March 31, 2019, Big Chiwaukum NW Couloir

3/31/19
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Posted by arb on 4/3/19 1:50am
A friend and I made the long trek into Chiwaukum via whitepine and wildhorse trails on Sunday to try and catch the skiers left couloir (longer, cooler looking one) in good conditions.  We debated going in via the top, but we wanted to prioritize getting into the couloir in what may have been our last weekend window with low elevation snow pack.  The ski in was long but mostly efficient, there is still plenty of snow on the road from the bible camp to the trail head, the trail in whitepine canyon is melting out fast and required a few skis off transitions.  This will be hiking boot territory after this weeks rains.

Plenty of snow to climb up the wildhorse drainage, but the creek crossings are just starting to melt out and the window for efficient travel is closing fast.

The NW basin on Chiwaukum was still pretty cold and firm mid-day, its further behind in the corn cycle than other stuff I have visited at that elevation.  The couloir held cold powderish snow, and presented great booting and good skiing conditions.  The skiers right couloir can be easily entered from the top with a side slip right now, we didn't ski the skiers left but from the bottom it looked like a rap or downclimbing would be required to get in from the top. 

There is still a ton of snow on the slabs above the couloir, and the massive NW cornices are still looming large - if you head in this way later in April be aware that the NW face hasn't really started to shed yet.

The price of admission is super high, but the line is really aesthetic and fun, and you can't beat the wild emptiness of this part of the cascades.  Also, there are just so many times that you can stare at this line from the backside of Steven's Pass without making the trip to ski it!

The trip was about 19 miles round trip from the bible camp.

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arb
2019-04-03 08:50:21