowpack, the crooked appeared more as a waterfall than a ski run.  We skied as far down as we could, and I scouted out a short drop into the couloir from the treed side slope.  Unfortunately just out of view the run started to roll over.  Unable to ascertain whether or not the next section was snow or an ice formation, we turned tail and booted/skinned back up to the shoulder of Snoqualmie.  We dropped the South slopes/ridge down to Cave Ridge and around the back side of Guye Peak, then out to the Sahalie ski area.   Turns were excellent down the crooked and the South Ridge.  As I headed to an early Xmas eve dinner, our tracks glowed in sunshine on Snoqualmie's South ridge.  A very nice day.

First boot of the day, alongside the Phantom waterfall

Good skinning up high

Seth on the summit with views of Rainier in the distance.

Drop in, here?

A little skittery on the first turns

Getting better

This waterfall is normally the gut of the crooked couloir.  Could use a lot more snow.  We could have dropped in at this point, but were worried about more ice further down, with no retreat.

Retreat. the long boot back.

Still going

Last pitch back to the shoulder of Snoqualmie

The legs kept trying to cramp, the tour took several unplanned turns, but overall was a great tour.  The unplanned exit via the South Ridge, provided some excellent  turns.

Dec 13, Red Mt. elev. 5,890 - Take 2

Well, I didn't quite make it to the summit of Red on my last trip, but did enjoy some good turns and laid a good skin track in to access Red.  So with a little help from Greg Louie and Seth (the machine) we cruised up Red Mt..  Unfortunately the views were not as good and the snow was a little crusty, but we managed to have a good time.   Round trip time 3:48 .   Total elev. gain 3,200 feet.


Seth busting out a nice boot track

Greg and Seth enjoying the summit views





Dec. 9, NW shoulder of Red Mountain

I have a ski ordered for Francine called the Payback.  I never thought much of the name.  It brought up thoughts of paying back money.  Well this tour made me think a little more about the name, Payback.  Our climb topped out at 5,300', only 2,300' of elevation gain.   The first hour and half we climbed through the trees.  The ground was crusty from chunks of snow fallen from the trees.  Logs appeared as lumps in the shallow snowpack.  We reached the base of Red and started upward.  Despite the frigid temperatures, we were sweating in the sun.  We slip and slid, we tried ski crampons, then resorted to boot packing to make it up to the bench that lies directly below Red.   The slope above looked gorgeous, but we were negotiating for something that would require less effort.  We could see a pass to the left between Lundin and Red that looked close.  I had wanted to check for a potential route around Red and see the view from the pass.  Of course the ridge turned out to much further than it initially looked, but the snow was good and we switchbacked up, until we hit the ridge and views of Mt. Thompson.  Payback.  The turns were creamy as dropped back down our ascent route.  Payback.  Once we hit treeline it was survival skiing.  Payback.  But those turns, the adventure, well worth it.

Don boots up to the bench below Red

Final traverse to our highpoint.  Rainer in the distance

Mt. Thompson in the distance