Ascent of Mount Catherine on 2018-01-07

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Eric Gilbertson
Date:Sunday, January 7, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Catherine
    Elevation:5052 ft / 1539 m

Ascent Trip Report

We decided to try to ski up Mount Catherine by a novel route suggested by Martin Volken's 2002 guidebook "Backcountry Skiing Snoqualmie Pass"--up from the north, instead of the usual approach from Windy Pass. This worked out well for us, saving a long boring road ski and allowing us to bonus-bag Mount Hyak on the way out. See the GPS track for our route.

The north and northwest slopes of Catherine are quite steep and forested, and the ski-bushwhacking can be challenging. We used many slopes of the Summit East (Hyak) ski area, which were a bit crowded with downhillers in the afternoon--as we skinned up we stayed to the edge of the downhill trails, and we saw numerous ski patrollers and no one accosted us as we skinned uphill. So we used a few groomed trails without every paying for anything.

The crux of our route on Catherine was a short, steep icy couloir, which we booted up and down with skis on our backs--on the downhill we only walked down about 40 vertical feet on the narrowest and iciest part. Other than that, this was a true skis-on-summit climb.

Other obstacles where huge logs we had to cross on snowdrifts, and a few narrow tree well spots in the lower logged-over section. Most of the old growth was good skiing, although the snow was icy crust with just a couple inches of powder--not the greatest, but at least one could make turns more easily than in the usual Cascade concrete.

The high point of Mount Hyak was a snow mound just north of the exit chute from the Hidden Valley chairlift.

All in all a successful and enjoyable outing. The skies were pretty overcast and it snowed lightly pretty much all day, but it certainly could have been far worse.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2592 ft / 789 m
    Elevation Loss:1892 ft / 576 m
    Distance:5.1 mi / 8.2 km
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Skis, Ski Poles
    Weather:Snowing, Cool, Breezy, Low Clouds
Light snow
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2592 ft / 789 m
    Extra Loss:160 ft / 48 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 5.9 km
    Route:N Slopes
    Trailhead:Summit East Parking  2620 ft / 798 m
    Time Up:3 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1732 ft / 528 m
    Distance:1.4 mi / 2.3 km
    Route:N Slopes
    Trailhead:Mill Creek  3320 ft / 1011 m
    Time Down:50 Hours 
Ascent Part of Trip: 2018 - Catherine

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Catherine2018-01-07 a
2Mount Hyak2018-01-07 b
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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