Mt. Shuksan - South West Face skiDate:
I left the White Salmon parking area a touch late and dropped into the valley and skinned up the White Salmon Glacier on firm snow, partially following an old faded track. Then I took the connection to Curtis Glacier and Hells highway to the Sulphide, snow in this section was begining to soften and allowed steeper skinning. The weather was following its forecast, but the clouds seemed to thicken as I skinned towrds and part way up the summit pyramid where I switched to step kicking up the mash potatoe proto corn to the incredible summit. Views needless to say were incredble...
I had to downclimb a 3 foot rock band 5 feet below the exact summit, but other than that I was able to ski to the entrance of the chute (skiiers right). The snow was very fun to ski, a little on the manky side, but only a little and I skiied fall line down to the Sulfide arcing big turns to the entrance of the South West face.
I met two skiiers Eric and Shawn skinning up the Sulphide, they were stoked about the good corn conditions.
Here they are skinning towrds the summit:
I was a little nervous about dropping the SW face blind, as there are extensive cliffs at the bottom which might prove difficult to get through. However I was prepared to epic hard if need be, and I had studied various pictures, so I had a pretty good idea of what was below me. I found ripper corn dropping into the 4500' face...
I had to "use the force" as I skiied lower down, there were many big cliffs below, and I skiied several very steep and little chutes through trees as I weaved my way down thinking it will go, it will go. I came across some bear tracks - strange in such an area... With a little bit of luck, I found a way through the cliffs, although I did have to pack the skiis for a 40' stretch down some some steep rocky trees, safe passage of which was only possible because of vines and pines to use hang on to.
The light was dwindleing, but I was not concerned, just very stoked to have skiied the face in such good conditions, and not haveing to epic hard - getting cliffed out at the bottom..
The arm was a mile or so and 2500' above, but the snow was moist, which made steep skinning possible.
I attained the arm as the last of the glowing red sun set, an experience wich will stay with me till the end of my days.
I skiied down the arm and through the resort and back to the truck on mostly manky frozen crusts with the aid of headlamp. Super stoked to have had such a rewarding smooth going alpine day. The same can not be said about an experience a few days later...