The ‘Tube of Terror’ has had my eye for a while, really since Cody Townsend flashed it on his NWC YouTube video for just a few seconds. He made no mention of it, but you can clearly see the line from the White Salmon drainage when you skin up Shuksan. Getting to it can be a bit roundabout, but it seemed like a worthy line: deep, dark, and (maybe?) dank.
I was staying up in Bellingham for a few days and figured I’d end my stay up there with an attempt at the Tube. I couldn’t tell if there were tracks in it from the day before (Nick thought he saw some), but it felt like good conditions to give it a go.
Nick had the good idea of adding on a tour over to Mt. Ann to break up the monotonous travel out to the Tube. Joe, Nick, and I got a leisurely start and planned to meet up around 7:30 AM.
I had one of the weirdest encounters of my life right out of the parking lot, when a solo splitboarder slipped in front of me on the skin track ~maybe~ 10 ft from the parking lot…then proceeded to push me to the ground and threaten to stab me with his pole. Ummm…WTF just happened? Everyone around me was similarly confused. Nice start to my day…
We skinned up to Swift Creek and dropped in, trying to avoid breakable crust by keeping a shaded/northerly tilt. Surprisingly, we were able to ski a decent ways down Swift Creek and avoid lots of flat/down skinning. There was a snowshoe track in towards Mt. Ann, so that helped a lot.
We took our time and enjoyed a chill/leisurely day as we climbed up to Mt. Ann. We spotted one of the two couloirs off the top of Mt. Ann (I think the looker’s left one is called Pipe Dream?) and decided that’d be a good run to go for. The views were awesome the whole day and winds were low down below ridgeline. It felt like spring had sprung!
We topped off on Mt. Ann and skied over to Pipe Dream. Nick entered first and noted some weird, wind-funk snow. I was less than stoked after having skied some good snow the past few days…call me spoiled I guess? Joe opened up the line and Nick and I followed. The snow wasn’t the best, but it was good for steep jump turns. The line looked really short from afar, but it was actually pretty steep and longer than expected! Nice surprise addition to the day.
We skinned back up to Mt. Annette, where we took a nice long look at Shuksan. It was cool getting a different-than-normal vantage of the Curtis Glacier and the Fisher Chimneys. I’m so used to looking at it from the resort or the White Salmon.
We followed the ridgeline from Annette to the Shuksan Arm, where we met up with a skin track that took us directly to the entrance to the Tube. It seems like the Tube gets skied more often than I thought by people skiing off the Arm. There was a fun cornice to jump as we dropped into the bowl above the Tube.
The roll-over into the Tube steepens and narrows quite a bit. At first, it’s easy to make jump turns, but at one point it gets not much more than ski width. The group that had skied before us had sideslipped/sidestepped one section down to chunk/ice, so there was a 10′ section of just some side-skiing. It’s a super neat feature though! Deep rock walls the whole way.
The line eases up quite a bit after the first initial roll-over and gets less steep. We had kinda funky snow that sloughed a little bit but overall was great for steep skiing/jump turns. Slough management in this line would be really tough, since it’s so fall-line and not very wide. We were glad the sloughs weren’t running that much. It was quite a leg burner though, jump turn after jump turn.
The line dumped us out right at the exit track from the White Salmon. Perfect! We chatted with a few skiers that had returned from the summit and slogged our way out the White Salmon drainage.
Overall, two cool lines with so-so snow but good vibes. A good intro to spring!