Last Updated: April 18, 2020


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Cascade Range - Washington & British Columbia:

Mount Aix - Mount Aix Trail, October 2013 (Great fall hike near Bumping Lake)

Mount Ann - North Slopes via Austin Pass, February 2009 (Baker backcountry ski tour)

Argonaut Peak - Northeast Gully, May 2004 (Classic enchantments area climb, Colchuk Peak also)

Arrowhead Mountain - West Route, February 2004 (Stevens Pass area ski tour, video: 2.57min)

Azurite Peak - South Ridge via Azurite Pass, August 2012 (Okanogan Range area scramble)

Banshee Peak - Northwest Ridge via Panhandle Gap, June 2014 (MRNP area hike, en route to Cowlitz Chimney)

Mount Baring - Northwest Ridge, October 2003 (Skykomish area scramble, easy half-day trip)

Bedal Peak - Northwest Ridge, April 2006

Bedal Peak, April 2006

Though the ski descent proved to be a disappointment, the beautiful weather and views of peaks still firmly in the grip of Winter are worthy of sharing. Not to mislead anyone - I'm sure the ski descent of Bedal's North Slope (as we'd intended) would be a fine outing. Certainly Paul Klenke's March '06 post on revealed the obvious ski-descent potential of the North Slope. As a matter of fact, Paul's vivid photos are what first lured me to attempt the peak in the first place.

Anyway, my powers of persuasion must be good, for I managed to convince Eric Houtkooper, Jerry Sanchez and Cosmo (Jerry's dog) into joining me. Approaching from north on the MLH, we took a left onto FR-4096 (not shown on the USGS map). Based on Paul's information, we stopped a few hundred yards before the second switchback where a boot path cuts left into the woods (c. 2,100 ft near Merry Brook). The path was promptly lost, after which an annoying ascending thrash-traverse was endured before encountering small boulder slopes in the forest and the first patches of snow. Turning uphill, we booted up the snowy forest to reach a minor ridge crest overlooking Nels Lake (which we never saw). Donning our skis here, we continued up along the ridge eventually reaching a small, but aesthetic basin with steep cliffs ringing its left side. Continuing up, we soon found ourselves at a saddle high on Bedal's craggy Northwest Ridge and whereupon we found ourselves at an impasse. Something wasn't quite right...

Stymied by the unexpected problem and with only one ice axe between the three of us, we called it a day. BBQ and beers were calling. After a short ski, we soon found the trail and followed it back to Jerry's Subi. So, where did we go wrong? Best guess is that we followed that forested ridge a bit too long and should have traversed left above Nels Lake much sooner.

click here for photos.
(Ski tour in Mountain Loop area)

Big Chiwaukum - North Route via Lake Ethel, December 2004 (Ski tour from north side of Chiwaukum Range)

Big Four Mountain - Dry Creek, June 2006 (Mountain Loop area climb, impassible rock in upper-Amphitheater)

Big Kangaroo - Heli-ski, March 2014 (Heli-ski from 4 separate LZ's on Kangaroo Ridge)

Big Snagtooth - Heli-ski, March 2014 (Heli-ski Amy's Bowl from saddle just south of summit)

Mount Bigelow - Mountain Biking, October 2012 (MTB ride crossing Horsehead Pass just south of summit)

Bonanza Peak - Mary Green Glacier, July 2003 (A classic North Cascades 9000'er)

Bryan Butte - SE Route via Summer Blossom Trail, December 2002 (Chelan Sawtooths area, in lieu of Bigelow)

Burgundy Spire - North Face, July 2007 (Washington Pass area climb, bailed due to loose rock)
Burgundy Spire - North Face, September 2011 (Plus Paisano Pinnacle)

Buck Mountain - West Route, August 2011 (Solo scramble from Trinity)

Buck Mountain (Methow) - Buck Mountain Trail, May 2010 (Classic Methow Valley MTB ride)

Bullion Point - North Route via Bullion Basin, February 2004 (Crystal Mountain area ski tour, video: 2.53min)

Burch Mountain - Burch Mountain Road, February 2015 (Wenatchee area MTB ride)

Burroughs Mountain - Burroughs Mtn Trail, October 2014 (Dayhike from Sunrise)

Cadet Peak - North Face (attempt), November 2001 (Mountain Loop area climb, horrible brush beyond Goat Lake)

Cardinal Peak - West Route, June 2014 (Entiat Valley day trip with bike approach)

Cashmere Mountain - Cashmere Mountain, July 2012 (Fun Enchantments area day-trip for the rain weary)

The Castle - South Face, February 2003 (Climb and snowboard descent in Tatoosh Range)

Cathedral Peak - Southeast Buttress, September 2012 (Classic rock climb in Pasayten Wilderness)

Cathedral Provincial Park - Centennial\Wall Creek Trail, August 2007 (Attempt at Grimface-Macabre-Matriarch Traverse)

Mount Catherine - North Slope via Hyak ski area, April 2003

Mount Catherine, April 2003

So, once again, Paul and I hatched plans for a ski/board tour up some peak in the Snoqualmie Pass area. We finally settled on climbing Lundin Peak after I failed to convince him to do Red Mountain instead (Paul rarely repeats climbs). Time permitting, however, Paul did agree to climb and ski Red Mountain after descending from the summit of Lundin Peak.

Anyway, Scott finally decided to grace us with his presence on this particular outing. After meeting and shuttling gear into my car at the Issaquah Park-n-Ride, the three of us were on our way up to The Pass. The poor visibility and pounding snowfall up at The Pass did little to motivate us to get out of the car. After some confusion in locating a public toilet and hesitation with where to park, we finally got all our gear together and began walking towards Alpental. No more than maybe ten yards from the car, I turned around and looking at Paul and Scott asked if they still felt like climbing Lundin Peak. A somewhat unenthusiastic "yeah" was the answer. Given the conditions, I knew we wouldn't reach the summit and though avalanche conditions were reportedly moderate, I didn't feel too comfortable hiking though the Commonwealth Basin en route to Lundin Peak with all the new snow that had accumulated. As an alternative, I suggested skiing/boarding Mount Catherine. Both Paul and Scott seemed interested. Armed with an objective we were all comfortable with, we piled back into my car and drove over to the Mount Hyak Ski Area.

With only some vague idea of where to park and begin the ascent to the base of Mount Catherine, we motored around the chalet community until we found a spot where we could park. I had no guarantees that my car would be there where I left it upon our return, but I conveniently parked directly off the main Hyak ski run (now closed for the season) about 300ft up from where the lifts start. Paul started trudging up the ski run on foot and with skis on his back (I forgot to bring skins for him) while Scott and I ascended the run on skis. Visibility was limited and it was flurrying; and yet, it wasn't exactly cold. We were thoroughly sweat-soaked by the time we reached the top of the ski run. We stopped for a rest there and had a bite to eat.

We skied an access road down the back-side of the Mount Hyak ski area and weaved through re-growth beneath an ancient and now unused (?) chair lift until we reached a stream crossing. After the creek we gained a logging road which turns out to be part of a network of roads popular among cross-country skiers. We turned right and followed the road for a few hunded yards before veering left up a sparsely timbered slope. We reached the shelter of the forest and stopped for another, longer break. The snow in the trees on this side of Mount Catherine was steeper and firmer and we decided to boot it from this point on. We alternated leads through the forest, kicking steps through increasingly deeper, drier, more sugary snow over terrain that started out quite gentle and steepened considerably near the summit ridge. I dropped in first from the summit and intentionally swung wide across the inital slope, cutting back hard and aiming for the trees, to avoid the large, dry slough that had released. This happened twice to me, but was no cause for concern. The snow conditions weren't particularly life threatening and I knew that once in the trees proper, the snow would stay put. Glades, gullies, tight lines between trees; Mount Catherine has some really fun and protected terrain that makes it a wise choice when avi conditions are too risky elsewhere.

On our return, we stayed on the road, crossed the stream by the bridge and made it back up to the Hyak ski area in no time at all. The freshiez that had accumulated on the ski run leading back down to where we had parked was an unexpected but pleasant grand finale to an already very enjoyable day of backcountry skiing/boarding. Best of all, my car was still there where I left it!

clich here for photos.
(Ski tour near Snoqualmie Pass)

Chair Peak - Northeast Buttress, January 2003 (Classic Alpental Valley ice climb in marginal conditions)

Chalangin Peak - East Ridge, August 2013 (Part of DaKobed Traverse)

Mount Chaval - West Face, August 2011 (Pleasant Darrington area day trip)

Mount Cheam - Mount Cheam Trail, October 2019 (Fresh snow and whiteout in Cheam Range!)

Chimney Rock - East Face Direct, July 2004 (Crown jewels of greater Snoqualmie Pass area)

Chiwawa Mountain - Lyman Glacier, August 2001 (Glacier Peak Wilderness area climb with Nick Rhodes)

Chuckanut Mountain - Mountain Biking, February 2012 (Bellingham area mountain bike loop)

Church Mountain - Church Mtn. Trail, June 2016 (North Fork Nooksack area scramble with injured ankle ligament)

Clark Mountain - Walrus Glacier, June 2003 (Out of time in Dakobed Range)
Clark Mountain - Southeast Route, July 2008 (1.25 day solo trip in Dakobed Range)

Colchuck Peak - North Buttress Couloir, April 2003 (Long day, bad sunburn in Enchantments)
Colchuck Peak - South Slopes, May 2004 (Enchantments area climb, via Argonaut)

Coleman Pinnacle - Southwest Ridge, Feb. 2004 (Baker backcountry area ski tour, video: 4.48min)

Columbia Peak - West Spur, October 2004 (Mountain Loop area climb in the rain with Phil Fortier)

Coquihalla Mountain - East - West Ridge Traverse, June 2019 (Great early season scramble near Coquihalla Pass)

Courtney Peak - Southeast Ridge, September 2015 (Chelan Sawtooth area scramble, plus Star Peak)

Cowboy Mountain - West Ridge via 7th Heaven Chair, May 1998 (Top of Stevens Ski Area with south-side ski descent).

Cowlitz Chimney (Main) - South Route, June 2014 (Fun outing on NE side of MRNP)

Crater Mountain - South Spur, September 2015 (Great autumn day trip off Hwy 20!)

Crown Point - North Ridge via Bullion Point, January 2005 (Crystal Mountain area ski tour, video: 3.50min)

Mount Curtis Gilbert - Conrad/Meade Glacier, Nov. 2004 (Early season Goat Rocks tour)

Cutthroat Peak - South(east) Buttress, September 2003 (Washington Pass area rock climb, descent via West Ridge)

Mount Daniel - East Peak, August 2000 (Alpine Lakes area snow slog with Chris Rose)
Mount Daniel - (true) West Summit, June 2013 (Alpine Lakes Wilderness area with Lynch Glacier ski)

Del Campo Peak - Gothic Basin, November 2001 (Exploratory snowshoe hike in Mountain Loop area)
Del Campo Peak - South Face, October 2006 (Mountain Loop area scramble, plus Gothic Peak)

Dome Peak - Dome Glacier, Aug/Sept. 2002 (Long haul, poor vis on a big North Cascades peak)
Dome Peak - Dome Glacier, July 2005 (Finish to Ptarmigan Traverse)

Dragontail Peak - Colchuck Glacier, July 2001 (Day trip in The Enchantments)
Dragontail Peak - Triple Couloirs, April 2003 (Classic snow and ice climb in the Enchantments)
Dragontail Peak - Serpentine Arete, September 2011 (End-of season finale in Enchantments)

Dumbell Mountain - South Face, June 2013 (Glacier Peak Wilderness area scramble)

East Peak - West Slopes via Bullion Basin, December 2009 (Ski tour in Crystal backcountry)

East Wilmans Spire - South Face, September 2003 (Alpine rock climb in Glacier Basin)

Elk & Thurston Mtn (BC) - Elk Mountain Trail, September 2017 (Popular Chilliwack area hike with great views)

Mount Fernow - Southwest Route, May 2015 (Inaugural climb of 2015 season in Glacier Peak Wilderness)

Mount Formidable - South Route, July 2005 (First peak bagged on Ptarmigan Traverse)

Fortress Mountain - East Ridge, July 2012 (Glacier Peak Wilderness traverse w/ South Slope descent)

Gardner Mountain - Heli-ski, March 2014 (Chelan-Sawtooth area heli-ski from saddle just SE of summit)

Mount Garfield - South Route, August 2005 (Not so dangerous enigma near North Bend)

Goose Egg Mountain - South Face via Ride The Lightning, August 2007 (Multi-pitch rock climb near Yakima)

Gothic Peak - West Ridge, October 2006 (Mountain Loop area scramble, plus Del Campo Peak)

Graybeard Peak - West Ridge, June 2009 (Easy Pass area scramble)

Green Mountain - Green Mountain Trail, December 2004/January 2005 (Darrington area ski tour, video: 7.09min)

Grimface Mountain - Matriarch-Macabre-Grimface Traverse, July 2008 (Classic traverse in Cathedral Park)

Gunn Peak - East Peak, April 2004 (Snohomish County area scramble)

Guye Peak - South Gully, January 2003 (Winter climb near Snoqualmie Pass)
Guye Peak - South Face via Improbable Traverse, October 2004 (Snoqualmie area scramble, plus Lundin Peak)

Hadley Peak - West Face via Skyline/Chowder Ridge, October 2015 (Mount Baker area scramble)

Mount Hardy - South Face, May 2008

Mount Hardy - "OpenFly Coulior", May 2008

With hwy20 having opened not two days prior, the race was on to harvest what was left of the pow, before the masses and/or freeze/thaw rendered the slopes a bumped-out crud fest. What to do, what to do? Let's see, Silverstar, Birthday Tour, Maple and Rainy Passes - been there, done that…aha, but wait! Phil Fortier had posted a couple trip reports a few years back of ski descents on Mt. Hardy's north side: NE Coulior and "Open Fly Coulior". These features seemed intriguing enough to lure Tod and me to go have a look for ourselves.

Starting from the plowed pullout near the Easy Pass Trailhead, Tod and I crossed the road and maintained a steady ascending traverse bearing to the southeast, with only one steep stream crossing worth noting before turning up a broad timbered rib. Before long, the rib eased back and gave way to mostly open slopes beneath the 7600ft western sub-summit of Hardy, referred to as "Nancy Drew" in Phil's report. We continued up to a gentle saddle just left of "Nancy Drew" to scope out what would be our return route back up from Swamp Creek Valley. It seemed simple enough - a wide-open bowl, with an hourglass section lower down leading to an apron above the valley floor.

From the saddle, we contoured across the small south-facing bowl aiming for a minor ridge dividing "Nancy Drew" from Hardy's main summit. When the going got too steep for skinning, we strapped our skis to our packs and booted up the ridge to a small notch right at the peak's summit. A quick reconnaissance by Tod indicated that the entrance to Phil's "Open Fly Coulior" was just off to the right. A short down-climb soon saw us the top of the coulior where we were relieved to learn that it wasn't necessary to rappel into.

Tod dropped in the 40 degree-ish coulior first. We encountered maybe three-to-four inches of powder over a frozen and unpredictably lumpy base. Occasionally we'd get a good slash turn, but more often than not the thin coating of powder concealed knee-jarring, re-frozen avalanche debris hidden underneath. Triggered by our turns above, a sluff chute was constantly running down the gut of the coulior - a flowing river we'd frequently have to cross in search of a mercifully forgiving patch of powder. The aesthetic slot coulior narrowed briefly to about 10 feet before opening-up for the remaining descent to the valley floor. The powder gave way to sticky glop near the bottom, with monitor-sized avalanche chunks choking the exit to the apron below. Below this, a smooth lower-angled corn slope finally offered up some of the best turns of the day. All told, I think we spent no more than ten minutes 'leap-frogging' down the coulior - you decide if the payoff justifies the near $4/gallon gas price tag just to drive here in the first place.

After a brief lunch break (it was already 3 pm), we skinned-up and began traversing (skier's) right towards the previously noted hourglass below our return saddle. The slope angle through the hourglass was fairly steep and also choked with avalanche debris, making for an exhausting and time-consuming two-steps-forward, one-step-back grunt to reach the bowl above. We eventually regained the saddle without further difficulty and rested briefly as the snow showers continued to intensify. To return, we rode smooth corn roughly along our initial up-track on Hardy's south-facing slopes, before dropping into alternating gladed and/or forested terrain. Eventually the forest became too dense to reasonably link turns, so we sideslipped between trees and branches for a good portion of the descent before eventually resorting to booting. We reached the road about ten minutes afterwards, and had only about a half-mile of walking in the rain to return to where we parked at the Easy Pass pullout.

Looking over my shoulder, I was hopeful that Phil and Dave would happen to be driving by and return the favor of shuttling us to the car. After all, we saved them a good 3 or 4 miles of road slogging back in 2004, when they were returning from their initial Mt. Hardy ski descent! Next time fellas, right?

Click here for photos.
(Ski tour off Hwy 20 with descent of "OpenFly Coulior")

Hidden Lake Peaks - Hidden Lake Lookout Trail, March 2005

Hidden Lake Peaks, March 2005

With Jerry reporting good snow conditions the week prior, Andy, Eric, Jerry and I set out on a futile search for some good two-week old powder on Hidden Lake Peak's East Slopes. Instead of powder, we enjoyed a nice breakable crust and flat light on what was to be the money descent of the tour. We did, however locate a short powder slope upon descent from the lookout. And speaking of the lookout - we would encounter local ski 'celebrities' Phil, Sky, Jason and Josh taking a nap inside. I think they had big plans to ski something gnarly in the Triad area the following day.

Needless to say, there's no shortage of ski terrain here and in the right conditions one could easily spend a couple days lapping various slopes to their heart's delight. The lookout makes for an obvious place to stay for the night, despite the obvious fact that it sits on the summit rather than convieniently down in one of the basins. I'd much rather finish my day with a ride down to the hut rather than a skin back up to it. Beggars can't be choosers as they say.

click here for photos.
(Ski tour off Cascade River Road)

Mount Hinman - Southwest Ridge, August 2013 (Alpine Lakes Winderness area scramble with helicopter rescue)

Horse Lake Mountain - Mountain Biking, June 2014 (Wenatchee area classic MTB ride via #2 Canyon)

Humpback Mountain - West Face, April 2006

Humpback Mountain, April 2006

Going off of a tip from Eric, who had done this tour a week or two prior, I decided to explore Humpback Mountain's West Slope. Plainly visible from I-90, the West Slope reportedly delivered over 1500ft of easily accessed skiable vertical, requiring only a casual four hours round-trip. A perfect 'dawn-patrol' outing, or in my case, a quick fix before catching the Mariners - Angels game later that afternoon, it's suprising that this tour doesn't get more attention than it does.

After parking the car, I booted up the road for about a quarter mile before continuing on skis. Continue past two switchbacks (staying on main road). At the third switchback/fork, take the left fork and continue upwards on a spur road - it leads to a clearing directly beneath the West Slope. I ascended the West Slope directly to the summit. Returning from the summit, I enjoyed sun-ripened corn all the way down the West Slope and then down the snow-covered logging road, stopping within sight of my car. Definitely recommended!

click here for photos.
(Ski tour near Snoqualmie Pass)

Mount Index (North Peak) - North Face, August 2005 (A LONG day of climbing near Skykomish!)

Ingalls Peak - South Ridge, June 2002 (Stuart Range rock climb with Tom Sjolseth)

Jack Mountain - South Face, September 2002 (End of season scramble near Ross Lake)

Jim Hill Mountain - North Slopes via Henry Creek, February 2004 (Stevens Pass area ski tour, video: 3min)

Jove Peak - Southwest Ridge via Smith Brook, March 2006

Jove Peak, March 2006

It's been a winter of chair lifts and exploration of lift-accessed backcountry for me...which explains the dearth of b/c reports this season. What can I say? With conditions quite unlike what we've endured for the previous two or three seasons, and with Larry Shick's unrelenting barrage of "Powder Alerts", I find myself inexplicably drawn to those wallet-draining slopes in the "north/southback". Play now, pay later...yeah!

Um...anyway, after having discussed doing this tour for what seems like months, Jerry, Eric, Jay, myself and Jerry's dog, Cosmo finally got it together and dragged ourselves up Jove's snowy slopes. The forecast called for mostly cloudy skies, and though it certainly seemed that way on the drive over Stevens Pass, we were treated to partly cloudy skies with a good dose of blue poking through for most of the day. Without clouds to obscure the sun's rays, she definitely burns hot this time of year...Spring is fast approaching!

With serious sun exposure on the South Slope and potential wet slab action, we elected to ski/board dry powder on the protected Northwest Slope. We could see tracks, presumably from the day before, descending the minor rib on the left-side of the South Slope...they looked nice! Our north-side descent brought us to Lake Janus, where we skinned-up again and proceeded to make our way around the toe of Union Peak's North Ridge. Continuing up a drainage south of Union Peak, we reached Union Gap and then descended back into upper Smith Brook basin. When doing this, I'd suggest staying in trees at skier's right to avoid traversing a large south-facing avalanche slope. I felt/heard a wet slab settle as I tried skinning across that slope (a 160-pound Eric ski-cut the slope above me without consequences), and immediately turned around and tip-toed back to the relative security of the treed slope from where I came. A quick, icy 'ski' saw us back to HWY2 and the cars (~8hrs round-trip). All-in-all, a fun loop-tour with interesting terrain, nice vistas and great snow...and a welcome change from those annoying lift lines!

Click here for photos.
(Ski tour near Stevens Pass)

Kaleetan Peak - East Face, October 2008 (Easy Autumn scramble near Snoqualmie Pass)

Kangaroo Temple - North Face, September 2002 (Washington Pass area rock climb)

Kendall Peak - North Ridge, February 2013 (Snoqualmie Pass area ski tour, plus Left Twin)

Klone Peak - North Tommy Trail, June 2014 (Mountain bike loop in N. Fork Entiat Valley)

Kololo Peaks- Suiattle Glacier (Via Glacier Peak)

Kyes Peak - South Ridge, August 2002 (Solo outing to Blanca Lake and beyond)

La Bohn Peak - East Route, August 2013 (Alpine Lakes Winderness scramble, plus Mount Hinman)

Mount Lago - South Face/South Ridge, August 2014 (Pasayten Wilderness area scramble - Tour de Lago!)

Mount Larrabee - West Ridge, September 2009 (Border Peaks area scramble)

Lemah Mountain - Lemah Glacier, July 2004 (Alpine Lakes Wilderness area scramble, in lieu of Chimney Rock)

Liberty Bell - Beckey Route, July 2002 (First alpine rock climb with Agata, at Washington Pass)

Lichtenberg Mountain - South Face via Nason Creek, May 2010 (Ski tour near Stevens Pass)

Little Bald Mountain - Little Bald Trail, June 2012 (Mountain bike ride near Chinook Pass)

Luahna Peak - East Ridge, August 2013 (Part of DaKobed Traverse)

Lundin Peak - West Ridge, Oct. 2004 (Snoqualmie Pass area scramble, via Guye Peak)

Macabre Tower - Matriarch-Macabre-Grimface Traverse, July 2008 (Classic traverse in Cathedral Park)

Martin Peak (Chelan) - Mountain Biking, October 2012 (Chelan Sawtooth area MTB ride via Horsehead Pass)

Mount Mastiff - South Ridge via Merritt Lake, July 2010 (Stevens Pass area hike w/ Ozzie)

Matriarch Mountain - Matriarch-Macabre-Grimface Traverse, July 2008 (Classic traverse in Cathedral Park)

Mount Maude - South Shoulder, July 2001 (Entiat Range climb, plus Seven Fingered Jack)
Mount Maude - North Face, June 2005 (Second North Face attempt in Entiat Range)

McClellan Butte - North Couloir, May 2002 (Fun winter climb near North Bend)
McClellan Butte - McClellan Butte Trail, November 2014 (Fun fall hike and short scramble near North Bend)

Miller Peak - Miller Peak Trail, October 2010 (Mountain bike loop near Cle Elum)

Monte Cristo Peak - Glacier Basin, September 2001 (Mountain Loop area scramble attempt)
Monte Cristo Peak - North Col Route, June 2004 (Mountain Loop area scramble success!)

Morning Star Peak - East Face, December 2004 (Stymied by deep snow in Mountain Loop area)

Mutton Mountain - West Ridge, October 2015 (Noble Knob-Dalles Ridge mountain bike ride)

Navaho Peak - Navaho Peak Trail, May 2015 (Tagged as part of Stafford Creek mtb ride)

Needle Peak - West Ridge, May 2018 (Great Spring conditioning scramble near Coquihalla Pass!)

Noble Knob - Noble Knob Trail, October 2015 (Noble Knob-Dalles Ridge mountain bike ride)

Observation Rock - North Face, October 2002 (Autumn ice climb in Mount Rainier National Park)

Paisano Pinnacle - West Ridge, September 2011 (Washington Pass area rock climb, plus Burgundy Spire)

Mount Phelps - South Route, June 2004 (North Bend area Spring climb)

Pickhandle Point - East Face via Morse Creek Basin, January 2005 (Crystal area ski tour, video: 3.50min)

Mount Pilchuck - Mount Pilchuck Trail, June 2011 (Afternoon ski tour in Snohomish County)

Prusik Peak - West Ridge, October 2002 (Classic late season rock climb in Enchantments)

Mount Pugh - Northwest Ridge, November 2002 (Scramble in Mountain Loop area with Scott and Jerry)

Red Mountain - West Face, January 2004 (Snoqualmie Pass area ski tour, video: 3.07min)

Mount Rexford - Ensawkwatch Enchainment, September 2007 (Chilliwack Lake area climb)

Reynolds Peak - NW Ridge of N & S Summit, July 2005 (Chelan Sawtooth area rock climb)

Mount Robinson - Southeast Ridge, July 2011 (Jewel of the Methow Valley!)

Sentinel Peak - Southwest Route, July 2005 (Second of three peaks bagged during Ptarmigan Traverse)

Seven Fingered Jack - Southwest Slope (Entiat Range scramble, plus Mount Maude)

Sherpa Peak - West Ridge, August 2002 (Enchantments area rock climb with Dan and Tom Sjolseth)

Silver King Peak - North Ridge via The Throne, March 2008 (Crystal Mountain slackcountry)

Silver Peak - West Face/North Slope, February 2008

Silver Peak - West Face/North Slope, February 2008

"My goddam toes are going to be beat to a pulp after this garbage" I bitched to Andy. Why I didn't listen to my own advice and bring a pair of crampons I don't know. Above me, Andy was making steady, toe-friendly progress cramponing up the frozen West Face. What was I doing here? The tips of my well-worn modified PMBs were barely breaking the surface after repeated kicks, my feeble aluminum axe good for little more than balance. I needed to escape to softer snow.

Across the valley, the east slopes of Humpback Mountain were literally baking in the late morning sun. For sure there was soft snow to be found there; dangerously soft snow as evidenced by the numerous slide paths we had traversed over while skinning up the valley earlier in the morning. I would have happily traded that soft, and potentially unstable snow for deliverance from the pain and suffering. I kicked a couple more steps, grimaced and stopped for another rest. Glancing down into the crater-like Lake Annette, my eyes were drawn up towards the long ridge extending northward from Abiel Peak. Somewhere along that ridge was the summit of Humpback Mountain; the very summit from which I first spied today's enterprise - West Face of Silver Peak.

Ducking into a thin ribbon of trees near the left edge of the West Face, my prayers were finally answered with boot to knee-deep powder. It was an exhausting work, but I finally reached Andy waiting for me on the north shoulder of Silver Peak. We dropped our gear and scrambled the ridge to tag the summit. From its southern vantage point, Silver offers a unique perspective on the Snoqualmie Pass area peaks - similar, but better than the view from Humpback in my opinion.

The snow on the north side of Silver seemed far more amenable to skiing than the West Face we had just ascended. Dare I say it even looked powdery...two-week old powder to be exact? The West Face would offer a longer, steeper descent, but would it ever corn-up in time? As if to help with our decision, the solo party ahead of us suddenly appeared from behind the summit rocks and began to ski, or should I say scrape, back down the face. The sound alone was painful to hear.

After a quick, and ultimately ill-advised decision, based solely on distant visual inspection, we figured we'd easily be able to loop back to our starting point from somewhere below Olallie Meadow. Having recently abandoned his knuckle-dragging ways, Andy dropped-in first. I followed shortly thereafter, and together we leap-frogged the upper-bowl, rollers, trees and eventually the low angle meadow crisscrossed by skate skiing tracks. We encountered a few inches of light pow over a firm, but smooth base up high, corn and a finally a light crust with occasional pockets of dust. Andy wasn't too hot about the crusty snow near the bottom, but all in all I found it to be an enjoyably casual descent.

Following a skate track to where it crosses a power line swath, which we hoped would guide us back towards the Lake Annette Trailhead, I was taken aback by how far away we still were from where we wanted to be. Re-growth choked the swath below us and I knew we had at least one steep-sided and potentially troublesome creek to cross. I called up to a party of snowshoers taking photos overlooking I-90 and the South Fork Snoqualmie River Valley from where the swath crosses the skate track and asked if they minded giving us a ride back to where we were parked. They agreed and together we made our way along the track back to the hilltop above The Summit's Silver Fir chair. We finished the day by skiing a Silver Fir piste and then waited a few minutes for our ride to arrive. Thanks!

Back at the car, we had just finished changing into dry clothes and were moments away from driving off, when suddenly a party of two on snowshoes hiking out from Lake Annette flagged us down. One of the guys produced a shovel handle from his pack and asked if it was ours. Indeed, I had apparently lost my shovel handle somewhere below the West Face! This was great news, good karma...a good day made even better! Almost good enough to forget about my throbbing toes.

click here for photos.
(Snoqualmie Pass area ski tour)

Silver Star Mountain - Silver Star Glacier, June 2001 (Washington Pass area scramble)

Slate Peak - Slate Peak Trail, August 2012 (Harts Pass area peak with lookout, final photo)

Sloan Peak - Corkscrew Route via Bedal Basin, Aug. 2003 (Mountain Loop area climb, bailed on West Face route)

Snoqualmie Mountain - East Ridge, May 2002

Snoqualmie Mountain (Slot Couloir), May 2002

I had been mulling over a snowboard descent of the Slot Couloir (referred to by some as the Enigma Gully) on Snoqualmie Mountain all winter long. For some reason or another those plans never materialized and when I finally found myself with a sunny Saturday in early May to burn I knew what I had to do. Scott was planning a ski trip on St. Helens and Andy had other plans, so it looked like it would be a solo excursion. Somewhat apprehensive about dropping the Couloir solo, I told myself that I would climb Snoqualmie, take a look at the Couloir and depending on how I felt about the whole affair, make the executive decision. The slopes leading down the Southeast Face to the Alpental parking area would offer sufficient entertainment should I decide to pass on the Couloir.

I parked across the street from the Sahale Ski Club and snowshoed along side the kiddie ski-lift. I passed below Guye Peak on the right towards Commonwealth Basin and turned left uphill and proceeded up an obvious gully which lead to a bench above Guye Peak on it's western-facing side. I made a short descent to the base of Snoqualmie Mountain's East Ridge and snowshoed through steep and deep snow until the grade mellowed. I looked back over the corniced ridge and had sweeping views of the entire Snoqualmie Pass area.

I descended from the summit and began poking around for the entrance to the Slot Couloir. When I finally located it, it didn't appear as radical as I had envisioned it in my mind. There was maybe a short section of 50 degree wind-blown snow up top while the remainder of the Couloir averaged about 40 degrees. I dropped in and made a few cautious turns to check for snow stability. Verdict: stable. The snow had begun to corn up and so the turns were quite enjoyable. I noticed a few small glide cracks that spanned the Couloir, but nothing major. The snow on the avalanche fan below the Couloir was unfortunately still rock hard and I traversed hard to my left towards the sun-filled basin and hopefully softer snow. Once in the basin, I converted back to snowshoe mode and made my way up to a small col next to Snoqualmie Mountain. The massive cornices looming above were being beaten on by the intense sunshine and so I made haste getting out of the basin. Once at the col, the board went back under my feet and I had more enjoyable turns back down to the Alpental parking area. I bummed a ride back to my car and called it a day after only five hours car-to-car. Can't wait to go back and get the Crooked Couloir next!

Click here for photos.
(Slot Coulior ski descent, near Snoqualmie Pass)

Snowking Mountain - Kindy Ridge, November 2002 (Cascade River area climb, not suitable for lowered VW Golf)

South Early Winter Spire - Southwest Buttress, August 2005 (WA Pass rock climb, bypassed 5.8 handcrack)

Sperry Peak - South Ridge, October 2007 (A casual autumn ridge ramble in Mountain Loop area)

Spontaneity Arete - Le Petit Cheval, July 2010 (Friendly rock route near WA Pass)

Star Peak - Southwest Ridge, September 2015 (Highpoint of Sawtooth Ridge!)

Mount Stuart - Cascadian Couloir, July 2001 (Big day in the Enchantments)
Mount Stuart - Ice Cliff Glacier, June 2004 (Calving seracs in Enchantments)
Mount Stuart - North Ridge, July 2005 (Classic Enchantments area rock climb with Martin Cash)

Suntop Mountain - Mountain Biking, September 2012 (Mountain Bike ride off of Hwy 410)

Switchback Peak - Mountain Biking, October 2012 (Angel's Staircase MTB ride in Chelan Sawtooths)

Tenpeak Mountain - East Face, August 2013 (Part of DaKobed Traverse)

Mount Thomson - West Ridge, July 2003 (Snoqualmie Pass area climb, with super secret shortcut!)

Three Fingers - South Peak, October 2001 (Solo climb in Snohomish County)

The Tooth - South Ridge, June 2002 (First alpine rock climb, near Snoqualmie Pass)
The Tooth - Northeast Slab, February 2006 (Snoqualmie Pass area alpine ice climb)

Tiger Mountain & East Tiger - Mountain Biking, Various 90's & 2000's (Popular North Bend mountain bike area)

Tomyhoi Peak - South Route via Yellow Aster Meadows, August 2003 (Short Border Peaks are climb with great views)

Tower Mountain - West Gully, July 2009 (Swamp Creek approach, near Easy Pass)

Mount Townsend - South Face, February 2009 (Ski tour near Stevens Pass)

Tupshin Peak - East Face, June 2015 (Classic North Cascades climb, via float plane to Stehekin!)

Twin Sisters - West Ridge North Twin, Northeast Ridge South Twin, July 2006 (Fun loop in Twin Sisters Range)

Unicorn Peak - West Face via Snow Lakes, June 2014 (Short spring day trip in Tatoosh Range)

Vesper Peak - North Face, September 2002 (Fun rock climb in Mountain Loop area)

Mount Watson - North Slopes via Anderson Lakes Trail, November 2005

Mount Watson, November 2005

With a pronounced temperature inversion, leaving the low-lands cold and foggy while the mountains basked in sunshine and 10k-ft freezing levels, Andy, Tod, James, Paul and myself embarked on a futile mission to bag and ski/board down from the summit of Bacon Peak. In the end, the short November days and a nasty ice-crust on all slope aspects except those directly exposed to the full intensity of the sun, left us high and dry of our objective and searching for ways to salvage the trip. While Paul the peak-bagger went and tagged the summit of East Watson via the West Route (steep snow to 50 degrees), Andy and James scoped the sunny south slopes of Watson for yo-yo possibilities. Tod and I, on the otherhand, still processing the reality of not making Bacon on this trip, simply picked our noses and watched Paul's ascent from a rock outcrop on the glacier below the slabby north side of the Watson Massif...that is until we discovered the goods that Andy and James sniffed out!

Anyway - a tip regarding the approach: rather than follow the standard summer trailhead, it is much easier to continue on the logging road as it curves to the left, reaching a large clearing. Continue past the clearing a short distance, and look for a large, open, gladed slope at right (there will likely be snowmobile tracks). Skin up this slope to it's top, and descend a narrow forested gully-like feature to a small basin west of Anderson Butte. From the small basin we continued southeast through a small saddle and stayed right, eventually gaining a timbered ridge leading us toward upper-Anderson Lakes. We continued upwards from Anderson Lakes and made camp at a small lake at 5,300 ft.

While Bacon was a bust, skiing/boarding the mush on south-facing slopes of Watson was a hoot. We enjoyed three laps on this slope, with liberal applications of Zardoz enabling a continued enjoyable and not-so-sticky descent well into the basin below. Ok, now THAT was worth it!

At the end of the day, we enjoyed one final descent back down to Anderson Lakes proper and skinned and skied back down to James' truck. Yes, knowing how to snow-plow down fast logging roads with the skin-less splitboard halfs is an aquired skill, with myself crossing the finish-line in dead last. Phew!

click here for photos.
(Ski tour near Baker Lake)

Welch Peak - South Ridge, September 2006 (Cheam Range area climb, after visiting uncle at Harrison)

Whistler Mountain - North Ridge, July 2014 (Fun scramble with very short approach near WA Pass)

Whitehorse Mountain - Northwest Shoulder, November 2000 (Darrington area climb, wallowing in snow)
Whitehorse Mountain - Whitehorse Glacier, June 2006 (A bit late in the season for this Darrington area route)

White Chuck Mountain - Northwest Route, June 2006 (Darrington area climb & consolation prize for NE Ridge)

Winchester Mountain - Winchester Mountain Trail, August 2010 (Second and last ABP attempt in Border Peaks area)

Windy Peak - South Slopes, February 2002 (First and last BOEALPS outing, near Stevens Pass)

Yak Peak - South Slopes, October 2017 (Steep Coquihalla Pass autumn hike with excellent views)

Cascade Range - North Cascades National Park:

Austera Peak - Austera Ridge, April 2004 (Part of Inspiration-Klawatti icecap traverse)

Bacon Peak - West Slopes via Noisy Creek, June 2015 (Noisy Creek with Diobsud Lakes return)

Black Peak - South Route, September 2002 (Consolation prize for bailing on NE Ridge, near Rainy Pass)
Black Peak - Northeast Ridge, October 2003 (A fun Fall day trip near Rainy Pass)

Mount Blum - West Face, October 2006 (Fun scramble on western edge on NCNP)

Boston Basin - Boston Basin Trail, July 2007 (Attempt at East Ridge of Forbidden)

Buckner Mountain - North Face, July 2002 (Via summit of Sahale Peak)

Mount Challenger - Wiley Ridge, August 2003 (A classic Pickets odyssey)

Corteo Peak - Southwest Ridge, June 2009 (Down East Face)

Mount Despair - East Ridge, July 2011 (Fred's FIRST first ascent!)

Dorado Needle - Northwest Ridge, July 2007 (Consolation prize for bailing from Southwest Buttress)

Eldorado Peak - East Ridge, September 2001 (Consolation prize for not attempting Austera Peak)
Eldorado Peak - Northeast Face, March 2005 (Consolation prize for not attempting Dorado Needle)

Fisher Peak - West Ridge, September 2015 (Classic scramble from Silent Lakes)

Forbidden Peak - West Ridge, July 2002 (One of the 50 Classics with Andy Ball and Tom Sjolseth)
Forbidden Peak - East Ridge, July 2008 (Awesome climb with Eli Rosenberg)
Forbidden Peak - West Ridge, July 2013 (Torment-Forbidden Traverse!)

Frisco Mountain - North Ridge, September 2014 (Instead of Bacon Peak)

Mount Fury - Southeast Glacier, August 2006 (Three times a charm)

Mount Goode - Northeast Buttress, July 2003 (Unplanned bivy at 8000ft)

Hozomeen Mountain (North Peak) - NNE Ridge, July 2013 (no blowdown on Skyline II Trail)

Icy Peak - North Route (SE Peak), June 2013 (via Ruth Mountain)

Johannesburg Mountain - Northeast Buttress, August 2011 (A LONG time coming!)

Klawatti Peak - South Face, April 2004 (Part of Inspiration-Klawatti icecap traverse)

Mount Logan - Douglas Glacier, June 2006 (Huge avalanche buried notorious brush on approach)

Luna Peak - Southwest Ridge, August 2005 (Rained out on Fury attempt the following day)

Magic Mountain - South Ridge, August 2008 (Pathetic attempt at J-burg's East Ridge)

McGregor Mountain - McGregor Mountain Trail, July 2015 (Missed boat thanks to Chelan Man)

McGregor BM - Rainbow Lake Trail, September 2014 (Attempt on Mount McGregor)

Mesahchie Peak - North Ridge, June 2005 (Classic line on tallest peak of Ragged Ridge)

Primus Peak - Southwest Face, April 2004 (Part of Inspiration-Klawatti icecap traverse)

Mount Redoubt - Redoubt Glacier, August 2003 (And Mount Spickard)

Ruth Mountain - Ruth Glacier, February 2003 (Mid-winter ski!)

Ruth Mountain, February 2003

I was in need of some good quality snow, better than that encountered on my recent descent from The Castle. I was to be pleasantly surprized. The snow was probably the best that I've ridden this season, and that home-made splitboard of mine really does work well. Like the previous outing on The Castle, Paul and I also welcomed the idea of visiting a corner of the Cascades where we had not yet ventured. For Jerry, on the other hand, this would be his fourth trip to Ruth Mountain. Thankfully, the weather proved to be remarkably sunny and calm and the views promised to be nothing short of spectacular. Be sure to bring lots of film, batteries, or a high capacity memory card when climbing Ruth Mountain!

We were able to drive within less than half a mile from the Hannegan Pass trailhead in a VW Golf--a testament to the unusual absence of snow in the lower elevations, courtesy of El Nino. Paul started out the approach on AT gear he had borrowed from me, while Jerry after some struggling with his Silvretta bindings, managed to damage them beyond repair and had to then resort to using snowshoes (which he never ended up wearing). Later, Paul generously offered the skis to Jerry as the absence of snow on the trail, particularly in the trees, made for tedious travel.

Jerry and I would take our skis on and off countless times to pass through bare spots in the trail. I eventually just carried mine by hand until I couldn't hold them any longer. We finally reached the open glades below Hannegan Pass where travel on skis was finally possible. At the pass, Paul took the snowshoes that Jerry had been carrying on his pack up until this point and decided that he would not continue with us to the summit of Ruth Mountain. The snow had become quite deep and travel without skis would be strenuous and time consuming. Instead, Paul opted to climb up to neighboring Hannegan Peak while Jerry and I began skinning up the steep slope above Hannegan Pass towards Ruth Mountain.

Jerry and I reached a saddle to the left of a craggy hump in the ridge extending from the Ruth Glacier. A short, sun-bathed descent took us to another saddle directly below the North Face of Ruth Mountain. Jerry shot ahead of me and made short work of the ascent of Ruth Glacier. Flailing some distance behind, I finally reached the a notch below the summit, put on my jacket and assembled my splitboard for the descent. I was snapping off photos at the notch, when Jerry skied back down to where I was and encouraged me to make the final steps to the summit. How could I refuse? Together, we postholed up the summit ridge to the true summit a short distance beyond.

The ride back down from the notch to the saddle was magic. After a short traverse back to the lower saddle, Jerry and I were rewarded with another nice descent to Hannegan Pass. Jerry and I re-joined Paul back at Hannegan Pass and together we hiked the remaining four or five miles back to the trailhead. We easily found our way back to the car by moonlight, spirits refreshed by wicked good turns and first-class summit views. I'll be back for sure.

click here for photos.
Ruth Mountain - Ruth Glacier, June 2013 (And Icy Peak)

Sahale Peak - Quien Sabe Glacier, June 2000 (Vehicle troubles almost killed this trip)
Sahale Peak - Sahale Arm, July 2002 (Climbed en route to North Face of Mount Buckner)

Mount Shuksan - Sulphide Glacier, October 2001 (Failed attempt with Andy Ball)
Mount Shuksan - Fisher Chimneys, June 2002 (Lost in the fog)
Mount Shuksan - North Face, July 2002 (Brushy nightmare and slippery heather)
Mount Shuksan - Fisher Chimneys, August 2002 (Classic line on a classic peak)

Snowfield Peak - Neve Glacier, Nov/Dec. 2002 (Winter climb with Paul Klenke)

Mount Spickard - South Ridge, August 2003 (And Mount Redoubt)

Mount Terror - West Ridge, July 2006 (Disorderly conduct)

Mount Torment - South Ridge, July 2013 (Torment-Forbidden Traverse!)

The Triad - East Ridge (middle summit), Sept. 2004 (Two dicks on three dicks)

Tricouni Peak - West Gully, April 2004 (Part of Inspiration-Klawatti icecap traverse)

Mount Triumph - Northeast Ridge, September 2003 (Classic climb with Paul Klenke and Eric Hoffman)

West McMillan Spire - West Ridge, September 2004 (Classic Southern Pickets scramble)

Canadian Rockies (including Columbia Mountains):

Mount Assiniboine - North Ridge, August 2009 (Classic route on tallest peak in southern Canadian Rockies)

Mount Athabasca - Silverhorn, August 2006 (Classic snow and ice climb off of Icefields Parkway)

Bugaboo Spire - Kain Route (South Ridge), August 2004 (A Bugaboo classic)

Mount Edith Cavell - East Ridge West Ridge, August 2009 (Not the classic East Ridge, but...)

Pigeon Spire - West Ridge, August 2015 (World's best 5.4?)

Mount Robson - Provincial Park Explorations, August 2006 (Mount Robson corkscrew via Kinney and Berg Lakes)

Mount Sir Donald - Northwest Ridge, August 2004 (Turned back due to late start and slick lichen)
Mount Sir Donald - Northwest Ridge, August 2006 (Turned back just below summit due to fresh snow)

Mount Temple - Southwest Ridge, August 2015 (Classic Lake Louise scramble)

Uto Peak - Southwest Ridge, August 2006 (Good warm up for Sir Donald)

Wapta Traverse - Bow Lake to West Louise Lodge, March 2006 (Classic hut-to-hut ski traverse)

Coast Mountains of British Columbia:

Alpha Mountain - East Ridge, August 2008 (A Tantalus classic)

Mount Aragorn - South Route, August 2018 (And Mount Gandalf!)

Mount Ashlu - East Ridge, August 2008 (A classic Coast Mountain adventure!)

Mount Beautiful - Swan Falls Loop Trail, October 2019 (Buntzen Lake area loop hike)

Birkenhead Peak - Microwave Ridge, June 2019 (An "Ultra" daytrip via Kafir Peak!)

The Black Tusk - South Route (via Taylor Meadows), June 2018 ("Landing place of thunderbird")

Brandywine Mountain - South Route, June 2018 (Short early season scramble)

Mount Benvolio - Diavolo Glacier, April 2004 (Classic summit along Spearhead Traverse)
Mount Benvolio - via Overlord, August 2019 (Short jaunt from Overlord)

Blackcomb Peak - Northwest Ridge, June 2019 (Easy day from top of 7th Heaven chair)

Blanca Peak - South Ridge, August 2019 (High value scramble off Elaho Main)

Brunswick Mountain - Brunswick Mtn Trail, October 2015 (Day trip from Lions Bay)

Mount Burwell - Southeast Ridge via Seymour Valley, August 2019 (And Coliseum!)

Mount Callaghan - West Route, July 2019 (Callaghan Valley explorations)

Cassiope Peak - West Ridge, July 2019 (And Saxifrage Mountain)

Castle Towers Mountain - Polemolium Ridge, August 2019 (West Peak solo via Helm Glacier)

Cayoosh Mountain - South Ridge, July 2018 (Exciting scramble and long-ish day trip from Vancouver)

Chehalis Range - Statlu Lake Trail, September 2007 (Attempt at Vienese-Clark Traverse)

Cirque Peak - North Ridge, August 2009 (Loose and exposed but aesthetic)

Crown Mountain - Crown Mtn Trail, October 2013 (Short drive, short approach, big views, via Dam Mtn)

Mount Currie - North Glacier, January 2017 (Heli skiing from Curry and Hibachi!)

Cypress Peak - North Ridge, July 2018 (Classic North Ridge scramble)

Decker Mountain - Decker Glacier, April 2009 (Ski tour from Blackcomb)

Dickson Peak - South Ridge, July 2019 (First peak in South Chilcotins!)

Dreadnought Mountain - South Ridge, October 2018 (Highest in Watersprite Lake Group)

Face Mountain - East Route, July 2010 (Consolation prize for Mt. Samson climb)

Fissile Peak - South Ridge, October 2019 (Instead of Overlord Mountain)

Fuscian Peak - NNE Ridge, July 2018 (After Helm Peak & instead of Castle Towers)

Mount Gandalf - South Route, August 2018 (And Mount Aragorn!)

Mount Garibaldi - Northeast Face, June 2002 (Lost my skis)

Goat Mountain - Goat Ridge Trail, June 2019 (Short scramble from Grouse Mtn.)

Goat Peak - East Ridge, October 2018 (And Tenquille Mountain)

Gotcha Peak - North Ridge via Blowdown Pass, August 2019 (And Gott!)

Gott Peak - East Ridge via Blowdown Pass, August 2019 (And Gotcha!)

Mount Harvey - Southwest Ridge, November 2018 (Fall hike from Lions Bay)

Helm Peak - South Ridge, July 2018 (Instead of Castle Towers)

Joffre Peak - Southeast Face, September 2012 (Solo via decommissioned Cerise Creek Road)

Kafir Peak - Microwave Ridge, June 2019 (En route to Birkenhead Peak)

Locomotive Mountain - South Ridge, August 2019 (Instead of Beaujolais and Mystery)

Mount Marriott - Southeast Ridge, July 2018 (Long SE Ridge via Wendy Thompson Hut)

Mount Matier - Northeast Spur, June 2004 (Too mushy for Northwest Face)

North Ear - Panorama Ridge, July 2006 (Day trip from North Vancouver)

Overlord Mountain - West Ridge, August 2019 (Classic climb over Musical Bumps and beyond)

Overseer Mountain - Southeast Face, August 2009 (Crown jewels of Pemby Icefield)

Powder Mountain - Heli-ski, March 2009 (First time riding with Whistler Heli!)

Rainbow Mountain - Heli-ski, 2009 (Final run of first trip with Whistler Heli)

Recourse Peak - ESE Ridge, July 2018 (In lieu of Mount Clarke)

The Ripsaw - ENE Ridge, April 2004 (Short detour along Spearhead Traverse)

Saxifrage Mountain - Southeast Ridge, July 2019 (And Cassiope Peak)

Serratus Mountain - North Face, August 2008 (Easy day from Haberl Hut)

Mount Seymour - Mount Seymour Trail, January 2002 (Chairlifts help with the approach)
Mount Seymour - Mount Seymour Trail, October 2015 (Scattered ashes of Dyce the dog)

Sky Pilot Mountain - West Ridge, July 2014 (Approach via new Sea to Sky Gondola!)

Mount Sloan - Northeast Ridge, Sept. 2008 (Solo on a superb ridge route!)

Mount Strachan - Christmas Gully, July 2018 (Loop hike via Cypress Mountain ski area)

The Spearhead - Blackcomb Glacier, January 2019 (En route to Corona Bowl)

Spearhead Traverse - Blackcomb to Whistler, April 2004 (Classic Coast Range ski traverse)

Statimcets Peak - Southeast Face, August 2019 (Rain, whiteout, snow and sunshine all in same day!)

Mount Tantalus - North Ridge, July 2009 (Close but no cigar!)

Tenquille Mountain - East Ridge, October 2018 (And Goat Peak)

Tricouni Peak - East Face, June 2018 (Classic scramble on Squamish-Cheakamus divide)

Tszil Mountain - North Route via Tszil-Taylor Col, July 2019 (Backed of Slalok West Ridge)

Mount Vayu - Northwest Ridge, August 2011 (Fun Bridge Creek area ridge ramble)

Mount Weart - Southeast Ridge, July 2018 (A Whistler area classic!)

Wedge Mountain - Wedge Couloir, May 2003 (Should have climbed the Northeast Arete instead)

West Lion - South Route via Lions Bay, October 2009 (Gorgeous day!)

Whirlwind Peak - North Route, April 2004 (Final summit of Spearhead Traverse)
Whirlwind Peak - North Route, May 2019 (And Fissile!)

Whistler, Piccolo, Flute, Oboe - Snowboarding, late 90's to present (See Photo Albums & Random Blog Posts)

Mount Windsor - Northwest Ridge, October 2019 (Deeks Lake area scramble)

Olympic Mountains:

Mount Anderson - East Ridge (West Peak), July 2009 (And Mt. Anderson proper)

Mount Angeles - Route 1, October 2014 (Via Klahhane Ridge)

The Brothers - South Face, November 2001 (Second time's a charm)

Buckhorn Mountain - Big Quilcene Trail, July 2016 (Neat ridge trail over tundra-like terrain)

Mount Carrie - South Route, July 2014 (Highest in Bailey Range)

Mount Constance - West Arete, September 2005 (Classic Olympic rock climb)

Mount Cruiser - South Corner, September 2013 (Via Mildred Lakes)

Mount Deception - North Route via Royal Basin, July 2009 (Day trip from Seattle)

Mount Olympus - Blue Glacier, August 2003 (Crown jewels of the Olympic Mountains)

Mount Skokomish - Southeast Route, September 2013 (And Mount Stone)

Mount Stone - West Ridge, September 2013 (And Mount Skokomish)

Mount Washington - Winter Direct, April 2007 (Wallowfest)
Mount Washington - Southeast Ridge, June 2007 (Loose)

Volcanoes and Volcanic Areas of the West:

Mount Adams (WA) - Adams Glacier, July 2004 (Classic north-facing glacier route)
Mount Adams (WA) - Southwest Chutes, July 2010 (Excellent Spring ski!)

Mount Baker (WA) - Easton Glacier, September 2001 (First climb with Andy Ball)
Mount Baker (WA) - North Ridge, June 2003 (Long day with nice ski/board descent)
Mount Baker (WA) - Watson's Traverse, May 2013 (Coleman-Demming up, Park down)

Crater Lake (OR) - South to North, June 2010 (Scenery only)

Craters of the Moon (ID) - August 2010, Report/Photos

Craters of the Moon

Craters of the Moon, to me at least, seems to be a relatively unknown and underappreciated National Monument tucked away in south-central Idaho. I happened upon the monument only after my folks visited there earlier in the spring and suggested that I go have a look for myself. Being that I was en route from Jackson Wyoming, following a climb of Grand Teton to climb Mount Borah (the tallest peak in ID), I naturally found myself driving Idaho's scenic State Route 20 (aka Goodale's Cutoff) towards the town of Arco. For those of you unaware, Arco holds the proud distinction of being the first town in the US to be totally electrified by nuclear power. In fact numerous atomic research facilities dot the desert landscape east of town, all of which bear some resemblance to the much-maligned Hanford site near Washington's Tri-Cities.

A short distance southwest of Arco lies the Craters of the Moon National Monument. Where better to burn an afternoon sightseeing, resting-up and camping the night prior to a Mt. Borah climb? Craters itself is unique in that it reminded me very much of the moonscape-like lava fields on Hawaii's Big Island. Honestly, where else on the mainland do you see such things? From caving in frigid lava tubes, hiking the rim of a long extinct cinder cone, to wandering across a vast and ancient lava flow, it is safe to say that I was pleasantly surprised by what Craters has to offer. Oh, and best of all the monument is not overrun by tourists like the uber-popular National Park a few hours to the northeast!

Click here for photos.
(Wandering about a volcanic marvel)

Dee Wright Observatory (OR) - September 2019, Report/Photos (Lava Fields at summit of McKenzie Pass)

Mount Garibaldi (BC) - Northeast Face, June 2002 (Lost my skis)

Glacier Peak (WA) - Sitkum Glacier, Summer 1998 (Snowboard descent)
Glacier Peak (WA) - Frostbite Ridge, August 2007 (North-South traverse)

Mount Hood (OR) - Palmer Glacier, March 2002 (First climb in Oregon)
Mount Hood (OR) - Reid Glacier Headwall, March 2005 (Instead of Sandy Headwall)

Mount Jefferson (OR) - Jefferson Park Glacier, May 2007 (Weather slow to improve and late start)
Mount Jefferson (OR) - Milk Creek West Ridge, June 2008 (Wet, warm and sloppy)

Lassen Peak (CA) - North Face, June 2010 (Great run, short day)

Lava Lands (OR) - September 2019, Report/Photos (Lava Butte, Trail of Molten Land)

Little Tahoma (WA) - Fryingpan Glacier, June 2011 (Snowboard descent)

Mount McLoughlin (OR) - Mount McLoughlin Trail, June 2010 (Boring)

Middle Sister, June 2008 - North Ridge, June 2008

Middle Sister, June 2008

It's been several years since Aaron and I last saw each other, let alone climbed together. A lot has changed since our Mt. Buckner climb back in 2002, but at my suggestion to climb and ski the Three Sisters, Aaron was still his usual self - always up for a challenge, no matter how ambitious. With an invitation to stay at his house in Bend, I loaded up the car and left Seattle at noon on an overcast Friday. An interminable drive south to Portland, then along hwy26 through Gresham and Government Camp finally reaching hwy97 for the final leg to Bend, saw me at Aaron and Amy's doorstep a fair bit later than I had hoped (97 via I90 appears to be the better way to go).

We caught up on old times for a bit before us both driving over towards the Mt. Bachelor ski area to drop a car (the highway was still unplowed and gated shortly after the ski area). With an approach via Pole Creek, our itinerary for the next few days called for bagging the Ugly (North) and Middle Sister the first day, then camping in the large basin between the Middle and the Big (South) Sisters and finishing up on the South and reaching the car parked near Mt. Bachelor on the following day. I would also have to drive back home on this day. After some careful scrutiny of the mileage and time we had available, however we opted to omit the more technical North Sister and thereby save ourselves from having to schlep the requisite technical gear up and over the remaining peaks.

Well, it was a good plan, despite the fact that we really needed an additional day to realistically pull it off. I also wasn't too hot on making the 5+-hour drive back home thoroughly trashed, dehydrated and sleepy. In the end, a combination of exhaustion (courtesy of the long drive the day before), laborious travel in deep snow, heavy packs (we carried our skis for much of the way onto the Hayden Glacier), and the overbearing heat did us in. I took one look from the summit of the Middle, beyond the South towards Mt. Bachelor near where we stashed the car waaaaay off in the distance, and decided then and there that there was absolutely no way I was going to make it that far the next day, and then drive back to Seattle to boot.

An unexpectedly nice and long ski/snowboard descent off of the southwest/south slopes of the Middle saw us to a picturesque basin where we intended to make camp. It was shortly before 3pm and we debated briefly whether or not we had time to still tag the South and make it back to camp. "With fresh legs and firm snow perhaps", we concluded, but neither of us felt particularly exited about having to down-climb the Prouty Glacier hourglass or North Ridge in the dark and in the state we were in. We of course could just 'run up' the peak first thing in the morning, but I was feeling decidedly weak that weekend and didn't want to add that on top of the drive for the next day. Then Aaron suggested, There's still time to get dinner and beer. And with that, we packed up our gear and high-tailed back towards the lower moraine of the Hayden Glacier, eventually picking up the Chambers Lakes Trail for a longer than expected slog back to the Pole Creek Trailhead.

I slept like I hadn't slept in weeks that night. Late the next morning, Aaron and retrieved the car left near Mt. Bachelor the previous day, and then proceeded north to Terrebone to check out Smith Rock State Park. Aaron gave me a brief tour and we managed a couple routes before fatigue from the day before and the heat sapped our motivation for any further physical activity. With plans for future climbs together, we parted ways and I got to the tedious task of driving back home.

One down, two to go...and to those of you who seek steeper, more aggressive ski lines, might I suggest the Thayer Glacier Headwall on the North Sister or the Diller Glacier Headwall on the Middle Sister? If it wasn't for the overnight gear I needlessly carried around that day, I'd probably have dropped-in on the latter myself.

click here for photos.
(Up North Ridge, down South Side)

Newberry Volcano (OR) - June 2010,

Newberry Volcano, June 2010

With an afternoon to burn following my climbing and splitboarding adventures on Mount Shasta, Lassen Peak and Mount McLoughlin, I decided to check out Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Being that I was passing through the area after visiting Crater Lake and with plans for a climb and ski descent of the South Sister the next day, exploring yet another volcanic remnant in a state so totally dominated by volcanism seemed like the logical thing to do.

The road leading up to Paulina Peak wasn't plowed yet so there'd be no gazing down onto the crater from above on this visit. However, exploring the Big Obsidian Flow was an unexpected treat and is probably the highlight of the National Monument. If you happen to be in the area, a side trip to visit this relatively unknown National Monument is well worth your time.

Click here for photos.
September 2019 (Big Obsidian Flow, Paulina Peak)

Mount Rainier (WA) - Ingraham Direct, August 1998 (Turned back by strong winds)
Mount Rainier (WA) - Disappointment Cleaver, July 1999 (Bad weather)
Mount Rainier (WA) - Tahoma Glacier, August 2000 (Turned back by altitude sickness)
Mount Rainier (WA) - Emmons Glacier, June 2001 (Turned back by weather and altitude-related issues)
Mount Rainier (WA) - Disappointment Cleaver, August 2001 (Successful climb with Ben Jones)
Mount Rainier (WA) - Liberty Ridge, June 2003 (Classic climb with Tom Sjolseth)
Mount Rainier (WA) - Fuhrer Finger, May 2009 (Snowboard descent)
Mount Rainier (WA) - Disappointment Cleaver, June 2011 (Gib Chute snowboard descent!)

Mount Saint Helens (WA) - Monitor Ridge, May 2001 (With snowboard descent)

Mount Scott (OR) - Mount Scott Trail, September 2019 (Highest in Crater Lake National Park)

Mount Shasta (CA) - Avalanche Gulch, June 2010 (A gong show!)

South Sister (OR) - South Slopes, June 2010 (Great ski summit!)

Steamboat Prow (WA) - Northeast Route via Interglacier, June 2008

Interglacier, June 2008

"Juneuary" they're calling this unseasonably wintry weather we're having this late spring. Indeed, it must be extremely rare to find over a foot of fresh powder snow on the Interglacier in June. Sure, one could always snowmobile into Glacier Basin in the winter and establish camp for the weekend and hopefully find the Interglacier in stable conditions, but to nail such conditions right after the White River Road has opened is remarkable. Perhaps what's more remarkable was the weather we encountered on this fine day. With only Mt. Baker, Little Tahoma and presumably Mount Adams to the south also poking above the sea of clouds, the forecast was actually accurate for a change; it was indeed cloudy and rainy below the cloud deck. We here in the PNW are very fortunate to have a mountain like Mt. Rainier to play on, as it affords us the opportunity to get up above the weather. And what a burly mountain it is!

Speaking of, I noticed an interesting phenomenon - it almost seems as if the Emmons Glacier itself is significant enough to create its own microclimate. While thick cloud cover hung over the entire Puget Sound Basin and Cascade Range, and surrounded Mount Rainier on all sides to about the 7000-ft level, a portion of the valley draining the Emmons was free of clouds oddly enough. It's almost as if an unseen current was flowing down the glacier and pushed the clouds back a couple miles from the glacier's toe. Whatever the cause, this effect gave us the illusion that it was a sunny day above 5500-ft, until of course we got high enough to see the clouds everywhere else. It was probably the only 'sucker hole' in Western Washington that day!

Anyway, Eric, Rob, Preston and I were the first on the Interglacier that morning, passing several parties that had camped at Glacier Basin the night before. It became increasingly gusty the higher we toured up the glacier, but we topped out on Steamboat Prow in good time. We reveled in our good luck with the weather and snow conditions, at times being downright goofy (was it the altitude ~9600ft?), before gearing up for a descent we knew would be, um...dare I say epic? Well, it could certainly be considered Epic for June 7.

Wind-scoured slopes near the top quickly gave way to nice wind-deposited powder for most of the 3600-ft descent, save for the final pitch into Glacier Basin itself, which had already started to glop-up. I was briefly tempted to skin back up for another lap, but instead opted to end it on a celebratory note and make it back to the beer sooner rather than later. A massive lenticular 'hat' engulfed Rainier's summit as were hiking out. I took one last look back before entering the forest and tipped my hat back at the mountain. Thank you Sir Rainier! Till we meet again...

click here for photos.
(Ski tour - "Juneuary" pow!)

Mount Thielsen (OR) - West Ridge, June 2010 (Lightning Rod of the Cascades!)

Mount Washington (OR) - North Ridge, September 2019 (5th-class rock climb on a Central OR volcanic chosspile)

Yellowstone National Park (CA) - August 2010, Report/Photos

Yellowstone National Park, August 2010

I made a loop through Yellowstone National Park the day following my Grand Teton climb. A lazy mid-morning start, congestion, bison-crossing backups and afternoon thundershowers all conspired to make this a day where the modus operandi was to hurry through as many attractions as possible before it got dark. I'm not sure what the big rush was to be honest, my spouse notwithstanding, it's not like I had a boss waiting for me back in Seattle. But anyway...

This is my second visit to the park, now as an adult rather than the prepubescent teen standing next to me. Was he just a reflection of my earlier self, hoping like everyone else to start capturing Old Faithful on video moments before its orgasmic climax? In any case, there's certainly a lot to see and learn here in this grandiose and volatile land, but the volume of human traffic circulating through the park is almost too much for me to bear. Below are a few snaps of Yellowstone's popular attractions taken during my rushed one-day loop through the park.

click here for photos.
(After Grand Teton climb, click here.)

Other US and International (also see volcanoes):

A Most Excellent Adventure (Various) - Western States, Aug/Sep 2016 (OR, CA, AZ, UT, CO, WY, MT)

Angels Landing (UT) - Angels Landing Trail, August 2016 (Zion National Park)

Avalanche Peak (WY) - Avalanche Peak Trail (Best view of Yellowstone...arguably)

Bear Creek Spire (CA) - West Route, September 2019 (Striking peak at head of Little Lakes Valley)

Blanca Peak & Ellingwood Point (CO) - East Route via Como Lake, Sept. 2018 (Highest in Sangre de Cristo Range)

Borah Peak (ID) - Southwest Ridge, August 2010 (The top of Idaho!)

Cathedral Peak (CA) - Southeast Buttress, September 2008, (Tuolumne Meadows classic)

Yosemite National Park

Agata and I fled the onset of the autumnal Seattle rains for the greener pastures, or more appropriately, meadows of Northern California. We flew in to San Francisco and spent the rest of the day and part of the following day visiting various local tourist attractions before embarking on the 4 - 5 hour drive east to Yosemite. Continuing with the tourist theme the next morning, we gawked at the usual suspects in Yosemite Valley and lunched at Glacier Point before making our way over to Tuolumne Meadows later that afternoon.

We spent the rest of the week, despite reservations, sleeping on dirt, climbing, scrambling and generally soaking in the unusual and sublime beauty this land of granitic domes has to offer. By the time Agata's mattress popped (we fixed it), we finally became acclimated to living at or above 8500 feet and waking-up to 25-degree mornings. With the sheer number of quality climbs, reliable autumn weather and relatively inexpensive SEA-SFO flights however, a return visit or two is definitely warranted!

What follows is a collection of photos from various stages of our California trip - from SF, to Yos and back to Seattle.

Click here for photos.

Chimney Rock (ID) - West Face, August 2008 (Thunderstorms)

Mount Cleveland (MT) - Stoney Indian Route, August 2012 (Top of GNP!)

Mount Conness (CA) - East Ridge, August 2018 (Classic Tioga Pass area scramble)

DECALIBRON (CO) - DEmocrat, CAmeron, LIncoln & BRoss (Four 14ers in one day!)

Mount Elbert (CO) - Northeast Ridge, September 2018 (Highest point in Colorado)

Gannett Peak (WY) - Gooseneck Ridge (standard), August 2011 (Top of Wyoming)

Glacier National Park #1 (MT) - Glacier and Waterton NP, August 2012 (3 of 6 10k'ers!)

Glacier National Park #2 (MT) - Kintla and Stimson, August 2014 (2 more of the 6 10k'ers)

Glacier National Park #3 (MT) - Mount Merritt, August 2015 (Final 10k'er in GNP!)

Mount Glory (WY) - South Slope, January 2019 (Glory Bowl snowboard descent!)

Grand Teton (WY) - Upper Exum Ridge, August 2010 (A great climb of The GRAND!)

Granite Peak (MT) - South face (via East Ridge), July 2011 (Top of Montana)

Half Dome (CA) - Cable Route, August 1996 (Fatboy goes to CA)

He Devil (ID) - Northwest Ridge, July 2012 (Highest in Seven Devils...maybe)

High Sierra 2010 (CA) - Lyell, Ritter, Sill & Whitney (Parent blog post with links to reports)

Hunting State Highpoints (MT & WY) - Granite & Gannett (Parent blog post with links to reports)

Mount Jackson (MT) - Northeast Ridge, August 2012 (Smoky day trip)

Kings Peak (UT) - Henry's Fork (via Anderson Pass), August 2013 (Top of Utah!)

Kintla Peak (MT) - South Ridge (via Akokala Lake), August 2014 (Third tallest in Glacier NP)

Krakatoa (Indonesia) - Sunda Straits (Indonesia), 1992 (High school field trip)

Mount Lamarck (CA) - Southeast Route, August 2018 (Instead of Mount Drawin)

Longs Peak (CO) - Keyhole Route, September 2016 (Rocky Mountain National Park)

Mount Lyell (CA) - Lyell Glacier, July 2010 (Highest in Yosemite)

Matterhorn (OR) - North Ridge, July 2012 (And Sacajawea!)

Medicine Bow Peak (WY) - Medicine Bow Peak Trail, September 2016 (Highpoint of Medicine Bow Mountains)

Mount Merritt (MT) - Old Sun Glacier, August 2015 (Final 10k'er in GNP!)

Moro Rock (CA) - Moro Rock Stairway, August 2016 (Sequoia National Park)

North Maroon (CO) - Northeast Ridge, September 2016 (Failed attempt)

Pikes Peak (CO) - Cog Railway, September 2016 (Worlds 5th highest railway by elevation)

Mount Regan (ID) - Southeast Ridge, September 2010 (First scramble in Sawtooths)

Mount Ritter (CA) - Southeast Glacier, July 2010 (Most prominent in High Sierra?)

Road Trip 2018 (CA, CO & more) - Colorado Rockies via Eastern Sierra, August/September 2019 (Peak bagging!)

Road Trip 2019 (OR & CA) - Central OR & Eastern Sierra, September 2019 (High winds!)

Mount Roothan (ID) - West Route, August 2008 (Detour on return from Chimney Rock)

Roys Peak (NZ) - Roys Peak Track, November 2014 (Classic Wanaka, New Zealand area hike)

Ryan Mountain (CA) - Ryan Mountain Trail, August 2016 (Joshua Tree National Park)

Sacajawea Peak (OR) - South Ridge, July 2012 (And Matterhorn!)

Sawtooth Scrambles (ID) - Regan & Thompson, September/October 2010 (Parent blog post with links to reports)

Mount Sill (CA) - North Coulior/NW Face, July 2010 (Best summit view in High Sierra?)

Mount Siyeh (MT) - South Slope, August 2012 (Big Choss, Big Views!)

Mount Sneffels (CO) - Southwest Ridge, September 2016 (CO's "best and most beautiful" mountain)

Snow King Mountain (WY) - Josie's Ridge Trail, September 2016 (Jackson's hike up The King)

Spencer Butte (OR) - Spencer Butte Trail, August 2018 (Short Eugene are hike)

Mount Stimson (MT) - Southeast Spur, August 2014 (Second tallest in Glacier NP)

Mount Swinica (Poland) - WNW Ridge, July 2001 (Day hike from Zakopane in Poland's Tatra Mountains)

Mount Tamalpais (CA) - East Peak, August 2016 (Great view overlooking San Francisco bay area)

Tenaya Peak (CA) - South(west) Ridge, September 2008, (Scramble with great views)

Yosemite National Park

Agata and I fled the onset of the autumnal Seattle rains for the greener pastures, or more appropriately, meadows of Northern California. We flew in to San Francisco and spent the rest of the day and part of the following day visiting various local tourist attractions before embarking on the 4 - 5 hour drive east to Yosemite. Continuing with the tourist theme the next morning, we gawked at the usual suspects in Yosemite Valley and lunched at Glacier Point before making our way over to Tuolumne Meadows later that afternoon.

We spent the rest of the week, despite reservations, sleeping on dirt, climbing, scrambling and generally soaking in the unusual and sublime beauty this land of granitic domes has to offer. By the time Agata's mattress popped (we fixed it), we finally became acclimated to living at or above 8500 feet and waking-up to 25-degree mornings. With the sheer number of quality climbs, reliable autumn weather and relatively inexpensive SEA-SFO flights however, a return visit or two is definitely warranted!

What follows is a collection of photos from various stages of our California trip - from SF, to Yos and back to Seattle.

Click here for photos.

Thompson Peak (ID) - South Coulior, October 2010 (Highest in Sawtooths!)

Mount Timpanogos (UT) - Timpooneke Trail, August 2013 (Number 20 of the 35 Great Peaks of the Continent)

Uncompahgre Peak (CO) - Uncompahgre Peak Trail, September 2018 (Tallest in the San Juan Mountains)

Utah Peakbaging (UT) - Timpanogos & Kings, August 2013 (Parent blog post with links to reports)

Mount Washburn (WY) - Mount Washburn Trail, September 2016 (Yellowstone National Park)

Wheeler Peak (NV) - Wheeler Peak Trail, August 2018 (Crown jewel of Great Basin National Park)

White Mountain Peak (CA) - White Mountain Peak Trail, September 2019 (Ultra-prominence peak in White Mountains)

Mount Whitney (CA) - Mountaineer's Route, July 2010 (Finale to a great week in the High Sierra)

Yosemite National Park (CA) - September 2008, Report/Photos

Yosemite National Park

Agata and I fled the onset of the autumnal Seattle rains for the greener pastures, or more appropriately, meadows of Northern California. We flew in to San Francisco and spent the rest of the day and part of the following day visiting various local tourist attractions before embarking on the 4 - 5 hour drive east to Yosemite. Continuing with the tourist theme the next morning, we gawked at the usual suspects in Yosemite Valley and lunched at Glacier Point before making our way over to Tuolumne Meadows later that afternoon. We spent the rest of the week, despite reservations, sleeping on dirt, climbing, scrambling and generally soaking in the unusual and sublime beauty this land of granitic domes has to offer. By the time Agata's mattress popped (we fixed it), we finally became acclimated to living at or above 8500 feet and waking-up to 25-degree mornings. With the sheer number of quality climbs, reliable autumn weather and relatively inexpensive SEA-SFO flights however, a return visit or two is definitely warranted!

What follows is a collection of photos from various stages of our California trip - from SF, to Yos and back to Seattle.

click here for photos.
(A week in the High Country!)

Rock and Ice (by location):

Banks Lake - 2010 (Climbing in the 'desert' near Grand Coulee Dam)
    Darrington - 2005 - 2007 (An unlikely oasis of granite tucked away in one of WA's wettest areas, gear)
    Erie (Mt.) - 2004 - 2005 (Anacortes area cragging with great views of the North Sound, bolts and gear)
    Exit 38 - 2002 - 2008 (North Bend area cragging, close to Seattle, great for training, mostly sport)
    Index - 2002 (Stout gear climbs on quality granite in Skykomish River Valley)
    Leavenworth - 2002 - 2009 (Endless possibilities & better weather, sport and gear)
    Lighthouse Park - 2006 (Top-roping at tidewater in West Vancouver, BC)
    Mazama - 2002 - 2007, 7/2010, 8/2010 (Methow Valley cragging and sport climbing)
    Squamish - 2003 - 2008 (Cragging and sport climbing on The Chief, Smoke Bluffs and various other areas)
    Tieton - 2007 (Vertical gear climbs on Basalt Columns near Naches, WA)
    Vantage - 2002 - 2003 (Sport climbs on Basalt Columns at Frenchman's Coulee)


    Alpental ice, March 2002 (Ice cragging near top of Armstrong Express chairlift at Alpental Ski Area)

Alpental Ice, March 2002

After bailing out of a planned climb of the North Twin Sister, Scott and friends decided to hike Mt. Persis, whereas I opted to take advantage of the last dump of the season and make turns in heavy Alpental pow. The snow was...well...heavy, but after a fresh wax it was all good. I wasn't expecting any climbable ice to be 'in' this late in the season and was suprised when I saw a couple of guys climbing the small ice flow to the left of the Alpental quad chair.

I called Scott later that evening and suggested that we give it a shot the next day. I would meet Scott later that next afternoon at the Granite Mountain trailhead and together with his friend John we drove up to the pass. I brought my AT gear with me and had to convince Scott and John who were without skis to just get on the damn chair. Without skis, or hassles for that matter, we all got on the chair and rode lazily to the top. I skied somewhat clumsily (for the first time in 10 years) down to the ice flow and waited for Scott and John to set up the top rope.

Scott's 60m rope barely reached the bottom of the route, and as one end of the rope was tangled and couldn't be reached I naturally delegated the rope retrieval task to Scott. I placed a screw in the ice for the belay and commenced climbing. I made it 2/3 of the way up on my first try before pumping-out. It was Scott's turn next. The ice was reasonably solid, but the steady drip coming down the rocks just next to us was a bit unsettling. Still, we all went back up for seconds. In the conditions we found, I'd rate the climbing as WI3+. All in all, it was a good experience...good enough for Scott, John and a couple others to return a few days later for another whack at the ice.

Click here for photos.

    Big Four Ice Caves, December 2001 (Swinging the tools at the base of Big Four's North Face)

Big Four Ice Caves, December 2001

After some negative feedback on earlier that week regarding the ice conditions at the Big Four ice caves, Chris, Dave and myself were somewhat uncertain as to whether going out there would be worth the effort. Hoping that there would at least be a small wall of ice sufficient for us lowly ice climbers to practice on, we decided to go and check things out. Once there, we would become acquainted with fellow members Scott Harder, Bill Hemmen and Ryan (last name?) and together have one of our first ice climbing experiences.

The road was plowed about two miles from the trail head. We very much enjoyed walking through the thick snowmobile exhaust fumes on our way there. Avalanches slabbed off the sheer North Face of Big Four Mountain while we approached the caves. We hiked far to the right of the basin, away from where the majority of the avalanches were occuring and found some small sections of vertical and overhanging ice to climb. As the other party was setting up a top rope, a small slab released from the cliffs directly above and ran out in a gully a few feet away. Spooky! I setup a top rope on a vertical section of the face, adjacent to where Scott, Ryan and Bill were attempting to climb an overhanging wall. The overhang proved to be too difficult to ascend and the snow-ice too brittle, and so we all ended up climbing my top-rope.

Click here for photos.

    Mount Baker Ice Cragging, November 2002 (Climbing seracs in Coleman Glacier icefall)

Mount Baker ice cragging, November 2002

It was time to get out and swing the ice tools again. It was to be a crisp, clear November day; conditions we hoped would be favorable for a day of ice cragging in the Coleman Glacier icefall.

Determined not to let the previous evening's Halloween party revelry interfere with my obligations to Scott and our plans for the day, I tried my best to ignore the fact that I was feeling quite hungover. I pulled into Scott's driveway about a half-hour late and made a dash for the toilet as soon as he opened the door. Although it was my turn to drive, I tossed Scott my car keys, curled-up in the passenger seat and writhed in misery for the next couple hours. By the time we reached the town of Glacier I was feeling much better. I had all but forgotten how rotten I had felt earlier as we parked at the trailhead. Scott was clearly impressed by my ability to "bounce back".

From the trailhead we hiked about three miles before reaching the lateral moraine at glacier's edge (ignore right fork in trail). We could see a sizable party at the base of a large serac. We hiked uphill briefly before locating a trail that led out onto the glacier's edge. We walked out onto the glacier, noting several smaller parties dispersed throughout the icefall. I soon located a serac that appeared easy to top-rope. The vertical serac wall featured hard glacier ice that bulged near the top. Tool placement was difficult; a light throw would cause the axe to bounce off whereas a hard throw would usually result in a large dinner plate falling off. We both struggled up the wall and decided to look around for something slightly less ambitious to climb. We found a slightly lower angled wall of perfect styrofoam ice basking in the sunshine. Scott and I set up a top rope and each took our turns swinging our tools. We then let another party climb our top rope as Scott and I poked around for another serac wall to climb. I decided to try my hand at leading a pitch. Scott cleaned the route and met me at the belay station. Once on top of the serac, it dawned on us that there wasn't an easy way to return the way we came. We carefully climbed along the serac tops, stepped over bottomless gaps in the ice, and followed a circuitous route through the icefall back to the lateral moraine. The sun was beginning to set and we hurriedly squeezed in one last top-rope before bidding our new friends farewell and returning home.

Click here for photos.

    Gray Falls, December 2009 (Multi-pitch waterfall ice climb in Ingalls Creek Valley)
    Observation Rock, October 2002 (Autumn ice climb in Mount Rainier National Park)

Observation Rock, October 2002

Scott and I departed for Observation Rock early on a Monday morning. With a persistent high pressure system prevailing over the Northwest, there was no better time than the present. In store for us, was a fun day of hiking on the northwestern side of Mount Rainier, and more importantly, a couple pitches of ice climbing without the commitment of a serious alpine ice outing. We arrived at the Mowich Lake Trailhead around 10am. There was a thin dusting of snow and ice on the ground in the parking area. The temperatures had clearly dipped well below freezing the night before and we hoped the cold temps would bode well for the ice conditions on the North Face. We started hiking towards Spray Park under sunny skies on a crisp but comfortable October morning.

After about 3 miles we reached Spray Park and were treated to some nice views of Mount Rainier. From this vantage point it is possible to see the North Face route. The trail meanders along the ridge top and disappeared under fresh snow. We traversed just right of the ridge on alternating heather, talus, and snow until reaching a large snowfield, at which point we stopped for lunch. After lunch, we geared up and traversed underneath the face until we were standing at the base of the climb. We heard voices and saw another party two thirds of the way up the face. Moments later, a couple baseball sized rocks whizzed by us from above. This was no place to hang out!

We simulclimbed the first 100 feet of 40 degree ice. The ice was solid, somewhat like water ice. Large dinner plates and ice chunks pelted Scott as he climbed below me. He decided to wait and put me on belay. Placing a screw in the ice, Scott belayed me until I reached a comfortable belay spot. With only two screws shared between us and nothing in the ice above the screw Scott placed, a fall would most definitely result a painful side down the portion of the face that we had just climbed. I placed a screw above a large boulder lodged in the ice, set up a belay and brought up Scott. His joy was short lived when I told him that it was now his turn to lead. Scott rested briefly and headed up. The ice steepened and Scott tired after only half a rope length. He placed a screw, set up a belay, and brought me up. I led out the final pitch to the top, which steepened to about 60 degrees.

In the interest of conserving the now limited daylight hours for the descent, we decided to forego the final scramble to the true summit of Observation Rock. From the top of the ice wall, we headed skier's-left and down along a ridge towards the Flett Glacier. We had to down-climb some unpleasant loose rock and scree to get on the glacier and then navigated around some minor crevasses to get back to the base of the climb. From here we headed straight down into the basin following tracks in the snow that we hoped would get us back on the trail. The sun was going down fast and we quickened our pace, anxious to locate the main trail before dark.

We located the main trail just before dark, and watched the sunset briefly while consuming the last of our food and drink. I freaked out momentarily when I saw what I thought was a UFO rising above the summit of Mount Rainier. To our disappointment it was just the moon. However, the rate by which the moon was rising in the sky was unlike anything I have ever seen before. We jogged most of the way back to the car but as always the trail seemed to drag on for eternity. We finally reached the parking lot, trudged over to Scott's truck and devoured what little beverage we could find. The drive out was largely uneventful, save for the drunk ahead of us that was swerving back and forth across the road. This is apparently a common occurrence in and around the town of Carbonado.

Click here for photos.

  Washington State
Steptoe Butte, Various (Drive-up with outstanding views overlooking Palouse region)
    Palouse Falls, Various (Falls, canyon and hiking trails near Washtucna)
    Dry Falls, Various (Visitor center and trails in Central Washington)
    Illia Dunes, Various (Sand dunes on Snake River, trails and popular WSU party spot, no photos)
    Kamiak Butte, Various (Pullman area hiking trails with Palouse area views, no photos)
    Ginko Petrified Forest, Various (Vantage area interpretive walks and scenery, no photos)
    Highway Overlooks, Various (Lewiston Hill, Deadman Pass, Manastash Vista, Columbia River, White Bird Battlefield)
    Lake Chelan & Stehikin, August 2000 (Weekend of hiking and sightseeing near Stehikin)
    Mailbox Peak, June 2001 (After-work hike near North Bend)
    Granite Mountain Lookout, July 2001 (After-work hike near Snoqualmie Pass)
    Melakwa Lake, Various (Popular Denny Creek hike near Snoqualmie Pass)
    Poo Poo Point, Various (Knoll on West Tiger Mountain popular with paragliders, no photos)
    Lake 22, Various (Springtime hike to a pretty alpine lake near Mount Pilchuck, no photos)
    Wallace Falls, Various (Falls and river hike near Goldbar, no photos)
    Snoqualmie Falls, Various (Very popular falls and visitor area near North Bend, no photos)
    Johnston Ridge Observatory, Various (Observatory and interpretive walks near Mount Saint Helens, no photos)
    Paradise, Various (Visitor center and trails on south slopes of Mount Rainier, see volcanoes)
    Mount Erie, Various (Drive-up peak with rock climbing and great views near Deception Pass, see rock climbing)
    Frenchman Coulee, Various (Hiking trails and basalt columns near Vantage, see rock climbing)
    Icicle & Tumwater Canyon, Various (Hiking trails and granite crags near Leavenworth, see rock climbing)
    Olallie State Park, Various (Hiking trails and sport climbs near North Bend, see rock climbing)
    Cascade Pass, September 2003 (Popular hike in North Cascades National Park)
    Hurricane Ridge, August 2004 (Popular visitor area and hiking trails in Olympic National Park)
    Cape Flattery, August 2004 (Exploring NW tip of Olympic Peninsula)
    Mount Si, June 2004 (Popular hike near North Bend)
    Sauk Mountain, October 2006 (Short hike near Darrington)
    Winchester Mountain Lookout, August 2010 (Instead of American Border Peak)
    Steamboat Rock, September 2010 (Hike in middle of Banks Lake)
    Ozette Triangle, October 2011 (Olympic Coast loop hike near Lake Ozette)
    Shi Shi Beach, September 2011 (Classic beach hike on Olympic Coast)
    Mount Pilchuck Lookout, June 2011 (Popular hike in Snohomish County)
    Slate Peak Lookout, August 2012 (Short hike from Harts Pass)
    Artist Point, September 2012 (Hike near Mount Baker Ski Area)
    Diablo Overlook and Dam, August 2014 (Diablo Lake explorations in North Cascades NP)
    Ladder Creek Falls, August 2014 (Gorge and falls near Newhalem)
    San Juan Islands, Various (Mt. Consitution, Eagle Rock, Turn Point)
    City of Seattle, Various (City parks, hikes, walks, scenery etc)

        *Much more here: mountain biking, ski touring, rock climbing & miscellaneous

  British Columbia
    Lake Garibaldi, July 2000 (Hike and camp in Garibaldi Provincial Park)
    Smoke Bluffs, Various (Hiking trails and granite crags in Squamish, see rock climbing)
    Lighthouse Park, Various (Hiking trails and seaside rock climbing in West Van, see rock climbing)
    Shannon Falls, Various (Short walk and stunning falls near Squamish, see Sea-to-Sky)
    Skookumchuck Narrows, August 2013 (Tidal exchange between Jervis and Sechelt Inlet)
    Paton's Lookout, July 2017 (Overlooking Seymour Valley/Watershed)
    Elk & Thurston Mtn,September 2017 (Popular Chilliwack area hike with great views)
    Saint Marks Summit, October 2017 (Great views overlooking Howe Sound)
    Sendero Diez Vistas, October 2017 (Buntzen Lake loop hike with views overlooking Indian Arm)
    Eagle Bluffs & Black Mtn., September 2017 (West Vancouver hike with awesome views, from Cypress Mtn.)
    Baden Powell Trail (East), Summer 2017 (Grouse Mountain to Deep Cove & Quarry Rock viewpoint)
    Baden Powell Trail (Middle), December 2018 (Grouse Mountain to Cypress)
    Baden Powell Trail (West), December 2018 (Horseshoe Bay to Eagle Bluffs, via Donut Rock)
    Murrin Park, April 2018 (Loop hike with excellent view of Howe Sound)
    Whyte Lake, May 2018 (Short West Vancouver lake hike)
    Brandywine Falls, Various (Hiking trails and falls near Whistler, see Sea-to-Sky)
    Mount Gardener, May 2018 (Hike to top of Bowen Island with stunning views!)
    Tunnel Bluffs, June 2018 (Lions Bay area hike with yet more great Howe Sound views)
    Saltspring Island, November 2018 (Mt. Maxwell, Mt. Erskine, Ruckle Park)
    Hollyburn Mountain, December 2018 (Snow hike from Cypress nordic center)
    Hope Lookout, September 2019 (Good view overlooking town of Hope, BC)
    Othello Tunnels, September 2019 (Old rail tunnels in Hope, BC)
    Abby Grind, September 2019 (The Abbotsford Grind!)
    Grouse Grind, BCMC, Flint & Feather, Various (All routes lead to Grouse Chalet)
    Seymour River, Various (Fishermans & Homestead Trails)
    Lynn Creek, Various (Headwaters, Canyon Park, 30 Foot Pool)
    Lynn Peak, November 2019 (Above the clouds, plus Rice Lake)
    Whytecliff Park, Various (Hiking trails and rock outcrops near Horseshoe Bay, see Sea-to-Sky)
    Squamish Spit and Estuary, Various (Short walk and scenery at mouth of Squamish River, see Sea-to-Sky)
    Mount Fromme, November 2019 (Pepper's first summit!)
    Norvan Falls, February 2020 (Aesthetic falls far up Headwaters Trail)
    Kennedy Falls, March 2020 (Falls and 600 yr old cedar tree via Big Cedar Trail)
    Capilano River, March 2020 (Clevelend Dam to Ambleside)
    Cypress Falls, April 2020 (Beautiful gorge and falls in West Vancouver)
    Centennial Trail, April 2020 (Loop hike in Lions bay with great views over Howe Sound)
    Burnaby Mountain, April 2020 (Loop trail run on North side of mountain)
    High Knoll, April 2020 (Loop hike in Minnekhada Regional Park with great Pitt River views)
    Pitt-Addington Marsh, April 2020 (Hike and dike at southern end of Pitt Lake)
    Skyline Trail, May 2020 (Hike up old chairlift swath to base of The Cut on Grouse Mountain)
    Greater Vancouver, Various (City parks, hikes, walks, scenery etc)

        *More here: western provinces, travel etc.

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