Snoqualmie Couloirs - Thomson, Preacher, McClellan
This April has been really making up for a lackluster winter. Over the past two weeks I’ve had a great time checking out some couloirs around Snoqualmie Pass that don’t see too much traffic during the year
On 4/09 a crew of five of us slogged it out to the Preacher Mountain Couloirs. The travel out there wasn’t too bad and even included a few nice ski descents. We went for the looks left couloir first as this one looked to be the more aesthetic of the lines. The couloir never gets very steep but made for a really fun descent. We made it about halfway up the lookers right couloir but waist deep booting, heavy snowfall and an overall less interesting line led to us bailing. This would be a great area to spend a few days in!
On 4/13 I was headed to the pass with the initial plan for a slot lap but after peering up at the North Couloir on McClellan Butte while on i90 we turned around and headed back to exit 38. We scored top to bottom powder on the line and opened the flood gates for at least another half dozen parties to ski the lines in the following two days.
On 4/16 Sam and I skied the North Couloir on Thomson Peak. I had attempted the line in late February but was turned back due to stability concerns. We cut two shallow windslabs in the line but overall it skied nicely and we took it all the way to Burntboot Creek. We debated whether to loop back around and exit the way we came out exit via the Middle Fork where a friend offered to pick us up. We chose to exit via Burntboot and the Middle fork which was somewhat questionable of a decision. The caretaker at Goldmeyer gave us a stern talking to as we trespassed on private land during our exit. I had hoped for an offer to go for a dip…oh well.
More photos.. Not sure how to change the sideways ones, will play with it later.
Sam on the Katwalk bypass
Skinning towards Thomson
Thomson North Couloir
Thomson Lower Couloir
Great trip report. It makes me laugh that Preacher is getting done as a day tour...y'all should bring a tent and spend more time once you're back there :) Granted it used to be a lot easier to do multi-day tours out of the Alpental vicinity a decade ago when they allowed overnight parking by the maintenance sheds.
Nice! I skied a bunch of Snoqualmie couloirs last week too--it was good! Might have run into you if you hadn't beelined to McClellan... I haven't posted at all this season...I may throw up a few pics too.
How was the waterfall in the Thomson North Couloir? Skiable?
The North couloir is dear to my heart. Rob and I tried a few times to ski it back about ten years ago, always wanting to ski it in powder, but the entrance and subsequent "mini ampitheater" makes it a bit more complex with lots of cross loading potential. We backed off after finding significant slab. First skied it with Andrew Eckels and Louie Dawson in the fat snow year of 2012, solstice.
Louie did a report too over at Wildsnow.
I think we passed you on the way out the Commonwealth earlier this year on your first try--Feb. 22?
Was surprised to see tracks on the other side of the Katwalk that day...
There's a nice (rugged!) Thomson circumnav, down Burntboot and up Goat Creek back to the Commonwealth that I've done a few times (but nice to have an extra day!). Also done one via Gold Creek...
That's super regrettable about the Goldmyer caretaker(s)...apparently completely bereft of earth spirit. Tant pis, eh? You definitely deserved a dip!
Cumulus, I do remember chatting with you on our way out the Commonwealth after our first attempt in February. I think I was a bit surprised you even knew what I was talking about. I actually found out about the line digging up your old post from the first descent in 2012 and then Scott Rink skied it last year.
It is a spooky place for sure and does get all sorts of weird wind patterns. Alpental telemetry and observations made other places around the pass seem to be pretty useless for forecasting out there. It's hard not to imagine that entire amphitheater ripping.
The waterfall near the bottom was skiable but will likely be out by the end of the week.
I certainly thought we were deserving of a dip! I figured showing up from the pass was worthy of bending a few rules.
I think we can all laugh about your "stern talking to" ... doubt they'd ever call the cops to come get you out there, I mean, sheesh.
Good to see so much Snoqualmie radness happening.
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