Snoqualmie Haute Route

The Snoqualmie Haute Route is a committing, long, multi-day alpine traverse leading from Alpental to Mount Hinman and beyond that will bring new meaning to Snoqualmie Pass ski touring.

April 3, 2019 - April 7, 2019

Difficulty rating and Skill requirements

Difficulty Rating System Explained

Overall Difficulty Level: Very difficult

Skills Required:  Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience

Fitness Level: Very strenuous due to skitouring with big overnight packs

  • Category: Ski
  • Type: Guided
  • Ratio: 4:1,6:2
Back in 2000 we pioneered this committing, long, alpine multi-day traverse that will bring new meaning to Snoqualmie Pass ski touring. We will take five full days and four nights to complete this 40-mile tour that has approximately 20,000 feet of elevation gain. The tour starts from the end of the Middle Fork road or Snoqualmie Pass, weaves up to the north of the pass through the Chimney Rock and Lemah areas, and ends in the Commonwealth Basin at Snoqualmie Pass. We will have the option to summit Big Snow Mountain, Mount Hinman, Chikamin Peak and Alaska Mountain.
Day 1:   We will meet in front of the guiding office at 6am, conduct a gear check and then drive up the Middle Fork Road. We should be able to drive to at least near the road head at about 3000 feet. From there we will hike and then ski up the Hardscrabble drainage and the summit of Big Snow Mountain (6680feet). We will camp at the saddle north of Big Snow Mountain.
Day 2:   Essentially we will follow the crest north of the Middle Fork Valley to the Chain Lakes area, drop some gear, and summit Mount Hinman at over 7000 feet and then ski back to our camp near Williams Lake; Another big day.
Day 3:   Our third day will send us up the hidden Summit Chief Valley, over the Summit Chief Col at 6140 feet. Then we ski all the way down to the head of the Lemah drainage at around 4600 feet and back up underneath the massive East Face of Chimney Rock to the Overcoat Col at 6800 feet.
Day 4:   The descent into the Burnt Boot drainage first thing in the morning will wake anybody up. It is wild and very scenic. From Iceberg Lake at around 4800 feet we will tour up underneath the West Walls of the Lemahs all the way up to Chikamin Ridge at nearly 7000 feet. A short scramble should bring us to the summit of Chikamin Peak. We have to make it there on time, so that we can ski the following descent down the South Face of Chikamin Peak in good conditions. A short traverse around Huckleberry Mountain will get us to our last camp at Joe Lake (4624 feet).
Day 5:   From camp we will tour south along the PCT past the Kendall Catwalk into the Commonwealth drainage and out to Alpental. We will get picked up there, go to North Bend and party. 

Pro Ski Service Logo

Sign up for a course or a trip and receive a 10% discount on purchases and a 20% discount on gear rental. Go to Pro Ski and Mountain Service

Pro Ski and Mountain Service is our retail specialty store. It has been located in North Bend, WA since 1999.

The past trips and courses have had a large influence on what we sell. Many of our Pro Guiding customers come on trips and courses with gear they purchased from our store. Not only do we want our clients to have the right gear for the job; we also receive direct feedback from them while they are using it in the field. Trust us - if the gear does not work - we won't sell it.

•            BASE  LAYER
o            1 Bottom - midweight or lightweight
o            1 or 2 Tops - midweight or lightweight
o            Sock Liners - 2 or 3 pair
o            Ski Socks - 2 pair
•            MID LAYER
o            Windshirt, Soft Shell, Fleece - only one of these is necessary
o            Schoeller™ type pants - soft shell
•            OUTERWEAR
o            Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Jacket
o            Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Pants
o            Warm Hat - should cover ears
o            Sun Hat - baseball type or visor
o            Lightweight Gloves
o            Ski Gloves
•            INSULATION

  • Down or Synthetic Jacket

o            Internal Frame Pack - 50 Liter (3100 cu in.) minimum
o            Sleeping Bag - down or synthetic, 20º F minimum
o            Compression Sack - for sleeping bag           
o            Sleeping Pad - closed cell foam or self inflating
o            Headlamp - lightweight LED recommended
o            Water Bottles - 1 or 2 liters, wide mouth
o            Bowl or Cup
o            Utensils
o            Small Knife
o            Sunglasses - adequate for snow travel
o            Goggles
o            Sunscreen - SPF >25, waterproof
o            Lip Balm - SPF 15+
o            Lighter
o            Personal Toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, waterless hand cleaner, etc.
o            Small Personal 1st aid kit - blister repair (Compeed™), aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.
o            Skis - Alpine Touring or Telemark
o            Ski Boots - Alpine Touring or Telemark – no downhill boots
o            Ski Poles - telescopic poles work well, but not required
o            Climbing Skins
o            Ski Crampons - THESE ARE REQUIRED!
o            Ski Brakes or Removable Ski Leashes
o            Aluminum Ice Axe and Crampons
o            Light Harness and one locking carabiner
o            Transceiver - single frequency,  457 kHz only
o            Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred
o            Probe - dedicated probe only, ski poles do not suffice
OPTIONAL ITEMS *We highly recommend these items, but do not require them to participate.
o            Camera - we’d like some shots for the PGS website!
o            Skin Wax
o            Ear Plugs - essential for sound sleep
o            Thermos - vacuum type
o            Note Pad and Pencil - Rite-in-the-rain brand waterproof notebook works
o            Compass - adjustable declination a must
o            Altimeter - Suunto watch works well
o            Map Case - large zip-loc will suffice
o            Maps – the Backcountry Whistler by John Baldwin is the best.
o            Collapsible Water Canteen - good for storing snowmelt at camp
o            Warm Socks - to sleep in
o            Foot Powder
GROUP GEAR PROVIDED BY PGS   *Please contact the guiding office if you prefer to bring your own gear in place of any of our group gear.
o            Tents
o            Stoves
o            Fuel
o            Cooking Pots
o            Ropes
o            Technical Group Gear, VHF radio or SAT phone
o            Group 1st Aid Kit

The Million Dollar Ride, by Jeff Montgomery

I have seen this route countless times at 500 feet and 500 MPH. The snowfields slide effortlessly by and I can climb, clear, and descend any ridge in less than a minute having it pass miles behind without much more than a slight push and pull of the muscles in my arm. As a pilot in the Navy, I always called this route the “Million Dollar Ride” and flying the length of the Cascades from South to North took a little less than 30 minutes, at which point I was completing descent checks and getting ready for my approach to land... 

for a full trip report, go to:

IS THE SNOQUALMIE HAUTE ROUTE REALLY THAT STRENUOUS? Well, yes it is. You should definitely be in excellent physical condition if you want to enjoy yourself.

SHOULD I TIP MY GUIDE? AND HOW MUCH SHOULD I TIP THEM? Although tipping is not a requirement it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or flat price tip that you are comfortable with.