Backcountry Ski/Snowboard - Radio Mountain


Backcountry Ski/Snowboard - Radio Mountain

Introductory backcountry tour -- includes beacon search practice session.

  • Moderate, M1 Intremediate Ski
  • For Beginners (Getting Started Series)
  • Mileage: 7.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 2,000 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 4,400 ft
  • Pace: Easy/Moderate

Summit East Northern most overflow parking area  -- Exit 54 of I-90

GPS: 47.3940897393, -121.397587037

I'm choosing this meeting area / trailhead to reduce conflict with lift ticket buying skiers.    In the past I've used the Silver Fir parking lot, but in recent years this lot has been filled to overflowing.

Note this trailhead/meeting area lacks any bathroom facilities.   However the "Traveler Rest" on HWY-906 between Exit 52 and Exit 53 is easily visited  enroute.

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.

I drive a Blue Honda CRV.

Trip intended for folks new to backcountry  skiing to gain experience using skins and touring in a relaxed and low commitment setting.    Experienced ski tourer's will likely find the pacing a bit slow.    If the trip develops a waitlist,  I will review the experience profile of people on the roster and cancel folks with more experience  in favor of less experienced ski tourers.

This trip will include a beacon search practice session.   We will likely do this in the meadows near Hyak Lake.    Please bring an extra stuff sack and some padding to wrap your beacon in.  Padding could be an extra sweater,  foam sit pad, bubble wrap, etc.   A tupperware or ziplock box to place your beacon in is also a good idea.   We will pair off and one person will bury their beacon and their partner will practice their search skills.   
The steepness of the terrain is modest -- I reccommend that your "Lift skiing sklls" be that you are at least a confident "Blue Run" skier and are able to descend easier "Black runs" without undue fear.   We will be skiing through the trees some and IME snow conditions on the lower sections of the route can be crusty.   We will ski the more challenging sections with care.  Remember that a "stem turn" is a powerful backcounty ski skill.  Also there are some creek crossings that can require care and good balance.    We will travel as a group to ensure that no one become separated.

Depending on snow depth at the time we might ascent and/or descend ski runs at Summit Central/East if there isn't deep enough coverage in the forest below Hyak Lake.   I consider a depth of 50 inches or above on the WSDOT Snoqualmie Pass gauge to sufficient .

Rough approximation of route map:

Note:  A Winter Storm Warning, Extreme Avalanche Forecast from NWAC, Freezing Rain or "Chains Required" on the highway will cancel the trip.    If NWAC forecast is for a High avalanche hazard -- inbounds lift skiing  will be a fallback option considered.

Additional Info:

My Touring Tips

My day touring ski pack contents:

Link to a blank copy of IFMGA Mountain Guide Mike Smiley's  "So what's your skiing ability?" calculator.    Please make a copy of this and fill it out for yourself  and let me know your "belt color" 

My Driving Tips:

My Carpooling Tips:


Olallie/Radio Mountain

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

  • The Ten Essentials
  • Boots, skis/splitboard, poles (snowshoes not acceptable for uphill travel)
  • Climbing skins
  • Avalanche shovel (metal blade)
  • Avalanche beacon (three antenna digital beacon -- no analog beacons)
  • Avalanche probe
  • Sufficient additional clothing to take an extended lunch break (30 minutes) without discomfort from the cold.
  • COVID-19 face covering
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