Splitboarding in the North Cascades

This past winter I haven’t been out on my snowboard as much as I’d like, so I’ve made it a goal this late spring and summer to get away from my computer and out into the mountains. Russell called me on Thursday and it turned out to be a great excuse to head north. We had originally planned on climbing Eldorado Peak, but a late start, lack of a permit, and a Ranger turning people back at the 7600ft camp changed our plans. We headed back to Marblemount to get a permit, but then decided to be lazy and drive up to Washington Pass.

We made it up to Washington Pass around 7:00 and set up camp. While making dinner we heard wet slides rumbling down the sun baked slopes. According to the NWAC this weekend was supposed to have the warmest temps since October. The number of wet slides definitely brought this to our attention.

We decided that the best thing to do would be to get an early start, wait for the snow to corn up and be back at the truck around 12:00 so we didn’t have to worry about the wet slides. We were up at sunrise getting our splitboards and gear ready for the short tour. I had to take this photo because the morning sun shining on the carbon fiber highbacks of my splitboard bindings looked really cool.

After a quick breakfast we were on our way up. Crispy morning snow made me happy to have my crampons. The terrain on the Birthday Tour is nothing special, but the scenery was pretty amazing.

Russell dropping in for some perfect corn turns.

Our first run was perfect corn from top to bottom. The terrain wasn’t very challenging, but the rolling slopes made for some fun high speed turns. You can see all the recent slide activity in the below picture.

We changed over at the bottom and cruised up the other side of the valley and saw more incredible views.

A shameless gear shot with Silverstar in the background.

Dropping in for the second run of the day we had to negotiate quite a bit of rubble from wet slides the day before. The snow was quickly changing from corn to slush and we were eager to rip down to the bottom. The slushy turns at the top were fun and fast.

I snapped off this cool sequence of Russell ripping a corned up north facing slope.


We ended the tour by finding a fun little chute at the bottom. We lowered ourselves in with the aid of some tree branches and then got a few last turns to the bottom.

This wasn’t an epic tour by any means, but it was great to get back on snow and make some fast turns. Snowboarding is way more fun than desk work…. splitboarding is the best.