Silver Star Mt.

WA Cascades East Slopes North
Posted by fuzz on 5/3/21 10:00am

Fabulous outing and couldn't recommend this route highly enough.

Long drive (when it's still in prime condition and Washington Pass still closed) and bigness of the route probably keep the crowds down, but otherwise you would think this would be packed. 

Incredible setting and really neat terrain to ski, from open glacier at the top down to rollers through the larches into the evergreens and even a final open snowfield near the bottom.

Up high you'll think you're somewhere in the Chamonix Aiguilles...sent a photo to a friend, who replied, "remind me where you went again or I'm just going to think that's the Petit Grepon..."  The Aiguille du Chardonnet > Wine Spires connection is apt.  I skied up and over the Col du Chardonnet on the Haute Route and approaching the Silver Star col is the closest thing to that I've ever experienced in the Cascades in terms of visuals and vibe.

At the top it was a couple inches of new overnight..."dust on crust"...and the last fun skiable section down low was decent corn.

It was one of those days where all the conditions lined up.  Other than not having boot crampons, which kept us from going the last few hundred feet to the col proper, the skinning was firm and consistent and the skiing down was good to excellent.  We got lucky!

After this outing the ski crampons are definitely going in the bag for every trip.  They made the last section we ascended fun instead of barely doable and terrifying.

"After this outing the ski crampons are definitely going in the bag for every trip.  They made the last section we ascended fun instead of barely doable and terrifying."


I, too, came to this conclusion years back. They are the most absolutely stupid piece of gear to leave behind for weight in retrospect. Literally 100 feet of using them makes up for the weight penalty 10 times over. Ski crampons are damn near cheating. I LOVE them.

Nice work! how long until you found consistent snow for skinning?

@eatskisleep, there was decent snow for skinning right off the road...had to skin across a few bits of dirt at the very bottom but otherwise put the skis on at the edge of the road and didn't take them off til the high point. It was cool overnight and looks to stay that way this week and so I guess the snow will probably hang in there for a bit.

However, conditions were marginal in the bottom 500 vertical feet and this was more of a prob on the way down, when we had to pick our way through the trees to find the best lines and snow patches. Partner Matt broke through one snow bridge across some logs and took a pretty big spill...did his best to crack his head open on a rock but thankfully was wearing a helmet (hmmm...maybe I need to start wearing one of those).  And it would have sucked even more -- and been more dangerous -- to take skis off and posthole. 


Glad to hear your buddy is ok. I'm a helmet-on the whole descent kind of guy, for exactly that reason. Sounds like better coverage than when I skied it in 2018, good to hear. 500 feet of careful ski exit isn't so bad. 

It will be a lot busier once hwy 20 is open...

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2021-05-03 17:00:30