Nisqually Chutes from Cowlitz Cleaver, Elevation 10,500ft

November 9, 2001

1 day

Ben, Josh

Muir Snowfield from below Pebble Creek. Our ascent is in green and our ski descent is in red. The lengthened climb and ski is in blue.


Another beautiful day. This time Josh and I continued above Camp Muir along Cowlitz Cleaver towards Gibralter Ledges. We skied a chute off the west side of the Cleaver from roughly 500 vertical feet above Camp Muir. The snow was firm but it softened up below 9000ft so we decided to ski Nisqually Chutes as well. The chutes were great although the base was still thin in spots. We found some very cool ice caves near the bottom of the chutes.


Josh skiing off Cowlitz Cleaver from our highpoint above Camp Muir.


Josh loosing control near the top of Nisqually Chutes.


Josh taking first tracks.


Josh taking seconds.


The ice caves deserve another mention because they really captured our attention. They formed where a creek had cut through avalanche debris at the bottom of the chutes. I had never seen anything like it. They were plenty high to walk through and had just enough new snow to ski through. I was really intrigued so I ended up taking lots of photos. There were actually two caves. Both were roughly 200ft long and 20ft wide.


Josh launching the upper ice cave.


Josh entering the lower ice cave.


I could see Josh from where I was standing. Unfortunately, he was difficult to expose.




Ben skiing towards the moraine.

Photographer: Josh


The ski back to Paradise was fun although we had to hike a couple hundred feet to reach the trail. It would have been nice to ski all the way to the bridge but that will have to wait a few months. Nevertheless, we had so much fun that we returned the next day to share our discovery with Troy.