A splitboard tour wasn’t exactly what I expected.
Finishing my west coast road trip I intended to stay in Ellensburg at Tess’ and James’ place for two days and calm down a little bit before the hassle of airborn travelling was to start again. The weather forecast for Sunday was nice and to my surprise, they organised a little splitboard adventure over on Chinook Pass, close by Mt. Rainier. The snow was – as expected for the time of the year – pretty corny but it was a very nice day and the paradox of closing a two month surf trip with a snowboard strapped to my feet amused my quite a bit.
Things never turn out the way you expect.
Endless options as soon as the road opens.
The 5,430-foot-high pass is about five miles east of the Cayuse Pass summit and provides the east entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. It is closed in winter due to avalanche danger and it usually opens around mid to end of May with the annual variation due to snow conditions. Before you head out, check WSDOT for opening and traffic details. At that time of the year, the snow is still great and there are many options for skinning. Depending on weather and temperatures you can choose between different aspects to hit the best snow conditions possible.
Bring your picnic and beer, there’s not much around on the pass. There’s a gas station about half an hour before the pass so if you ran empty, you can restock there.