March 24, 2013

The Slot Couloir on Snoqualmie Pass is far from a secret, but it still holds a fair amount of wonder for me. One of the most aesthetic lines in the area, the Slot cleanly cleaves through a massive cliff wall off the back of Snoqualmie Peak. Skiing both north and south aspects, it’s what Charlie termed the Ying/Yang Tour for snow. Today was definitely the entire mixed bag. Starting up Snoqualmie, Matt, Charlie and I were shortly neck-deep in sporty climbing. Yesterday’s sun in the mountains glazed the southern slopes with a slick, breakable crust, making for challenging climbing. Expectations of good snow on the north side kept us moving upward, and we weren’t disappointed in the line.

Matt heading up the Phantom in the early dawn of a beautiful day.

Snack break looking out with Alpental Backcountry in the background.

Looking down into the Slot… just need to mind the giant cliff exposure out of sight to the left on your entrance.

In the gut of the line, ready for leftover powder.

Charlie riding the steep, smooth snow of the Slot.

Matt under the sheer walls of the Slot, headed toward the Middle Fork basin.

Matt heads toward the exit, last climb up held sheltered snow, kind of tease for the descent back down to the car.

There was no avoiding the return to the southern snow on the way out, and we all knew what was coming. Still psyched from the Slot run, the descent down the Phantom became an exercise in comedy, using hyper-exaggerated turns down breakable sun crust on anything in the open. Searching out tight, shaded trees, we found a few good turns, but were mostly happy to make it back out unscathed. All in all, a pretty solid adventure.

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