Another Angle on the Hump
While I was gone in Alaska, Winter 2.0 arrived back home and dropped a few feet of light snow down to 1000 ft. So naturally, upon my return, Logan and I decided there might be a good window to ski the North Slopes of Humpback Mountain down to the Palouse to Cascades Trail. There was a mix of wind and sun effect, so some sheltered north slopes seemed like the best move.
One could approach the north slopes from the bottom, but we decided to climb the Snowshed Face, traverse to the summit of Humpback, and drop in from the top. This meant we would only have to skin the P2C Trail one way instead of both ways.
The Snowshed Face was vastly changed from when I skied it a few weeks ago in perfect powder. Strong easterly winds had hammered the face and it was stripped down to ice up high. The temperamental spring weather had started a blizzard around us. Logan and I did not say anything, but I think both of us were questioning our decision to come out.
As we began the traverse over to the true summit, the clouds parted and we began to get some filtered sunshine, although snowflakes were falling softly. The winds died down and it became much more peaceful. My stoke started to rise.
Humpback has wonderful views of the I90 Corridor. The passing clouds and thunderstorm cells made for dramatic lighting.
To access the north slopes, we started briefly down the northwest ridge before crossing onto the north side. The west face of Humpback is an incredible corn run in the spring as the Hansen Creek Road melts out. That was the first line on Humpback that I skied, the one that began the Humpback obsession.
The bulk of the storm fell nearly five days prior, but the snow was still nice settled powder on the northern aspect. On satellite imagery, the spacing of the trees looked enticing and indeed it was perfect.
We enjoyed a long, high quality run through glades and open lanes. The terrain back here is quite vast and surprisingly open. The snow stayed good all the way down to 2800 ft, where there was finally some sun affect in open low angle meadows. The final 50 ft to the P2C was a bit thin, but we managed to keep our skis on for the entire descent!
At this spot, there is a culvert that goes beneath the P2C trail. It appeared to be filled with ice and might “go”. So I took a closer look.
There was a thin layer of ice on the bottom, allowing me to scoot along on my skis. I bid farewell to Logan and disappeared into the darkness.
I popped out on the other side, finding a nice pillowed creek bed that led down towards Tinkham Road. When there is more snow, I will have to come back for the complete descent of the Humpback north slopes!
Logan and I skinned a little over a mile east on the P2C before skiing back to the Lake Annette Sno-Park via the old logging road.
This was a very fun, chill afternoon ticking off my third line on Humpback! Humpback is my favorite mountain to ski near Snoqualmie with its big open slopes, but the north slopes had a different character than the others, with beautifully spaced trees. They are definitely worth visiting when the snow is good!
- This tour was 7 miles and 3700 ft gain.
- You can also enter the north bowl from a saddle just northeast of the true summit of Humpback.