Ruth Mountain Summit Bivvy – Photos

Post by blogger | November 1, 2011      

I headed up to Ruth Mountain (Washington State, near Shuksan and Mt. Baker) last week with photographer Jason Hummel. We got some excellent skiing, then endured a cold night on the summit. We woke to a beautiful sunrise over the Picket Range and we’re able to get stellar pictures — although they don’t really do it justice. Check out Jason’s photos from the trip (link), a few of mine are below.

Jason surveys Icy Peak from the summit of Ruth Mountain.

High above the valley bottom, we found enough snow to throw on our skins.

We were able to find some pow on some slopes.

The stunning sunrise made the cold and wind well worth it. Here's Jason capturing it on digital memory.

The weather moved in just as we were hiking out. It's a rare treat when weather lines up with expectations.

Technical info: I’m shooting with a Canon G 12, with post-processing for web display. Click images to enlarge.


23 Responses to “Ruth Mountain Summit Bivvy – Photos”

  1. Chris November 1st, 2011 10:34 am

    One of the best nights I’ve ever had in the mountains was a September night on top of Ruth with my dad looking over at Shuksan one way and the Pickets the other. Nice work.

  2. Kevin November 1st, 2011 10:39 am

    So, Louie, you have been in the Northwest for a couple years, I have to ask the question that all us up here in the Northwest want to know. What’s better, the North Cascades or Colorado?

    Also something is wrong with the Anti-spam quiz, “What device attaches boots to skis?” I correctly answered dynafits, but it rejected my answer. This is wild snow isn’t it??

  3. Greg Louie November 1st, 2011 10:46 am

    Capital “D”ynafits

  4. Lou November 1st, 2011 11:46 am

    Be careful talking about quiz answers, there’s a room in India with 3,000 people in it, who’s job it is to break these things.

  5. Jason Hummel November 1st, 2011 11:48 am

    I love your first image Louie. Awesome! It was a great night in a wonderful place. We’ll have to get back there for Icy Peak in a few months.

  6. Louie November 1st, 2011 12:13 pm


    Seems someone asks me that question every couple of days :-). They both have their pluses and minuses, but right now I’m liking the PNW better.

    It’s nice to be able to do some mid-winter ski mountaineering, something that isn’t very safe 90% of the time in CO. The amount of wilderness in the North Cascades is unparalleled, and it’s cool to have a bunch of glaciers to ski on.

    However, PNW “pow” isn’t even CLOSE to Colorado blower!

  7. Nick November 1st, 2011 1:30 pm

    Great photos by you and Jason!

  8. Mark November 1st, 2011 1:50 pm

    Nice pictures. A small request. Those of us who grew up in the PNW don’t need the “state” after Washington to know which Washington you’re talking about 😉

  9. Steven November 1st, 2011 2:09 pm

    Great photos! Looked like an amazing bivy. Been planning on heading up to Ruth this weekend, this solidifies it!

  10. Lou November 1st, 2011 4:15 pm

    Mark, that’s a good point, only not all readers of are from Washington State. In fact, many are from Europe. Thus, our style guide will continue to ask that we state that at least once in each blog post. Sorry about that.

  11. Robert November 1st, 2011 6:20 pm

    What bivy gear did you use?

  12. Biggsie November 1st, 2011 7:59 pm

    Louie – That first pic is money. Amazing depth — I love what’s going on in the far background. Nice work dialing the exposure to get both the high and low lights.

  13. Kathy November 1st, 2011 9:17 pm

    yeah .. great b&w of hummel and icy .. nice work man!

  14. Lisa November 1st, 2011 11:39 pm

    Beautiful photos, Louie!
    Christmas wish: a framed print of your B&W summit shot for my office. It will bring me memories of the fun ski we had with you on Ruth this past spring.
    Lots of love, Mom

  15. Jesski November 2nd, 2011 4:19 pm

    Cool, Jason! Looks rad! -Jessie

  16. Gregg November 2nd, 2011 5:59 pm

    Wonderful pictures Jason and Louie. That picture of the the pickets and the sunset colors is a stunner. Gregg

  17. Jason Hummel November 2nd, 2011 6:01 pm


    Louie just had a light bivi sack (around a pound I think) and I had no bivi, just a 0 degree mtn hardware bag and a thermorest. Hope that helps!

  18. Mike T November 2nd, 2011 6:42 pm

    Good one!

    It would be fun to got to Icy Peak with you guys…. I have two half hearted attempts due to two hour naps on top of Ruth Mountain!

  19. Andy November 3rd, 2011 11:44 am

    There is a rudimentary rock windbreak/bivy site on the summit, if memory serves. I didn’t spend much time looking at the ground, though, when I skied it in August. The views are just too good.

  20. Louie November 3rd, 2011 3:10 pm

    Didn’t find any wind break, the top already had a bunch of snow, maybe it was burried. It’s funny, the summit looked completely different than it did in June. Goes to show how much of a difference a NW snowpack makes!

    I was using a BD Twilight Bivy. It only weighs 10 oz, and works keeps snow and wind out well, and breaths fairly good. The fabric isn’t very waterproof, though, so I’ve never tried it in rain. I don’t use heavier bivy sacks much, since once you get above 1.5 lbs, you might as well just take a tent. Another thing that’s nice about the Twilight is it’s a pretty tight fit, so it doesn’t flap in the wind.

    I was pretty pysched how that first picture turned out, thanks!

  21. Drew Tabke November 7th, 2011 11:33 am

    Great shots Louie and Jason! If I could quit going surfing on all of my free days I swear I’d go skiing. Which btw is another element in the great NW vs. everywhere else debate 😉

  22. Don The NorthCascades Wanderer November 10th, 2011 11:13 am

    Ruth is a great place to head into anytime of the year. In the spring it is nice to wait until you can drive to the trail head other wise it is a LONG approach. Its nice to see you guys writing about some of my regularly visited playgrounds. You should come up and spend some of the winter days out on Hermans Saddle it is on the northside of Table Mountain, or ski the Swift Creek Drainage out to Lake Ann.

  23. Ziga May 30th, 2013 2:57 am

    Now this looks like a skiing paradise! Hope u enjoyed!

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