February 21, 2009, Alta Traverse
I've wondered about Alta ever since I noticed the SW slope from the other Snoqualmie peaks. That curiosity was finally satisfied yesterday when John Mauro, Ross Freeman and I traversed the peak, climbing the SW slope and descending the north side back to Gold Creek. The basin below the SW slope is pretty wild -- deep gullies and many snapped trees from the massive avalanches that rip down the face made us feel as though we were trespassing somewhere skiers are not welcome. The ski descent was mostly soft settled powder mixed with some breakable and wind scoured rain crust. Ski and boot crampons were useful on the ascent. My altimeter recorded an extra 600 ft of elevation gain in Gold Creek on the ski in and out, a testament to how poorly the valley is suited for quick travel.
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