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AlpineK

[TR] Snoqualmie Pass - Chair Peak, Mt. Catherine, Mt Snoqualmie 12/30/2010

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Trip: Snoqualmie Pass - Chair Peak, Mt. Catherine, Mt Snoqualmie

 

Date: 12/30/2010

 

Trip Report:

Friends and I spent three days skiing around Snoqualmie Pass. Snow conditions ranging from killer to funky. I'd say killer beat out funky each day, and the route lineup hit some of my favorites.

 

On December 30th we skied the North Face of Chair Peak from the bottom of the climbing route to Snow Lake. The next day our route of choice was the NW aspect of Mt. Catherine. Finally to celebrate the start of 2011 we skied the Slot Couloir on Mt. Snoqualmie.

 

North Face of Chair Peak, December 30 2010

 

The 30th was the first sunny day after snow storms dumped their goods. We left the upper Alpental parking lot just after 8 AM and followed the groomed cat track then other ski tracks up to the east bowl under Chair Peak.

 

Our group included David Parker, Tansaafl, and Jeff Hansel.

 

Above Source Lake

13-Chair-Basin-Climb-IMG_35.gif

 

Looking back at the lake

16-View-to-Source-IMG_3538.gif

 

In the east bowl we met up with the fellows who broke trail and thanked them then started setting our own tracks.

 

Shadows of skiers

21-Shadows-East-Bowl-IMG_35.gif

 

Here's a sketch of our tracks to the north face.

21A-Chair_2-crossing-IMG_36.gif

 

The last traverse was exciting. We tried to space ourselves out from what looked like safe spots to the next location appearing to be a good stopping spot.

 

Traverse to NE Ridge of Chair

22-Crossing-to-NE-Ridge-IMG.gif

 

Looking at Snoqualmie Mountain from the traverse

32-Snoqualmie2-IMG_3554.gif

 

Tanstaafl waiting to cross

34-Traverse-NE-Ridge-IMG_35.gif

 

At the base of the NE Ridge we skied out on the north face to a point under the North Face climbing route and checked out our path ahead.

37-Snow-Lake2-IMG_3559.gif

 

Looking back at Mt. Snoqualmie

40-Snoqualmie-IMG_3562.gif

 

From here things were downward bound. I was the first sucker to ski a stretch, but we traded off the position of front man.

 

Here is a video I took of the rest of the ski. Keep in mind I'm a rookie video editor ;)

 

[video:vimeo]

 

Edit: the YouTube version of the video

[video:youtube]

 

 

We skied over an icy layer about 8-inches under the surface. Conditions looked reasonable, but I did cut a small slab on a role in the ski line.

 

On the way out I had a great time looking at snow covered trees.

57-Snow-Covered-Tree_Panora.gif

 

Looking back at our tracks on Snow Lake

54-Ridge-Climb-IMG_3576.gif

 

Unfortunately Dave and Jeff couldn't ski the next day, but skiing the face was a blast!

 

 

Mt. Catherine NW Trees, December 31 2010

 

Tanstaafl and I decided to ski something we thought was slightly easier on the 31st. One other factor we observed on the drive to the pass was wind pumping plumes of snow off the tops of peaks on the drive to the pass. Neither of us had skied Catherine in a few years, and tree skiing seemed like the best way to stay out of the wind.

 

We spent between 30 seconds and a minute on the summit ridge then headed back to the wind free zone and skiing.

 

Mt Catherine

3-Mt-Catherine-IMG_3595.gif

 

Summit ridge trees

11-A-Grouped-Summit-Tree_Pa.gif

 

20-Summit-Rainier-View-IMG_.gif

 

21-Summit-Trees-IMG_3613.gif

 

We ran into an ice crust on top of new snow. The crust was quite a bit thicker than anything we ran into while skiing Chair Peak. That didn't stop us from finding good lines to ski.

 

23-Ski-Line_kellie-IMG_3615.gif

 

26-Ski-Chute-IMG_3618.gif

 

We were both happy with the day, and happy to go someplace warm and rest up for day number three.

 

 

Mt. Snoqualmie Slot Couloir, January 1 2011

 

Jeff Hansel rejoined Tanstaafl for day three of skiing. We drove up to the Alpental parking lot and ran into Lisa who has posted on CC.

 

Lisa told us a mutual friend went to ski the Slot Couloir on the 30th while we were skiing Chair Peak. Apparently our friend bailed when he ran into a group with ropes in the couloir. Apparently the group felt the conditions were bad and or too icy for a safe descent. I figured at the worst we'd ski the Phantom Slide again, and that wasn't a horrible consolation prize ;)

 

In any case we found a nice uptrack to the entrance to the couloir. Unlike the day before wind was gone. You could get radiant heat and not seek out shelter!

 

1-Alpental_Panorama2A.gif

 

At the top of the Slot Jeff and I scoped it out. We saw an icy layer, but it didn't seem excessively thick. From experience on the previous days I figured it was a thin layer you could punch through to powder below. Tanstaafl didn't have much experience with steep couloir skiing, so we talked things out.

 

In the end Jeff took the lead on descent skiing from safe spot to safe spot. Tanstaafl followed next wearing a climbing harness in case the sketch factor elevated beyond her comfort level. I followed last with a short rope in my pack prepared to set an anchor and belay if necessary.

 

As things turned out skiing went just fine. Variable conditions for sure. We found a thin icy crust on powder in places and wind packed snow in other spots. Unfortunately we didn't find any killer pow spots, but it was tons of fun.

 

Tanstaafl on her first Slot Couloir descent

7-Kellie-First-Slot-Run-IMG.gif

 

Jeff rippin it up

9-Slot3-Jeff-IMG_3627.gif

 

Looking up the couloir

10-Slot4-view_up-IMG_3628.gif

 

Lower down the Slot

11-Slot5-IMG_3629.gif

 

Looking up from the bottom of the run

 

12-Snoqualmie-NW-View_Panor.gif

 

After the run there is the climb out

20-Climb-Out2-IMG_3638.gif

 

We made it most of the way to the notch on skis, but there was some boot packing involved

21-Climb-Out-Review-IMG_363.gif

 

Following the climb out skiing down the Phantom in the sun was nice. I suppose I could bitch about all the other skiers that chopped it up, but I think I'll let it slide this time ;)

24-Ski-Out2-IMG_3642.gif

 

 

All and all this group of trips was a great way to celebrate the end of the decade!

 

Gear Notes:

Other than standard bc ski gear we took some gear for some small scale belaying and protection, but we never used it.

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Hah, when Feck says "not much experience" he means "none." Thanks all for a killer three days. When can we do it again??

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thanks for the video. It really captured the feel.

 

It has been too long since I have been out skiing off of 90... maybe next year (in japan this year)...

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