Home > Trip Reports > 19 April 2015, Goode Mtn NW couloir open 4 business

19 April 2015, Goode Mtn NW couloir open 4 business

WA Cascades East Slopes North
Posted by hedonaut on 4/22/15 6:18am

The relatively early opening of SR20 has yielded a surprisingly good late ski season this year.  The lower elevations generally suffer from below-avg snowpack; but the slightly above-mean precip totals for the Rainy Pass Snotel encouraged a look at Goode, which sports a lot of high N-facing relief to slake the ski-mountaineering thirst.  I was hopeful that NW-facing aspects would hold acceptable snow on a weekend fraught with warming concerns.  A view of Goode and Storm King as we crested the col SE of Black Peak:

And a picture of the upper half of the face, courtesy of John Scurlock. We skied the NW couloir, which drops down from the high (8700') NW col immediately right of the summit block--maybe half of the business district is visible:

The NW col is a special place to collect your wits.  A tall drink of cool water, the line below sports quite steep skiing for 1500+', then another ~4000' to our bivy in the hole of Bridge Creek.  Recommended.  And, with this week's low-ish snow levels, sometime soon you folks might like to have a look at this and/or the line (east face/gully) Sky and Ross established to the east of the summit, back in our previous "worst ski year" of 2005.

I was fortunate to recruit Eric Noll (hereafter, EZ-E) for this 3-day mission and adventure.  Together we made a lot of good decisions, and a couple minor bad ones, and had a blast in a spectacular setting.  We scored a supersweet bivy on an aberrant patch of dry ground next to a big tree right on the N Fork Bridge Creek.  As hinted above, we approached by passing Black Peak* and dropping down to Woody then Grizzly then finally Bridge creek.  A short portage of skis required at around 3400'.  We returned and here EZ gets credit for a great idea via Grizzly-->Falls Creek, Last Chance Pass, and Maple Creek-->Pass. 

This tour is an instant classic ;) through inspiring terrain.

We enjoyed settled powder for the majority of the steep and sustained upper section, owing to its high, relatively sheltered, and NW aspect.  A thrilling ski!  The sun does get on the line in parts lower down, but there are a couple route options to mitigate exposure to sun effects.  And still lower we enjoyed hippie corn skiing.

EZ taking a route option lower down:
Here's EZ following some encouraging powdery booting:

Last climbing shots.  Here's an EZ pic of me working up steep snow near the col:

And EZ finishing.

A shot looking south through the col at Spider and others:

Time to ski.  The upper conditions were variably smooth and textured pow, with copious sluffing running far and fast management required.  EZ sends some down from the top: 

EZ apparently stoked for the lower turns to come:

Out of the business district, briefly weave through a couple avy paths (a big slab ripped out to immediately east of our line), then tons o€™ corn.  Our line trends up and left from EZ (you can see the crown to the left of our route):

Memorable ski, topped with celebratory comestibles and combustibles--simple gentlemanly pleasures including good food, cigar and music by the creek, soaking in the day and the magnificence of peaks around us.  Adventure fix accomplished.

Skinning the scenic Falls Creek portion of our Monday return, we could look back at our line and other sources of inspiration:

Get it while (and if) it lasts!

More pics here.

*BTW thanks Crispin, Duane, Teresa and ___ for the cruisy skintrack up Black ...

steep and deep and just plain ole grand! inspiring stuff, thank you!

Gnar-lometer pegged? Check. Super-duper crazy s#*t & elegant tour.

That looks like a bangin' good adventure. Excellent report, gnarly route & photos too. Rock on!

Such a burly line and incredible pics too!  Was this a first (known) descent?  Certainly won't be the last after this TR!

Instant classic for sure. Nice work, Erics!

Thanks for the grand trip report, looks fantastic, although front pointing for turns is past my comfort zone!

Inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

Nicely done! I heard a rumor that something Rad was gonna go down on Goode.

Cooler than a moose & twice as hairy!!

Geez, now I know where everyone's going next weekend  ::)

Awesome trip and slick writing, Eric. Once again making the incredible credible.

Dave, I sure hope the general population of TAY readers realizes how gnarly this trip is, and that it's only suitable for a select few.

Very cool, strong work!  Thanks for the inspiring photos.

Way to score E-$ and EZ-E!!!
True alpine gangstaz

Dave, I sure hope the general population of TAY readers realizes how gnarly this trip is, and that it's only suitable for a select few.

Some routes are deceptive in their gnarliness; it'd be impossible to climb this one (or, indeed, reach the base of the route) without getting a clue. Only the dangers of hidden firm snow/ice and warming-driven instability are invisible to the untrained eye.

Eric's photos from the North side of Black looked even steeper. Climbing the adjoining ridge the following summer left me thinking, "Those guys skied that?!"

I'm glad to know that there are people who will ski things that are steeper than I'll ever go, and even more glad to know that they've come home to share their experience.

Another one bites the dust.

Now where?

Wowzers!! Love that shot of EZ traversing at top. Congrats again you two.

author=tabski link=topic=34176.msg141025#msg141025 date=1429810595]
Another one bites the dust.

Now where?

Such a great weekend and write-up -- thanks E$

Been feeding off of the stoke of a grand north cascades adventure, and trying to feed the cranking metabolism it left me with all week. 

We remarked several times of the fortune in what has seemed an unfortunate year... early highway opening opened an unexpectedly bigger window to get deep in the north cascades before the big warmups that make that an even more formidable task. 

Looks like the cool temps this week and maybe some precip should keep the window open a little longer for further adventures?

Now when I worked at the bank we used to have one of these and play a round of golf on Fridays...

Good style!  Thanks for posting such a special adventure.

Congratulations on a safe and successful trip.

I don't think that couloir gets climbed very often. I climbed the upper part of the couloir in June 1985 with Mark Bebie. We did what Beckey's green guide calls the 1978 Mendenhall-Ferrens variation, which climbs the ice sheet of the lower NE Face, then traverses rightward into the couloir. From the NW notch, we continued to the summit via the NW Buttress route. (Beckey lists our route as different from the 1978 climb, but I don't think it was. Unless Mendenhall and Ferrens didn't summit.)

In the past, I've called this the North Couloir, rather than the Northwest Couloir. Somehow the name Northwest Couloir feels confusing being located adjacent to what Beckey calls the NE Face. Maybe the problem is with Beckey's nomenclature, not yours.

In any case, I'll add this to my list of noteworthy Cascade ski descents.

I wonder if the lower couloir that you climbed is a new climbing variation. Beckey only describes a route that traverses in from the NE Face ice sheet. (That's the slope with the fracture line in your 11th picture.) The lower couloir may melt out later in the season. For that matter, I think the entire face is probably a lot leaner these days than it was in 1985. Here are a few old pictures.

Traversing from the lower NE Face into the North Couloir:

Mark Bebie climbing the North Couloir:

Mark Bebie approaching the NW notch (what Beckey calls the Goode-West Tower Gap):

Awesome! I was looking at that line last time I was below that face. Very awe-inspiring place to be. Way to go guys.

Thanks all for sharing the stoke, it was too much for my puny heart to contain, glad you enjoyed the story.  I forgot to add the sad ending: skiing the hard snow through the final trees to the Rainy Pass trailhead, a random hard trough spelled the end of my trusty Wailer 99s.  One of the skis broke in front of the toepiece  :'( -- although to its credit I didn't notice 'til we were back at the car.  Nothing a good cry, a beer and a cigar couldn't fix.

Amar: haha, no thanks to whassup Willis!  There are other Rainier lines to ski first...

Nice pics Lowell, and thanks for the historical perspective and additional info.--your pics do seem to show robust snow up high with very little in the valley!  I should have looked at my green guide re: names.  Goode has that massive, broad faceted face, primarily oriented NE.  So it does seem a little off to call that part of the face just W of the summit's plumb line "the NE Face"; plus it faces more due N, so I think NF would be more appropriate--but whatever.  

Calling our line the NW couloir seemed reasonable by virtue of its position to the NW of the summit, and proximity to the nearby NW Buttress.  But N Couloir works for me too--that's the primary aspect for the line.

To reduce confusion, perhaps we should call it "And the Ugly" Couloir, as in the Goode, the Bad(e), and the Ugly.

I admit that I'm having a hard time seeing the line you skied, partially due to the fact that it looks impossibly steep in the photos.  Also, having thrutched up the NE Butt route a few summers ago, I can't imagine many skiable lines on that face of Goode, holy crap!  Can you draw the route on a photo?

Anyway, congrats on a very cool FD on a sweet mountain in a spectacular area! 8)

The Coda to that story is almost as mind blowing as the terrain up high.  The ski breaking could have happened at worse times during your trip.  I'm sure you've reflected on that in the cold dark night. 

Inspired skiing.  Great write up.  Memorable.

gnarly...  the last pic in your picasa album with the caption "our line drops from the col immediately right of the summit.":

i don't see anything remotely skiable right of the summit!

It's the lower col that appears to have a cornice in that pic, and the bottom is obscured by the cloud.

Great line, duders.

sweet capture you two! (or is it rapture?)

I like the golf club idea Eric, why not do it all, a little post Goode hwy 20 golf excursion to go along with the cigar...

wait.  that's almost as bad as daveb's comment.

Excellent! Nice to meet you guys. We figured you'd pull it off.

Wow!  You guys put the hard in hardcore!  We kept looking over there wondering how it was going.  Awesome to hear it went well.

Too bad about the ski.  Hopefully DPS will take care of you.  I doubt they would help me if my 99s broke due to the quantity of mounting holes.

I've been looking at that face for decades and never thought I'd see a ski descent. Strong work - congratulations.

Fantastic you guys and thanks for sharing the inspiring TR!

The definitions of "skiable" and "climbable" are always changing.  It's very cool to be able to be on a site that has people pushing the limits and still finding ways to  do "new" things in areas that have been played in for decades. Congratulations on a beautiful, impossible looking line! You should get free beers for some time!!!

Wild line, in a season of highs and lows.
Cool to see you guys ski your dream line.
In pure and human powered style. Under the
Radar, just like the mighty North Cascades.

If I hear that either of you guys is planning on skiing Whazzup Willis, I'm going to pull the starters out of your cars....
Congrats on a great line and write-up.  You guys "know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em".  Glad this one worked out.

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2015-04-22 13:18:12