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Mount Catherine

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

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Mount Catherine

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  • The Iron Horse Trail makes for a great warm-up before tackling steeper slopes- Mount Catherine
  • Iron Horse Trail alongside Keechelus Lake- Mount Catherine
  • Blue blazes mark the turn to NF-9070- Mount Catherine
  • Dense fir forest on the way to Mount Catherine.- Mount Catherine
  • The trek into Mount Catherine.- Mount Catherine
  • The trek into Mount Catherine.- Mount Catherine
  • Looking east toward the I-90 corridor.- Mount Catherine
  • Looking up the Twin Lakes drainage towards Silver Peak (5,605').- Mount Catherine
  • Looking east toward Mount Catherine from Windy Pass.- Mount Catherine
  • The view west from Windy Pass with Granite Mountain in the distance (5,629').- Mount Catherine
  • The open meadows past Windy Pass are popular among snowmobilers.- Mount Catherine
  • Subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa).- Mount Catherine
  • The forest on Mount Catherine ranges from dense to denser. - Mount Catherine
  • Trail marker at Nordic Pass.- Mount Catherine
  • Looking west toward Silver Peak (5,605').- Mount Catherine
  • - Mount Catherine
  • Following the west ridge on Mount Catherine allows for thinner tree cover and easier route finding.- Mount Catherine
  • Route marker on Mount Catherine.- Mount Catherine
  • - Mount Catherine
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views. Solitude. Tree skiing.
Cons: 
Route finding can be difficult.
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Region:
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA
Max slope angle: 
30-45 degrees
Parking Pass: 
Sno-Park Parking Permit (required in OR + WA 11.01 thru 04.30)
Total Distance: 
11.00 mi (17.70 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,540.00 ft (774.19 m)
Vertical descent: 
1,000.00 ft (304.80 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Mount Catherine is a small peak that grabs the attention of many skiers at the nearby Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Area. The peak can be accessed via Summit at Snoqualmie or NF-9070 using the Iron Horse Trailhead. Mount Catherine's tight trees and difficult route finding will test even expert skiers. While the flanks of Mount Catherine hold skiable slopes, it's easy to get cliffed-out while skiing from the summit, so expert route finding and decision making is key.

Taking NF-9070 to Windy Pass will bypass the popular Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Area and make for a quieter experience. After parking at the Iron Horse Trailhead, skin out on the Iron Horse Trail for 0.75 miles until you see blue blazes marking your turn to NF-9070. After a quick dash through the trees you reach NF-9070. Hang a left and settle in for the next 3.5 miles on NF-9070. After reaching Windy Pass, hang a right and follow the blue blazes to Nordic Pass. From here, gain the ridge to the east. The prominent ridge will lead you to the summit as you work eastbound.

Several ski routes exist around Mount Catherine, but the north side holds better snow and has better tree spacing. If you are unfamiliar with the area, it may be best to keep your skin track in sight as you descend through the tight trees. Once you reach Windy Pass, make sure your best ski wax is on and enjoy the 3.5-mile ski back to Iron Horse via NF-9070.

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

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(21 within a 30 mile radius)

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(106 within a 30 mile radius)

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