Uphill Travel

Uphill Travel Policy

  1. DANGER! No uphill travel when light is flashing. Several lights are located in the base area.
  2. When the lights are not flashing, all uphill travelers within the ski area boundary must check in with patrol. No exceptions. 360-663-3061.
  3. When the ski area is open for the season, all uphill travel into Southback is prohibited.
  4. Uphill travel within “closed” terrain is not permitted. This includes areas marked with “No Hiking Above This Point” signs. Avalanche control work—including explosives use—may occur at any time.
  5. Uphill traffic must keep to the side of ski trails and well out of the way of downhill skier traffic.
  6. When traveling uphill, use extreme caution with unmarked hazards and heavy equipment including but not limited to snowmobiles, snowmaking, winch cats and cables.
  7. For more information contact Ski Patrol during operating hours: 360-663-3061.
  8. Anyone found in violation of these rules will be subject to a fine and possible prosecution under Washington State Law RCW 79A.45.070

What Has Changed?

In the interest of everyone’s safety, we have implemented a revised Uphill Travel Policy, with three major changes from the previous iteration. 1) Uphill travel in Southback is prohibited at any time during the regular ski season. 2) When we are doing AC, uphill travel is not permitted anywhere within the ski area boundary. 3) When traveling uphill within our boundary, you must check in with patrol.

The Ski Area Boundary

Crystal Mountain’s Special Use Permit extends from Goat Chutes in the far North all the way around to Norse Peak on the other side of the valley. Crystal sits on Forest Service land, and our mandate allows us to control access within our Special Use Permit area. However, we do not want to restrict access within the entire Special Use Permit. We only wish to control access within our ski area boundary. The ski area boundary is mainly marked by a ropeline that extends around our perimeter (except for a few open portions along the Southback Traverse). Further, the ski area boundary includes everywhere we do Avalanche Control. Below is a screenshot from FATMAP of Silver Basin. The red arrow is the top of Threeway Exit Chute. Everything to the right of the red line is Southback. The red star indicates the last point of uphill travel into Southback. Here, you will need to veer left if traveling uphill.

Southback vs. Silver Basin

Southback sits within Silver Basin, but does not take up the entire basin. It is still okay to skin up into the section of Silver Basin that is not within our ski area boundary. Before getting to the “airstrip”–the long flat section at the base of Southback–turn left as you travel uphill (marked above with the red star), and skin along the climber’s left flank of the airstrip, heading towards the base of Chicken Head and Triple F. Joe’s Badass Shoulder and the climber’s left flank of Threeway are outside of our ski area boundary. It’s still okay to tour into these areas.

How You Can Help

Help us spread the word by discussing the new Uphill Travel Policy with your friends and in your socials. Check in with patrol any time you’re touring within our ski area boundary. Understand that the true backcountry near Crystal offers a much better experience than skinning into Southback. For more information, check the Crystal Mountain Uphill Policy.

Crystal Mountain accepts no liability or responsibility for accidents that occur or as a result of uphill travel. RCW 4.24.210

For more information on the changes to the uphill policy please visit the Ski Patrol Blog.