Peak(s):  North Twilight Pk  -  13,075 feet
Date Posted:  06/03/2008
Date Climbed:   06/01/2008
Author:  WillyGoat

 North Twilight- North Couloir Ski   

Trail Head: Andrews Lake –winter closure on Hwy 550
Distance: 14.2 M (Actual ~16)

For more than a decade I have had my eye on a ski descent of N. Twilight. I drive by the peak probably 20+ times a year on Highway 550 and always check out the prominent N. Couloir. From the highway it looks impossibly steep, though I knew from other reports and pictures that the line is pretty reasonable.

We set out from the trailhead slightly after 6am. Although it was predicted to be a hot day there was a good hard freeze the night before and the snow was solid at the trailhead. About 8 years ago I climbed both North and South Twilight from the road in a day. It was a long day, but not too brutal. For this trip I expected that the snow would allow us to perhaps take a more direct route and that travel may be quicker. Unfortunately that was not the case. The trail was impossible to find except for short sections and we wound up spending a lot of time on uneven snow, taking our skis off to cross snowless patches and trying to get oriented in the trees.

Most of the terrain looked like this

After about a couple of hours we broke out of the trees and got a good look at the peak.

N. Twilight in the morning. Our line is the distinct ramp that goes up left at the top of the snow apron.

We started to wander directly toward the peak, but soon realized that we were losing a lot of elevation and would have to climb back up to reach the start. So instead we trended east and contoured around, winding up a little below Crater Lake.

Crater Lake w/ N. Twilight

From there we pushed up onto the snow apron. By now the snow on the flats had warmed up and our skins were soaking wet. While we had good traction it felt as if our skis were twice as heavy as usual.

As you head up the apron you can only see where the couloir begins and you don't get a good view of it until you are actually in it.

Looking Up the Route

Nearing the Top

Once on top there are great views

Summit Cornice with Engineer in the background

My dog Maggie enjoying the summit

Looking toward the Eastern Needles- Chicago Basin, Grenadiers, etc.

The last storm that came through produced a number of small point releases, which made the ski conditions a little funky- especially in the upper part of the couloir. Though we did not have the best conditions, the North Couloir is a really nice line. Steep enough and tight enough to be interesting, but never scary. We did find some good snow by poking around and looking for smoother spots.




We got some nice corn turns on the apron, where the snow was a little smoother, even though we were in the dirt layer.

Turns on the apron.

The trip out seemed to take forever. It is hard to tell if how much we might have gotten off route versus how much it is just a long slog. Our skins were still soaking wet and we had a number of times were we had to take our skis off areas without snow. It was warm enough that we could see where snow had melted between the time we went in and the time we came out.

Walking out.

We got back to the car around 4:20 pm. Overall it was a fine day and I would really like to get back and ski it in better conditions.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

Thanks for the TR!
06/03/2008 20:58
I hope to do this climb in a couple of weeks. Do you have an estimate for the steepness of the couloir?


06/03/2008 21:06
I‘m not real good at this, but I would guess around 40 degrees. We did it without axes and my partner never even put on his crampons.


08/28/2008 00:37
That‘s a beautiful mountain! Looks like the Grenadiers are melting out quickly.


Sweet line
06/04/2008 15:02
We were salivating over that mountain on our way back from Chicago basin a month ago. lots of good ski possibilities

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