Lane Peak - The Zipper and The Fly

March 19, 2021

Looking back at the parking lot from Steven's Canyon Road

Stable conditions have...

finally arrived here in Washington, and I can't even begin to tell you how stoked I am for it! Dan and I were looking at temps and precipitation all week, and while things were quite warm in lower elevations, (meaning rain and mush) it was looking like the high elevations around Mt. Rainier were going to be snow. This made for a great excuse to go ski some classic North facing couloirs - the Zipper and the Fly on Lane peak! We got a late start in the morning, but got to the Longmire gate around 9:30 and found it open. We zoomed up to the Narada Falls parking lot, and were skinning out in no time.

We approached Lane Peak by going up to Steven's Canyon Road, and found ourselves quickly popping over the knoll, and down into Tatoosh creek. This winter we had been so used to skiing big lines and mountains, that we were so surprised at how fast it took us to get down to the creek! It was fun being in smaller and more playful terrain. It took us about a half hour to get down to the creek, and from there, we took off up the Zipper. We could see faintly where others had skinned and booted in the past, but there had been a lot of snowfall since then, and we were largely breaking trail all day. The boot up to the Zipper took us about 1.5 hours, and after some knee to thigh deep booting, we found ourselves happily transitioning to the downhill.

Since Dan had been the primary one to break trail up the Zipper, I let him have first dibs on the descent. He took off, and skied it no problem. (He's really been enjoying having wider skis ever since he got his V6's!) I followed shortly, and found that the chunder was a little hard to ski, and there was more sluff mitigation than I thought there would be. Oh well! We met up at the base, and I took off in the front this time to boot up the Fly. It was grueling breaking trail up the deep snow, but we made it to the top of the Fly in about 1.5 hours as well. The Fly was certainly steeper than the Zipper, and we were happy to have our ice axes out for it, although, the snow was so forgiving that we weren't ever very concerned. Since I set the booter up the Fly, I was the first to go down it, and down I went! I went down the first 100 foot pitch, and stopped at a bench below. Dan and I wanted to make sure that we had eyes on each-other the whole time if we could, and the bench was a perfect safe spot to stop. Dan came floating down and once he got stable next to me, I took off down the rest of the couloir. Steep, wide, and fun! We met up at the bottom and thought we'd go check out Lover's Lane as well. Lover's Lane is a very narrow, steep couloir just to the East of the Zipper.

Dan's pic of me topping out on the Zipper.

Me taking off down the Fly

Having spent most of the day in wet snow, wallowing in wet snow, and falling in wet snow, we were feeling pretty soaked to the bone, and we couldn't tell exactly if Lover's Lane would go or not. We decided just to call it a day, and get back to our car instead. We were really happy to have a great, fun day skiing some more Washington classics! Hopefully we'll be able to get out and scout Lover's Lane properly, as it looks like a very cool challenge.

Dan booting up the Zipper

At the car looking back at what we skied! Apologies for the blurry pic, I couldn't find a dry piece of clothing to clean my phone camera - ha!

Dan zooming down the Zipper - wahoo!

Me following Dan up the Zipper on our first boot up


  • Total mileage of the day - 5 miles (my GPS went WHACK in the couloirs, so Strava's mileage is really wrong.)

  • Total elevation gain - 3,500ft gain

  • Total time - 4 hours and 58 minutes

  • Max slope angle of the day - Around 50 degrees? The Zipper was less steep, but narrower, and the Fly was more steep, but wider. If 50 degrees was the max angle, the Zipper was around 45.

  • GPS via Strava -

  • Song that was stuck in my head all day - "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen, and yes, it got annoying! But Dan and I ended up singing it goofily out loud as we booted up the Fly, and that was quite fun, and took our minds off of our tired legs.