Mt Deception/Royal basin
Joe, Kyle, Silvia and I spent this past weekend camping in Royal Basin and skiing the NE Chute on Deception and sampling some of the other amazing terrain in the area. It felt silly to choose an objective that would require 4 miles of hiking considering how fat our snowpack is and that is had just snowed down to 2k but we were all game to check out a new place. The telemetry at Hurricane Ridge looked promising with new snow, cold temps and low wind so we went in with cautious optimism.
The hike starts in a beautiful old growth forest along the river and we were making good time until the post holing started at around 4k. Luckily we had a group ahead of us taking care of the hard work. Once we were able to start skinning the travel went fairly smooth up to Royal Basin. Once in the Basin we dropped our overnight gear and made our way over to the NE Chute of Mount Deception. The low angle slopes at the base were wind board and sun affected but once on the steeper apron there was a quick transition to deep powder. We were able to skin to the base of the chute and then wallowed our way to the summit ridge. An easy boot up the ridge got us to the summit where we enjoyed amazing views of the surroundings peaks. The skiing in the chute was mostly good with a few chunky sections and then the apron skied amazingly. We scooted back to camp and settled in for a cold night.
The next morning we skinned onto the ridge to the east of Snifter Spire and skied three different runs off the north aspect of the ridge. The snow quality was excellent but required attentive sluff management. We were reluctant to leave with so much good skiing still to be had but a long exit and drive back to Seattle was waiting for us. We made good time exiting despite some very icy sections of trail that forced a technical butt scoots.
I’ve often overlooked the Olympics as a ski destination, usually favoring other areas in the Cascades if I am looking to make a long drive. This trip has definitely opened my eyes to the amazing potential the peninsula has to offer. We also nailed great weather and snow on a year with a great snowpack. So perhaps we’ve set the bar too high!
Any of the nicer looking photos were taken by Joe.