Humpback Mountain, Snowshed Face

The Hump is Back!

It is no secret that I am mildly obsessed with Humpback Mountain. This rather inconspicuous mountain west of Snoqualmie Pass holds some of the longest, most open ski lines of anything near the pass. A few springs ago, I skied the west face of Humpback in evening corn and immediately fell in love. This year, with the new Lake Annette Sno Park, I began to explore the skiing around Humpback Creek. The Snowshed Face, right above the Palouse to Cascades Trail, became my new goal.

The Snowshed Face is a 2000+ ft northeast facing slope on the shoulder of Humpback Mountain. The lower few hundred feet has formidable alder, but the upper slopes are very open. The challenge to getting good conditions is the low elevation. The bottom of the face is 2400 ft, well below pass level. After a cold December, most of this winter has had freezing levels at or above 3000 ft. But finally, we got snow down close to sea level and strong convergence at Snoqualmie. Sam ventured up the Snowshed Face one afternoon and found great conditions. He reported back to me and I knew I had to go for a dawn patrol the next morning.

For my dawn patrol, I brought along John, who is just about down for anything, and Brigette and Kelsey, who were looking to learn more tours in the area. We got started from the Sno Park and skinning up the trail, although there was definitely not enough snow to ski down here. Once we reached the Palouse to Cascades Trail, we took a right and found Sam’s skintrack leading up through the alder near the namesake snowshed.

The alder slowly got better as we gained elevation and the slopes above looked wonderful! A sliver of a moon was out at blue hour.

Through most of the alder, looking at the goods.
Moon over snowshed.

Sam had set an excellent low angled skin track and so we rapidly gained elevation. We could hear the soft roar of I90 and see the lights of vehicles as the sun started to rise, peeking through clouds and peaks to our east.

Light on Silver Peak.
First light on the promised land!

The snow was super light and not wind effected. We were all incredibly stoked for a beautiful sunrise and some great skiing.

First rays of light!
Brigette, Kelsey, and John making their way.

The skintrack ended around 4400 ft, but I took it a few hundred feet higher into the trees. This got us above the clouds and into some beautiful views of the high peaks of the area.

The distant Alpine Lakes Crest.
Beautiful fog out to the east.
Granite looming large.

Around 4700 ft, we transitioned and began our descent, first through glades, and then onto the giant open face.

John beginning down our run.

Usually, I am the one behind the camera, but Kelsey and Brigette are actually great photographers themselves. So this time, I got to be the ski subject. You can check out Brigette’s photography portfolio if you are curious! Thank you for the pictures.

Such good snow!
So much fun!

Some people like skiing technically, but mostly, I just like skiing fast and free. This terrain, with wide open faces, occasional bushes, and plenty of jumps to pop off, is absolutely ideal to my style. In the vibrant sunshine and great powder, it was absolutely amazing skiing. This was everything I had dreamed of with the Snowshed Face!

John getting a little bit of air!
Me just ripping down the Snowshed!

Sunny powder? Giant open fall lines? This could not be Snoqualmie – this had to be the Snoquasatch.

At the bottom, we stayed further right against a line of trees, where the snow was better in the shade. The alder was also better here, and we were able to pop out at the “U” in the P2C. We had to walk much of the trail down due to low snow coverage, but it still was a quick, easy exit. Along the way, we ran into our friends KJ and Grant going up for a full day. John made a spur of the moment decision to join them and so I gave him my snacks and wished him luck. 12 hours later, he returned home completely wrecked, ultimately having completed tours with three separate parties, logging 11,000 ft of gain, while eating only trail mix and granola bars the entire day. I guess when the skiing is just that good, everything else can wait!

After waiting patiently for the right conditions, it was wonderful to get the Snowshed Face in such incredible snow and weather. There are still more big fall lines to ski on Humpback Mountain and more to explore out of Exit 47!


  • To do one full lap like this, it is about 3000 ft gain. The lower 500 ft on the Lake Annette Trail often does not have enough snow to ski or skin, even when the slopes above have plenty. The difference in snowpack is stark.
  • The face gets early morning sun, but not direct. With such a low elevation, it definitely could form a sun crust easily unless the temperatures are decently cold.
  • You need a Sno Park pass to park here. Please support this program and buy one!

2 thoughts on “Humpback Mountain, Snowshed Face”

  1. This looks incredible and one I will definitely have to try out. Thanks so much for writing this Kyle! Any reason you did not go for the true summit?

    1. The true summit is a ways through the trees. If you skied directly down from the summit, you could ski the west face or big east bowl, but the Snowshed face is a ways to the north.

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