Columbia-Peak-west-side
The Southwest Face of Columbia Peak in the Monte Cristo area of the Washington Cascades. The ski route is from the high point of the peak.

There is an aerial photographer in Washington who has become perhaps the single biggest source of visual inspiration for climbers and skier operating in the Cascade range. His name is John Scurlock, and his work is breathtaking. For years, a single shot of his has haunted me. At first I asked myself if it was possible to ski the line depicted in the image. Then I put in the time to head all the way to Columbia Peak only to be turned back on the final pitch by a snowpack made fragile by recent wind. That was three years ago, and the line has been right at the top of my list ever since.

Last week conditions were ripe. Steady clear weather had settled the snow up in the high mountains, while a temperature inversion kept the snow in the lowlands intact allowing the long 12 mile approach to be dealt with via snowmobile. Brian Fletcher and I left Seattle on Friday night at 3am and ten hours later we were basking in the sun on the narrow summit ridge-line with the hauntingly aesthetic and terminally exposed southwest face at our feet. Our friends Erik Svege and Eric Wehrly were close behind and joined us for the descent. I’ll let the video and photos tell the rest of the story.

As always, custom fine art prints of all of my work are available. And you can follow me online at: Facebook, Instagram, Google+, 500px and Twitter

14 thoughts on “Freshies – Columbia Peak SW Face

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  2. Love the high-dagger POV and the extreme exposure at the top. What’s w/ the guy towing his Hi 5’s though?

    The descent looks mostly creamy and just the right amount of spicy!

    1. John-E, thanks! The towing of the skis just might be the coolest thing since sliced bread. They’re almost weightless and frictionless on the snow, so it beats carrying them. Try it out! If I had holes in my tips, I would too.

  3. Gorgeous Scott — great pictures and I’ll echo the video comments. Love the spliced in shots to break up the helmet-cam footage.

  4. Bold, Scott – very bold. Nice job – makes me want to get back out to WA! New England has some cool lines, but nothing quite like that!

  5. Awesome interplay between the b&w and the helmet cam. I love how you spliced your shots in the edit. Quite the inspiration. Well played, sir. Looking forward to more.

  6. Beautiful. And beautifully told. Looks like you guys had pretty much perfect conditions too! Congrats on the ascent… it’s really something to start checking off the wish list.

    1. Thanks Jonny, you would have love this one. Perfect conditions indeed. As safe as something like this can be…Sure love those midwinter high pressure weather systems. Cheers!

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