2018-03-24 Skiing Mount Catherine

Distance: 8.89 mi.
Elevation Gain: 3132 ft.

We started skinning up the Snoqualmie Hyak resort (Hyak Face run) at 8:45 AM, a bit later than we had hoped. Before long, we had eager inbounds skiers coming down upon us! We managed to stay out of the way, but it was stressful. Plus we were jealous of all their gleeful squeals as we were busting a sweat going uphill. At the top of the run we took off our skins and skied down the backside within the resort (Revelation run) toward Mill Creek. We derped around for a while behind the Hidden Valley lift to see if we could take a direct course toward Mount Catherine, but Mill Creek wasn’t remotely passable. So we skinned northwest-west toward the Nordic track, because we knew there would be a bridge to safely cross the creek. After crossing the creek, we got off the Nordic track and continued traversing southwest around Mount Catherine. The snow at the base of the mountain was kind of thin in areas, so we weren’t too excited to ski back toward this area. We finally found the western ridge of Mount Catherine, where there is a summer trail, and we started ascending steeply toward the peak. Due to recent rain, there was an icy crust about 3 inches down that made side-hilling on the steep ridge very difficult. We briefly considered booting up to the peak, but decided to just leave it for another day and ski down. The crust didn’t cause much trouble on the ski, and we got some fun turns in! We decided to head northwest toward another portion of the Nordic track and head back to the car that way. There was much scooching involved. After a 3-mile scooch on skins, we finally made it back to the *downhill* ski resort. Just a side note that Nordic skiers are beasts, because some of those hills were super burly even with skins on. We took a Chakamin run in the ski resort back toward the parking lot, and finished up a little after 2 PM. The weather ended up being way better than expected, but we’re not eager to recommend trying this backcountry scooch tour.

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Recommended Brew: Fremont Stone Squirrel Coffee Porter

Gear Used:

  • Avalanche beacon/shovel/probe
  • Backcountry boots/skis/skins
  • GPS
  • Helmet
  • Trekking poles
  • Whippet

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