Last weekend held grand adventure and a gorgeous alpine experience in the form of Spider Mountain’s north face, deep in the North Cascades of Washington. Located in the Cascade Pass region, home to many of Washington’s tallest and most formidable peaks, the north face of Spider is a dream line for the intrepid ski mountaineer. Ranking right at the top of my season with other epic outings including New Year’s Day on Shuksan and the West Face of Columbia, I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to climb and ski such a grand classic.
Two days with my frequent cohort, Brian Fletcher got the job done. The first day involved a 3am departure from Seattle, a tandem approach up the Cascade River road on Brian’s snowmobile, and a long day of ski touring from the Cascade Pass trailhead to Arts Knoll, the saddle directly across valley from Spider. At camp we were treated to a top-10, mind blowing sunset on one side, and a haunting and imposing view of the following day’s objective on the other. The following morning broke with still clear weather and allowed a safe and expedient climb of Spider once we found the key to crossing the mammoth bergschrund at the bottom of the upper face. The skiing was nothing short of amazing with stable soft snow from the summit to the glacier far below, with but a single enjoyable mandatory air over the gaping bergschrund to keep us on our toes. Rare are the days where such an outing can be achieved with so little objective hazard. It’s always a pleasure to be in the mountains, but in this instance, it was a rare treat indeed. Yummy.
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