Last Thursday I went out with the unstoppable Nick Pope to get some much needed exercise. We marched up the bony start to the Phantom Slide and quickly entered a glittering, cold world that has been a little scarce. I felt a little giddy at the prospect of soft, deep snow. But by the time we had gained the glades where the Phantom gives way to the steeper upper slopes of Snoqualmie, we knew that winter had indeed returned.
We schlepped up to the entrance to the Slot. It had been skied the day before according to a trip report on TAY; Alpental telemetry showed two inches overnight, and the tracks were gone. We did some careful investigation of the uppermost pillow, and agreed that we could boot back up if it proved more loaded than anticipated.
It skied wonderfully, though we did find a few pockets of slab. The lower Slot always impresses me; what a contrast with the south flank of the mountain! I am no geologist, but I suspect that it's a series of eroded dikes. It makes me want to get back to the Imperfect Impasse in winter some day. There is something spectacular about about descending such a narrow feature in such a massive piece of rock.
We skinned out of Thunder Creek and climbed back up our track and beyond to the summit of Snoqualmie. From there we skied down into the upper Crooked Couloir. We didn't much like the stiffening snow as we descended, so we skied back out to the East Dome of Snoqualmie.
From there we skied incredible snow down toward Commonwealth Basin, making for a grand loop on the mighty Snoqualmie Massif. Winter is back!