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Mt Deception NE Chute

WA Olympics
Posted by Rob M on 3/26/24 12:57pm

Short trip report: Walked up the upper dungeness trail to royal basin on Saturday, 3/23, in rain. Encountered snow halfway along straight below grey wolf ridge. Began skinning a mile or two before lower meadows camp. Camped out in upper basin directly below NE Chute in a thick fog. Up at 3 am Sunday, weather popped blue, better than forecasted. moving at 4, summit via northeast chute by 715, back at tent at 8. Skied in fresh powder. Harsh trudge out. Photos at bottom

Also: if anyone ever wants a shred partner my Instagram is bootzonmahfeet



Much more verbose trip report:

After work ended at 430 on Friday the 22nd, I arrived at home and began my hemming and hawing about how to handle the weekend. My buddy had called me at lunch and bailed on our deception plans(who forgets their mom’s 60th?!) and the thought of going out to royal basin solo had a procrastinatory effect on me. Around ten pm, I sacked up and began the drive out to sequim. A large factor motivating me was the knowledge of how good NE aspects were after a great ride off mt ellinor the previous week. Arriving at trailhead at about midnight, I wondered what the heck I was doing. Clouds loomed overhead, but held their rain for now. The stroll up the trail began at twelve thirty, and ended at one a.m. after reaching the royal creek cabin. I put up my tent, blinked, and it was suddenly 6 am and pouring rain. Already beginning to get wet and have doubts about the weather up high, I packed up. No matter, I was here and I was going to try. The forecast called for light snow up high today, and some clouds in the morning. The walk up the trail was long and beautiful, my heavy bag emphasizing the length part. After postholing through about 4 avalanche paths off grey wolf ridge, I hung my hikers in a tree and began skinning/carrying until the skis didn’t come off again, sometime between grey wolf ridge and lower meadows camp. Some combat skinning through tight trees out me into the upper basin at around 3 pm. I was all alone right beneath deception’s NE chute, and could see nothing but clouds. Lonely and doubtful I would ski the next day, I busied myself with camp digging, fire making, food eating, and tea drinking. The bouldering possibilities in royal basin are mind boggling. Sleep came at around 8 pm, still in a cloud, still wet from the days walk. At 3 am, my alarm rang. The view outside shocked me. In the moonlight, the NE chute stood proud and full, with inches of fresh snow from yesterdays cloud. I sprung into action, drank coffee, donned my delightedly light backpack, and began skinning up the steep apron by 345, ski crampons engaged. My splitboard carried me securely to 6500 feet, by 5 am. Here, I put on crampons and pulled out an ice axe, as the slope began hanging out in the 45 degree range. I booted through around 3-12 inches of thick, stable, fresh powder. It was slightly chalky and wind affected in the upper chute. For how soft the snow was, it booted very well. I felt secure and had no avalanche concerns on the cold morning slope. Sunrise happened just before I topped out in the chute, and it was breathtaking. The top of the chute was reached at 7, and the summit at 715. I converted at the top of the chute, and dropped in with a heavy ski cut. A small 3-4 inch wind slab popped, slid ten feet, then the strong wind blew it back up the chute. Satisfied, I made cautions, epic turns in the upper chute while avoiding my sluff. I opened er up once out of sluff range, and cruised blower pow turns all the way to the bottom of the line. It was done, and had gone as smoothly as I could have wanted. I felt happy that I had taken a chance on weather, and was reassured about my mountaineering and snow evaluation skills I’ve been working on over the past few seasons. Although a bit lonely, this long solo trip to a committed objective was unforgettable. I hung around at my tent for the next two hours, not wanting to leave the now cloudless, epic basin. But, like it is every Sunday, fantasy land had to be escaped. Boarding out of the basin was a BATTLE. A decision to try to traverse high below mt Clark and walkinshaw resulted in a two hour effort of boarding, touring, booting, getting cliffed, and general bushwhacking difficulty to reach lower meadow camp. That’s too long. From here, the skinning was easy, and then the walking was too. It’s melting fast, much of saturdays deep postholing through avalanche paths was pleasant trail strolling. I was back to the car at 4 pm on the dot. I had seen no one else since Friday night. Two weekends in a row of killer NE descents in the Olympic mtns. Great climbing, even better shredding. Happy spring!


My best view of the chute on Saturday evening


A night mode shot from the skin up the apron


Looking down my booter near the top


A summit sunrise


My up and down tracks in the Chute


Ritz Carlton


Endless skiing to do in royal basin.

Reply to this TR

Rob M
2024-03-26 19:57:51