Mt. Shuksan boasts some of the most impressive icefalls, faces, and towers this side of Alaska. The 2-day White Salmon ski tour provides all the elements that make Mt. Shuksan great: a spectacular setting, long descents, and bona fide ski mountaineering challenges throughout.
Mt. Shuksan is an iconic peak of the North Cascades and boasts some of the most impressive icefalls, faces and towers this side of Alaska. The mountain combines world class scenery with a seemingly endless variety of ski routes from introductory ski mountaineering tours to extreme descents and everything in between. The White Salmon tour provides all the elements that make Mt. Shuksan great: a spectacular setting, long descents, and bona fide ski mountaineering challenges throughout.
Our camp will be on the fringe of the White Salmon Glacier with jaw dropping views of the very active Hanging Glacier. This location will position us for our summit push and ultimately a 6000' ski descent on the Sulphide Glacier, Crystal Glacier, upper reaches of the Hanging Glacier, Upper Curtis Glacier, and down the White Salmon Glacier to the valley below. Although the White Salmon is one of the most direct routes to the summit and the distance may be relatively short, this is a big mountain with enough transitions, route finding issues, and decision points to merit the interest of new or seasoned ski mountaineers alike.
Overall Difficulty Level: Difficult
Skills Required: Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience
Fitness Level: Very strenuous due to ski touring with big overnight packs
Day 1: The trip will begin at the White Salmon day lodge in the Mt. Baker ski area. From there we will travel out the White Salmon Creek valley towards the toe of the White Salmon Glacier. One of the great benefits of this trip is the access within a reasonably quick approach to the very rugged terrain of the northwest face. By early afternoon we will have our camp set and if time allows, possibly go for a short ski tour with light packs.
Day 2: This will be a big day with over 5000' of climbing and a long ski descent so we will have an early start. From camp we will tour up the White Salmon Glacier to the steep headwall called "Winnies Slide." This slope is over 50 degrees near the top and often requires crampons and an ice axe. From the top of Winnies Slide you will be stepping on to the Upper Curtis Glacier, continuing to the Hanging Glacier, then ultimately to the saddle between the Hanging Glacier and the Crystal Glacier. From here it will be a traverse over the Crystal and Sulphide Glaciers towards the base of the summit pyramid. If conditions allow, we will deposit our skis and climb to the summit. The ski descent will follow the uphill track with a pleasant mix of lower angle terrain with some steep sections for nearly 6000' of fall line skiing to the valley floor. This will be a physically demanding day with incredible views and fantastic skiing that does not disappoint.
Snow Travel Equipment
Although tipping is not a requirement, it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your trip cost or a flat amount that you are comfortable with.