Home > Trip Reports > April 25, 2003, Snoqualmie Mtn, Crooked Couloir

April 25, 2003, Snoqualmie Mtn, Crooked Couloir

WA Snoqualmie Pass
Posted by wolfs on 4/25/03 5:46am
Fresh snow on a Friday once again enticed my up Alpental way. This time I went with my brother, and was chided for my poor skinning technique and generally poor pace. Sigh. I am no alpine ubermensch like my brother, that is quite apparent, one reason I often find myself going on solo tours. We could have used an earlier start, as the Phantom Slide was enticingly powdery as we ascended, but turned to heavy mush by the time we got down it, although 'earlier' might have meant 4 AM given how long the whole circuit took. Once in the couloir, our first turns sent off some healthy but predictable sloughs down to an icy layer about 5 inches underneath on the first steep part, but thereafter there were lots of nice turns on north facing snow that had stayed in good shape thru the morning. Some rocks in the bottom neck of the couloir. Another group was in the Slot Couloir, and they probably slid that down to ice as well. The escape ascent out of the north bowl was pretty miserable for about the last 100 feet as it narrowed and steepened, I ended up having to boot it (poor skin technique redux).
SW face of Snoq and the Slide were sending various wet sloughs as the day went on, and many cliffs were spewing rocks and spindrift, it was pretty warm. None of slides were really that big and they moved pretty slow. A general lack of consolidation on the s facing slope makes it seem unlikely that it will corn up before melting out, but maybe we'll get lucky.
PS the alpental slopes had plenty of tracks, enough to make me wonder if someone fired up a lift or cat for some post season festivities.
How is the snowpack holding up down low in the forest, towards the bottom of the Phantom slide path?  Still enough snow to ski around the rocks and stumps?  Any guesses on how long it will last?  I'm thinking about some tours near Alpental soon and am curious how long it will last.

You will be booting through at least two minicliff bands at the bottom of the slide, probably a minimum of 200 vertical feet that there's no way you can ski at least if you do it the way I'm familar with, leaving the waterfall just to your right. The watercourses that feed the waterfalls are also sounding alarmingly close to the surface  just above there and might soon make annoying barriers to skinning the slide. I've heard tell that there is another way down these cliff bands on the downhill side of the waterfall but the snow pack is really getting edgy one way or another.

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2003-04-25 12:46:43