Hurricane Ridge Backcountry
The Hurricane Ridge Road offers excellent winter access to Olympic National Park, home to some of the best ski touring terrain in the Northwest.
Characterized by open bowls, nicely spaced trees, steep chutes and secret couloirs, there’s something for skiers and splitboarders of all ability levels.
WHY GO WITH A GUIDE?
Intimate knowledge of the terrain. There’s way more to Hurricane Ridge than meets the eye and our guides know exactly where to find the best snow on any given day. This comes in addition to the high level of safety inherent in skiing with a guide.
Maggies: Great tree skiing on a powder day, with 800′-1000′ vertical foot runs in the blue to black diamond range (ski area run ratings).
Hurricane Hill: One of the most popular tours from the top of the Hurricane Ridge road, this scenic tour follows ridgelines to the summit of Hurricane Hill, with some good skiing options along the way. This is a great moderate tour, suitable for less experienced backcountry skiers.
Steeple Rock: An excellent mini ski mountaineering objective, offering the opportunity to ski from an alpine summit, dropping into beautiful tree skiing on the north side.
Eagle Point: Long northwest facing runs out the Obstruction Point road.
Klahhane Ridge & Mt Angeles: Big terrain and quick access. See Klahhane Ridge Ski Touring for more info.
OTHER PROGRAMS AT HURRICANE RIDGE
We meet at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles for introductions and a quick gear check. From here we drive up the Hurricane Ridge Road to the starting point of our tour for the day.
At the trailhead, we may run through a brief companion rescue practice/review before setting off.
We try to match participants based on ability levels. Tours will be chosen based on group interests and motivation levels, as well as weather and avalanche conditions.
☐ Skis with touring bindings – AT, tele, or splitboard: Your setup needs to be suitable for uphill touring and downhill skiing/riding.
☐ Boots: AT, tele or snowboard boots.
☐ Poles: Adjustable poles with powder baskets (ex: Black Diamond Traverse).
☐ Climbing skins: Fit to skis (ex: Black Diamond Mohair Mix).
☐ Ski crampons: Recommended.
AVALANCHE SAFETY GEAR
☐ Transceiver: Modern, single frequency [457 khz] transceiver, preferably less than five years old. A digital 3-antennae model is highly recommended (ex: BCA Tracker 2, Mammut Pulse Barryvox, Peips DSP). RENT
☐ Shovel: Lightweight avalanche shovel. A metal blade and extendable handle are recommended (ex: G3 Avitech, BCA Companion EXT). RENT
☐ Probe: Dedicated probe, ski pole probes are not sufficient. RENT
☐ Day pack: 30 to 40 liters, should have some sort of ski attachment system (A-frame, vertical, diagonal, etc).
There are many possible layering combinations for your upper body. Use the following recommendations as guidelines:
☐ Baselayer top: Light to medium weight synthetic fabric (ex: Patagonia Capiline 1 or 2).
☐ Lightweight insulating layer: Light fleece or synthetic layer (ex: Patagonia R1 Hoody).
☐ Softshell or shell jacket with hood: For wind, snow, rain, cold, etc.
☐ Puffy (insulated) jacket: Synthetic or down with a hood (ex: Patagonia Micro Puff).
☐ Baselayer bottoms: Medium weight (ex: Patagonia Capiline 2).
☐ Ski pants: Regular ski pants will work, however we recommend a system of both a lightweight softshell pant, as well as a lightweight hardshell pant with full side zips. This provides maximum versatility for backcountry conditions.
☐ Socks: Wool or synthetic, they should work well with your ski boots. Keep in mind that warmth comes from good circulation, not heavy socks. Your ski boot liners provide plenty of insulation.
☐ Warm hat
☐ Sun hat: Baseball cap, visor, etc – Weather dependent.
☐ Light glove: For touring.
☐ Ski glove
☐ Sunscreen: SPF 30 or greater, avoid spray on (ex: Doc Martin’s of Maui).
☐ Lip balm: With SPF protection.
☐ Buff® (optional)
☐ Water bottles(s) or hydration system: Water bottles should have a screw top (no bike bottles); hydration system should have an insulated tube.
☐ Thermos (optional)
☐ Lunch food
☐ Camera: Don’t forget extra batteries.
The following gear is not required for this course, however if you have any of the following items please bring them.
☐ Airbag pack RENT
☐ Ski strap
☐ Repair kit: We suggest carrying a small repair kit with items specific to your ski or splitboard equipment. Extra binding parts (including mounting screws), an extra tip loop for your skins, an extra pole basket, etc. Other great MacGyver items are bailing wire, zip ties, and duct tape.
☐ Wax: For skis and to prevent snow from glomming onto your skins.
☐ Watch: Altimeter recommended.
☐ Notebook & pencil
- Some previous ski touring experience is recommended.
- Intermediate skiing or riding ability is required.
- Good physical fitness is required.
- Guiding and instruction
- 4:1 ratio (5:1 max)
- Food, lodging & transportation
- Park entrance fees (free with park pass)
WHERE TO MEET
Olympic National Park Visitor Center, in Port Angeles, WA.
3002 Mount Angeles Road
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Option A: Fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. From here the drive to Port Angeles takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Option B: Fly into Port Angeles. Kenmore Air flies daily from Sea-Tac and is an Alaska Airlines partner (domestic flights can be booked with Port Angeles as the destination).
Many options exist in Sea-Tac. There’s also a Budget Rent-A-Car in Port Angeles.
Many options exist in Port Angeles including hotels, bed & breakfasts, and hostels.
Check out our Weather & Avalanche Resources page.
- Backcountry Skiing: Skills for Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering by Martin Volkin, Scott Schell, and Margaret Wheeler.
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