Backcountry Ski/Snowboard - Haney Meadow Loop


Backcountry Ski/Snowboard - Haney Meadow Loop

Brush trimming hike to improve winter ski route

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers activity.
  • Moderate, M1-M2 Mountain 1-2 Ski
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 8.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 1,800 ft

Swauk Forest Discovery Trail Trailhead
I drive a Blue Honda CRV.

From the Discover Trail parking area, we will caravan up to:

Ken Wilcox Horse Camp at Haney Meadows

In the event that significant snowfall has occurred, driving up the road to Ken Wilcox might not be feasable or safe -- This would likely result in cancelling the trip or selecting another destination that would benefit from some trail work that doesn't involve driving at over 5000ft elevation -- such as the lower portion of the Nordic Pass trail near Hyak -- I'll be monitoring the conditions carefully.

At this time due to COVID-19, I'm discouraging carpooling with non-household members.   The trip plans and guidance may change at anytime due to changing conditions, this includes last minute cancellation.

This will be a hike with pruning tools to scout and possibly improve a ski descent route from the top of Tronsen Head into the Tronsen Basin.    

The traditional Tronsen Head loop travels fairly far north before cutting west to descend in to Tronsen Basin.    There are extensive open slopes that look to provide good skiing,  however access to these slopes is guarded by cliffs separating the flat top of Tronsen Head from the open slopes below.   

There are several spots along the cliff band that might be skiable without cliff jumping,  but I have never taken the time while on a ski tour to fully investigate these.   The most promising line for "non-ciff-jump" descent has a lot of "dog hair" trees in it -- so after scouting this route and if we find it reasonable, we would  clear the dead lower branches off the tight trees to make a more enjoyable route through the trees.

Here are the entrance lines I want to investigate and possibly improve.

You'll need sturdy boots, tough rain gear that can tolerate contact with brush, work gloves to protect hands and a helmet to protect from falling branches.   

You'll also need a pruning saw, ideally mounted on a pole.   May favored tool is a replacement pruning saw blade bolted onto a replacement rake handle.   This is generally long enough to trim branches up to ten feet off the ground, without being too unwieldy to hike with.   
Please do not bring power tools of any sort.   
My main goal of any trip is "no new scar tissue, and no emergency room visits"   Power tools make it too easy to fail that goal.   
Also  I feel that trimming  the lower branches of  conifer trees improves skiing significantly, without a large environmental impact -- removing entire living trees would have a much larger environmental impact.

You don't need to bring avalanche safety gear,  if sufficent snow has fallen to create any avalanche hazard, this trip would be impractical. 


Haney Meadow Loop, Diamond Head & Windy Knob

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

  • The Ten Essentials
  • Eye protection
  • Tough gloves (ideally cut resistant)
  • Helmet
  • Pruning saw 
  • Sturdy Boots
  • Outerwear suitable for crawling through rain soaked brush

Trip Reports