Home > Trip Reports > Feb 14, 2009, Humpback Mtn 5174' North Bowl Glades

Feb 14, 2009, Humpback Mtn 5174' North Bowl Glades

2/14/09
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Posted by John Morrow on 2/14/09 10:25am
I finally got to this run after looking at it forever from I-90.  We've all seen it, many have wondered about.  Most years it and its parallel glade to the west either doesn't have enough snow, like, kinda, this year.  Or often with the deep snow years it is littered with slide debris off the big cliffs above.

Jake came over from Leavenworth for the first of hopefully three days of skiing back to back, so we wanted  a one run day with less than 4000 vertical and this fit the bill.  I've been up Humpback several times before but usually for corn on a different aspect.  Our approach choice left something to be desired (blue line) but we new there were other ways down if necessary and we wanted to assess snow conditions on the north aspect that we intended to ski. 

It did not disappoint.  We dropped off the summit and in via the NE ridge (red line).  A nicer drop in exists on the NW ridge at the same altitude (4950 ft.)  Ours was Very Steep, about 25 feet of 50+ degree booting into the slope with vege belays.  Prior we contemplated skiing the East slopes but they had a breakable sun crust.  North aspect was the way to go. 
From 5000 feet down to 4000 the snow was excellent powder.   Jake thought the best of the season, on a variable base that we rarely scraped.
From 4000 feet to 3200 feet was 4" light new on a very firm lightly textured rain crust.
From 3200 to 2800 4" powder over still firm but we were seriously dodging a tangle of alder.  (Completely covered in a good snow year.)
From 2800 to 2300 at the Iron Horse Trail we booted down thin but solid snow.  Along the Iron Horse and then direct descent though the woods to the Interstate interchange.

Great day and finally got into that big North basin of Humpback.

Oh man John,

I've dreamed about that slope so many times....

Nice work... I was staring at that exact line on my way down from the pass this afternoon.  Thanks for the report.

John - went up to the North Glades on Humpbackyesterday and found great snow again as you described.  It was way better than what I found higher up on Snoqualmie Mountain on Saturday.  Quite a bit of work walking through the low elevation sections, but well worth the effort.  The north bowl is well protected from the wind and held powder better than I expected - it was definitely worth the second lap.  We were able to ski off the summit and through the steeper section you described. 

Thanks for blazing the trail the day before and doing the recon.  Despite how good it looks from the freeway, we wouldn't have headed up there without your inspiration and report.  Can't believe how long you kept the skis on... we booted most of it.




BigRed,
Great adventure yesterday in an area that is totally new to me.
Here are some videos from this tour. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJYiVy8X4Y0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vmq7a-X2I68
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w-aIDued5Y


author=jamin link=topic=12301.msg51518#msg51518 date=1234836221]
BigRed,
Great adventure yesterday in an area that is totally new to me.
Here are some videos from this tour. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJYiVy8X4Y0
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vmq7a-X2I68
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w-aIDued5Y




Gents,
Kudos to the great effort!  We didn't have an operating camera between us and your videos really give the essence of such a beautiful place that feels way wilder than the fact of how it looms over the highway.  Jake kept saying today, "Man, we needed to save a bit of energy for these last two days but we shoulda took a second lap on Humpback on Saturday!"
If we had the common sense to have given up on the skinning like you guys did, then we may have had that extra energy afterall!
Thanks for the good words.
John

John, you mentioned a bushwhack on your route, is this a minor thing or are we talking a significant brush bash?

author=garyabrill link=topic=12301.msg51608#msg51608 date=1234935176]
John, you mentioned a bushwhack on your route, is this a minor thing or are we talking a significant brush bash?


Hi Gary,
It's minor.
The key is to take the Iron Horse trail west to the creek crossing (1st culvert railroad grade viaduct) that drains the basin.  It is signed with a name but I cannot remember it.  Reverse back 100 yards where you can enter the forested cut bank.  Contour up and into the creek basin.  Steep but not brushy forest.  In a tenth of a mile you are walking on snow for the rest of the way.  In a good snow year I think you could ski all the way to here!  When the alder gets thick in the bottom take a nice old growth rib to your left up.  Re enter the snow and boot through the alder at the toe of the slope until open enough to ski.  Take ski crampons, although I am sure I really didn't need to tell you that!
I got fond of saying the past few days, "man, if Humpback was only 1000 feet higher, it'd be as popular as the north side of Mt. Snoqualmie!"  Kinda hope it doesn't become so anyway....eh, there's alot of stuff up there.  I love the east glades in corn on a bright and early Spring day.


John

I think the sign said Rainy Creek, but not certain.  If I were to go again I would be tempted to go up the forest just to the right (west) side of the drainage.  If there was more snow, I would prefer to be on the right side of the avalanche path most of the way. 

You could walk on snow to just within about 100 yards of the iron horse trail.  John found a nice open path for his downtrack between iron horse and tinkham road as well.

Peter

Mike and have I skied the West part quite a bit - easy approach via the road but just long enough for it to probably remain unpopular. Oddly enough, a season or two back the road was plowed in the middle of winter so we could just park near the base of the big slide paths and ski right back to the car, there were unmarked govt suvs cruising up the road past us. I have no idea what they were about back there but we could see their headlights going a fair way out to the bowls beyond that are usually only available in spring. By the time we thought HB would be the best bet for snow again the road had again become it's usual slog.

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feb-14-2009-humpback-mtn-5174-north-bowl-glades
John Morrow
2009-02-14 18:25:40