Holy Diver couloir

MARCH 5, 2020

Looking over at the Tooth, Hemlock and Bryant from Snow Lake Divide

It has been a long...

weird winter here in Washington. We started out the year with a WET and rainy December, even in the mountains. Finally in January we got a decent amount of snow, and even had a week and a half of deep, dry pow. Snow-packs are generally at decent levels now here in WA, but with storms coming in constantly, stability has been a thing of question. With every skier here antsy to get out and do some goal skis, Tessa, Daniel and I were stoked to see a stable day align with a mid-week day we all had off. We were psyched to ski one of our goals!

Holy Diver couloir is a loooong, 40-45 degree couloir off of Mt. Roosevelt in the Snoqualmie pass area. All three of us have been backcountry skiing for a couple of years, but we are now pushing into bigger couloir skiing. With HD being a longer couloir to get to, but not too steep or daunting, it was a great option to go ski, not to mention that it is an area classic.

To get to the couloir itself requires a couple hours of travelling up to the Source lake basin in the Alpental area of Snoqualmie pass. From there you have a couple of options to get over to Snow lake. My teammates and I had decided that the North face of Chair peak looked like an awesomely nice way to get over to the lake. We skied the beautiful rolling terrain down the North face, and spent some time looking for the best way to get down to the lake itself. There is an exit that goes far skier's left (West), but we weren't too confident in finding that, and had decided that it would be fun to ski the Cashe couloir anyway, so we ended up heading skier's right down to the Cashe.

Peering down the entrance of Cashe couloir after skiing the North face of Chair peak. A narrow and fun entrance with a lowkey bottom half.

Tessa looking down the 1,500ft decent that is the Holy Diver couloir.

After Cashe, we skinned across Snow Lake and went over to the slopes of Mt. Roosevelt. Holy Diver is just off the Northwest side of Roosevelt, so we knew we were so close to those sweet turns! On Roosevelt we had nice conditions, and one or two ski carries due to steep slopes. Eventually we navigated around a little wet slide and made it up to the entrance of the HD.

While intimidating on paper, the HD was really inviting in person, and just looked fun! We got really exited and walked over to the lip, and realized our worst couloir dreams had come true - ice. It had been windy the day before, and we thought that the aspect that the wind was blowing towards was not the same as the couloir, but looks like we had been proven wrong. The ice was only one step down from bulletproof, which is not what you want to see on your objective of the day. We did some hmming and hawing and came to the conclusion that it was warming up today, lower down the couloir should be softer, right? After 5 or so turns, we found that prediction to come true, and the rest of the couloir skied nicely.

At the base of the couloir we had a little snack break and hiked back up towards Gem lake, and eventually made our way down to Snow lake and out. Total mileage of the day was about 14ish, and total gain was 5,600ft. It ended up being a 9 hour day, and it took us 5.5 hours to get to the top of the Holy Diver couloir.


  • Total mileage of the day - 14 miles

  • Total elevation gain - 5,600ft

  • Total time - 9 hours 27 mins

  • Time to top of couloir - 5 hours 30 mins

  • Max slope angle of the chutes ~ 45 degrees, very wide.

  • GPS via Strava - https://www.strava.com/activities/3163876404