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Skiing in East Face of McClellan's Butte

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On March 13, 2006 Martin Volken skied the East Face of McClellan's Butte off the summit. He was accompanied by Dave Perkins who skied the face from about 300 feet below the summit. 

McClellan's Butte (5162 feet) is a prominent peak in the upper Snoqualmie Valley and can be seen on the south side of Interstate 90 at around Milepost 40. We were not able to find out if this line had been skied previously. If you have any info regarding this descent, please send it to 

The ski descent offered almost 2900 feet of fall line skiing. The steepness ranged from 45 degrees at the top to around 30 degrees in the lower section. The first turns off the summit are a bit exposed and good snow stability assessment is crucial for the entire tour. 

We think that when in condition the descent is a better one than the North Couloir descent since it offers more open skiing, a descent off the true summit and a longer run. 

Equipment needed:

Standard ski touring equipment, maybe a Rando Rope, alu crampons, harness and a light ice axe for the summit section. 

Here is how you get there: Take Exit 38 off I-90 East bound and follow the road up the valley. Just before you get to the Freeway entrance turn off onto a dirt road and drive up this road until the road turns south at around 2200 feet. You will most likely have to park here. 

The tour:

Tour up the road for about 1.5 kilometers until the road makes a U-turn to the left. Leave the road here and skin up along Alice Creek until you come to a very obvious opening at around 2360 feet. Look up to the right. This is your objective. 

Tour up this slide path until you get to about 4200 feet. Now turn South South-West until you reach a wooded shoulder at around 4700 feet. (You are basically following the summer trail now) Go around the shoulder completely until your bearing is North North East (still following the summer trail). Stay just under the ridge until you can gain it about 200 meters South South-West from the summit. Now follow the short distance to the summit. (About 3 to 4 hours from the car) 

From the summit ski slightly skiers right for about 300 feet of vertical between the cliffs below you and a rocky outcropping to your right. Keep skiing slightly right for another couple hundred feet and then straight down the obvious path back to 2360 feet (about 5 hours car to car). 

Considerations: This tour has for the most part a south-easterly aspect and therefore gets a lot of sun. An early start is imperative. Conversely - a freeze melt cycle can turn the summit section into a committing descent, if the top slope is still frozen. We would imagine that the currently very attractive slope could turn ugly in lower snow years. 

At all times is good snow stability assessment of the utmost importance.



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