North Twin Sister – PNW Trip Report


This post by WildSnow.com blogger  

This past Friday Drew and I headed up to the North Twin Sister to check out a sweet couloir on the south side. With reports of corn snow on south slopes from a few days of high pressure, it seemed like an excellent idea for a backcountry ski trip.

Hiking up below the north face of the North Twin Sister.

Aerial photo of the couloir from 2005 (a low snow year). Credit goes to the awesome John Scurlock for the photo (author of Snow & Spire). Thanks!

We met early in Demming and left the trailhead by 4:45. The Twin Sisters are a cool group of peaks. They are easily the closest real mountains to Bellingham, and are beautiful and craggy. Unfortunately even though the mountains are small, the access is difficult. They are surrounded by acres of closed off private logging land. The road is closed to cars, but it’s easy to slip a bike under the gate and push it up the road.

The clearcuts alongside the logging road on the approach afford incredible views of the west side of Mt. Baker.

After a few hours of biking and hiking, and losing our way on the maze of logging roads, we managed to make it to skinable snow. It’s been a few years since my last trip to the Twin Sisters. Clear-cutting and new roads made the approach almost unrecognizable, and a little difficult to follow. Once we started skinning on frozen corn, the climb went quickly, and we made it to the top by about 10:00. We had come prepared for rappelling, based on the photos we’d seen of the chute. However, from the top it looked much more filled in than I’d expected. We started down, and found nice snow. The couloir did in fact go though the whole way, and we skied out to the valley below.

Climbing up gloppy snow on the top of the north face.

Finding the beautiful entrance to the top of the couloir.

Drew in the upper couloir.

I had entertained thoughts of heading over to the South Twin Sister as well, but it had been enveloped in clouds all morning, and continued to be obscured. We opted to hike up our descent route, reached the summit again, and skied off the north face. Our timing was perfect! Wet, sluffy snow on the top of the face gave away to perfect corn. We made short work of the snow-covered road, reached our bikes, and coasted down to the car by 2:30.

Getting back to our stashed bikes on the logging road.

On every clear day from the Mt. Baker Highway, you can see the enticing tops of the Twin Sisters poking above the hills. The North Twin is on the left.


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Comments

4 Responses to “North Twin Sister – PNW Trip Report”

  1. Jesse April 30th, 2013 10:00 am

    This is awesome. Nice one Louie.

  2. Skian April 30th, 2013 7:35 pm

    Great report, like your style.

  3. Brian May 1st, 2013 7:31 am

    that does it; I am moving to PNW.

  4. Drew Tabke May 6th, 2013 10:24 am

    Thanks Louie! Great day out!

    Weather is pretty splitter in the PNW right now and looks to be for maybe another week. Now would be the time for a smash-n-grab trip up here to the Cascades or Raindawg.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information opinion website and e magazine. Lou's passion for the past 45 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about backcountry skiing and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free back country news and information here, and tons of Randonnee rando telemark info.

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