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.
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.
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.
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.
Louie Dawson earned his Bachelor Degree in Industrial Design from Western Washington University in 2014. When he’s not skiing Mount Baker or somewhere equally as snowy, he’s thinking about new products to make ski mountaineering more fun and safe.