Klahhane Ridge Ski Touring
Klahhane Ridge is a land of incredible north facing terrain overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. With everything from rolling open bowls, to long steep couloirs, this zone has big terrain, yet relatively quick access (a rarity in the Northwest).
From Mt. Angeles and Victor Pass to Rocky Peak, Klahhane Ridge is over a mile long, offering long descents to the north and south, up to 2,000’ feet.
We recommend this area for advanced skiers who have some backcountry skiing experience. A guided Klahhane Ridge tour is very much dependent on weather and avalanche conditions, and objectives are selected based on the group.
A FEW OPTIONS
- Rolling north facing bowl below Mt. Angeles and Victor Pass. The snow here remains cold and well preserved when everything else is sun baked.
- Chutes and couloirs east of Victor Pass, of varying steepness and technicality.
- Mt. Angeles north side runs, up to 2,000′ vertical feet.
- Long south facing descents to the Hurricane Ridge road (great in spring corn conditions).
- Technical ski mountaineering descents/rarely skied lines (private groups only).
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 one of two parking locations. From the road to Victor Pass (the low point in the ridge) is 1,400′ vertical feet, and can 1-2 hours depending on snow conditions. Usually we’re able to skin on this south facing terrain, but sometimes when conditions are firm it can be easier to throw our skis on our packs and boot to the ridge.
A day at Klahhane Ridge can range anywhere from 3,000′ to 6,000′+ vertical feet, depending on group motivation and fitness levels.
☐ 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: Required.
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).
Required for spring ski mountaineering only.
☐ Ice axe: Lightweight 50-60cm mountaineering axe recommended (ex: Petzl Snowracer). RENT
☐ Boot crampons: 10 or 12 point mountaineering crampon, we recommend steel (ex: Petzl Irvis). RENT
☐ Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops (ex: Petzl Adjama). For safety reasons, your harness needs to be less than 10 years old and in good condition. RENT
☐ Climbing helmet: Climbing specific (ex: Petzl Elios or Meteor III +). RENT
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.
- Advanced skiing or riding ability is required. The easiest run back to the car is black diamond terrain.
- Excellent physical fitness is required.
- You should be able to ascend and descend 3,000′ vertical feet in a day on skis, carrying a 20 lb pack.
- Guiding and instruction
- 4:1 ratio (5:1 max)
- Food, lodging and 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.
© 2013 Pacific Alpine Guides LLC | email@example.com | (888) 674-8492