We got up to Snoqualmie around 9:30 and had been planning to hit Pineapple Basin but Summit West was looking good so we geared up and planned to lap it a few times until security came along and told us we couldn’t skin up even though we saw others coming down Wildside. So back to plan A – we drove over to the top Alpental parking lot and hit the trail around 10:15.
There was a skin track up to the little lake so we followed that. Before the lake there was a fork in the track, we took the right fork to the lake. That turned out to be a mistake as we had to break trail a few hundred vertical feet until we found an old skin track up. What we should have done was take the left at the fork which would have lead to the skin track.
Close to the top we started to see a good number of people coming down. They couldn’t all have skinned up before us? No… We didn’t realize that you could hit Pineapple Pass by traversing off the top of Alpental . With sweat pouring off of us we heard from some coming down that it is only a 5-10 minute traverse over and you don’t need to trek out, there’s a ski out if you don’t ski too low.
We didn’t end up going to the top of Pineapple Pass, instead we went up to the ridge on looker’s left as you go towards the pass and then ripped down. Up top we enjoyed the 12″ of new, down low it got very wet and heavy and we set off a few sloughs in the steeper sections. Also, Martin’s backcountry guide book warns “be aware of the smaller cliff drop-offs—which are characteristic of the whole Denny Mountain north slope.” We were made aware and will be more careful coming down next time.
Now for years I’ve been hearing people rave about Alpental and I haven’t really understood why, but now that I’ve seen just how far and how much terrain you can get to I see what the fuss is about. Might just have to get a season’s pass for next year!
Learnings this time breaking trail is hard work, much easier to find someone else’s old skin track and I really need to bring a bag lunch instead of eating Cliff Bars and I now understand the Alpental backcountry map much better (there is so much terrain we haven’t skied!).
Also, this trip was a lot more fun than Kendall Stump last week…