Home > Trip Reports > May 10, 2003, Red Mountain (5,890')

May 10, 2003, Red Mountain (5,890')

WA Snoqualmie Pass
Posted by MW88888888 on 5/10/03 7:14am
Total vertical: 2,910 vf. 1,940 vf continuous skiing on the West Face
Trip length: About 5.5 miles.

Ron and I left the Alpine Club parking lot on the Alpental road at 6:45 am.  Skies were overcast, but the air temps were warm.  We quickly found the path up into Commonwealth Basin, and were pleased to see it was consolidated and travel was easy.  The snow was still very deep in the basin, but the flat terrain would bar any non-stop descent from the upper canyon.  Perhaps skis would have been a better choice today?  We easily found the log crossing once in the basin proper, and no epics were required to cross the stream.  

About 1 hour later we were checking our topo map, gauging our progress and scanning the sky for breaks in the thick clouds which might give us a hint of our destination.  We had been breaking trail since crossing the log bridge and as with all new terrain, doubts were plaguing our minds.  

We made our decision and crossed the stream once more at an opportune time, and began climbing a large gully and avy path.  Just as we began climbing in earnest, the clouds parted and showed we were dead on track, smiles were exchanged and new hope for our tour restored.   Slowly we kicked steps in the ever increasing pitch of the south face, feeling good that the avalanche path we followed was choked with old debris, and we were early enough in the day that we would be gone before more could come down.  Once out on the face proper, the clouds began to recede down valley and the views around us appeared.  Magnificent.  

As we climbed, we could hear three climbers in the valley below us, otherwise, we had the valley to ourselves.  On the summit, we were amazed at the stillness and ogled the 360 degree views afforded by the pyramid shaped peak we were standing on top of.

The choice of decent was easy: the West Face had just started to receive sunlight and the upper crust was softening nicely.  Ron dropped in first, and from his smile, I knew it was good.   It was.  We frolicked down the steep slope and worked our way back toward the avy path.  Down lower the snow was much softer and oozed along with us in the steeper sections.  We took off the boards at the stream crossing after nearly 2,000 vertical of continuous steep skiing.  

The slog out, well, was a slog.  We arrived back at the car at 12:30.
If one was on skis, would you call it ski-able, semi-ski-able etc back towards the parking area....or within X distance ?  May I also ask, when you reached the heart of the basin flats and were searching around to cross the creeks, and find your up-track to Red, did it look like there was enough cover to comfortably cross over farther W: to the base of short rise where one climbs a mini-gulley to the Guye Peak-Cave Ridge area (Mt. Snoqualmie destination)?  Those flats are bad without some snow on them.  Thanks very much.  

Yes, ye old die-hard Vermonters would probably have skied all the way back to the trailhead, although the lower trees below commonwealth would be late season crashing at best.  Skis would have been the nicest way to travel. And would have meant only booting out the two times to cross the stream.

Now, your question about the Snoqualmie approach crossing over the next stream west.  Looks like it would have required another boot out.  The walls above the streams were 6 feet deep, so getting down to the stream and back up the other side would be the crux.  But where there 's a will...I wasn't looking to cross so maybe you could find a bridge?  Or maybe not...regardless, it would be an adventure.

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2003-05-10 14:14:13