Avalanche Mountain VI / 雪崩山之六

  • Reading time:3 mins read

Avalanche Mountain was our final and 79th hike of the year! And today, the pup and I continued our New Year’s Eve tradition. Glad that the avalanche danger in the mountains was low.

The beloved Avalanche Mountain
The beloved Avalanche Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Access: Snoqualmie Alpental Ski Area
Round Trip: 7 miles
Elevation Range: 3120′-5360′
Gear: microspikes, snowshoes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: with guidance

Alpental Ski Area

This year, I managed to rally two friends to help spice up the usually low-key outing. Anne later regretted not to have brought her skis. Plus Shannon, the blogger behind musthikemusteat.com.

We met in the empty Alpental Ski Area parking lot, bright and early. Then we started hiking with microspikes. There had been heavy foot traffic on the Snow Lake Trail. So we made a decent time to the ice cliffs at 4400′.

Through stream
Through stream

See more trip photos here.

Snow Lake Pass

We quickly moved through the avalanche terrain below the ice. There the snow was soft. Using deep tracks from after the last snowfall, we went straight up next to the cliffs.

Later we found the trail above the cliffs. Then we finished the last stretch up to the pass. There we switched to snowshoes by the Alpine Lakes Wilderness boundary signage.

Entering Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Entering Alpine Lakes Wilderness

See more trip photos here.

En Route to Avalanche Mountain

From the pass, we moved northeast in fresh powder. Then we began the one-mile-long traverse to the base of Avalanche Mountain. At the same time, we broke trail in fluffy snow.

The mountain soon came into view in the basin. Through the dense forest, we also saw parts of Snow Lake before going past Lake 4240. The terrain stayed moderate until we reached the base of the mountain at 4600′.

Leg work
Leg work

See more trip photos here.

Traversing the South Ridge

So for the next 400′, we moved through steep terrain. Later we reached the south ridge at 5000′. Then we had our first look at Snoqualmie Mountain‘s impressive north face. Soon, we moved north on the narrow ridgeline.

Meanwhile, we stayed below the west of the crest mostly. So we could safely avoid the drop-offs on the east. Then we got below the summit in a quarter of a mile. There a section of slab crux put us at the top at last.

East panoramic view
East panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

Avalanche Mountain Summit

What great weather we had! On top of it, the summit was virtually windless. So we could enjoy the abounding views comfortably. It was a relief from the recent gloomy weather.

Avalanche Mountain continued to be the best vantage point to view Snow Lake. Once again, I had expected to see low clouds in the basin, like in years past. But they failed to make an appearance this time.

Snow Lake basin and friends
Snow Lake basin and friends

See more trip photos here.

Outro

We enjoyed an extended stay. Later a group of three skiers appeared. They had come from the basin below Chair Peak. But they were about to ski down the steep west slopes. But of all the times we were here, it was the first we had seen anyone.

We soon went down the western slopes. Then we made our way back up to the wilderness boundary. The skiers we met earlier soon caught up to us on the pass. One of the even picked up my tripod I had forgotten on the summit!

Thanks for an avalanche-free day
Thanks for an avalanche-free day

See more trip photos here.

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