ApproachThis is a 5200’+/- ascent day.
Proceed southwest on hwy 93 past Storm Mountain Lodge and the Fireweed Trail Head parking lot. Look for a low angled natural ski run on the east side of the road. Park on the west shoulder. This is not an avalanche chute, but rather a path of deadfall caused by fire.
Skin up the left side of this feature for about 800' to the top. Pay attention for a wide trail cutting through the trees on your left. Take this road of least resistance until you are directly below a drainage. Continue southwest up this drainage to above tree level. The avalanche risk on your right is extreme.
Stay in the trees or move fast if skirting the trees. The day I went in, the avalanche show was quite exceptional. The noise itself was mentally taxing.
Break out of tree line and stay to the left of this high valley to avoid ice fall from the steep cliffs on the right
. Continue through to the cirque at the head of this upper mountain valley. Once it narrows, start ascending to the left. This is the crux of the danger on this trip. There are cornices, larger then you can determine from below, hanging over your head for the next 1000'.
The sun and wind really works these cornices. I zig zagged my way directly under this hazard, skiing out of several small point avalanches. My advice is to ski along a bench lower down and ascend directly to the visible scree, east of a cliff band. In other words stay lower longer than one is tempted. Once out of harms way, I took off the skies and traversed right over some steep snow to the final wind blown scree ascent, another 1000' to the uneventful summit. Of course a blizzard moved in on me at the summit. Beware of the summit cornice, it appeared someone was foolish enough to have stepped out on it.
Descend the same route.
This was a full on back country ski outing. I don't recommend this mountain in the spring with persisting avalanche conditions. It was a mistake for me to choose this route on this day. The objectionable hazards were significant for a solo trip.
Backcountry Skies and Skins/ Beacons, Avalanche Pole and Shovel (unless going solo)/This is a cold and windy summit, so plenty of clothes.