Mount Spokane

After spending the previous night in its namesake city in eastern Washington, Zosia Zgolak and I skied up Mount Spokane on 13 January 2017.  A ski resort occupies the upper part of the mountain, and its uphill policy is rather restrictive.  We had already missed the window of opportunity (6:30 AM to 9:10 AM) for skinning up the resort's lone designated uphill route, but an employee informed us that we could skin up a snowmobile track on the south side of the mountain just outside the resort boundary.  Zosia and I did a quick reconnaissance drive to find the start of the snowmobile track before returning to the resort's Lodge #1 to park my car.  Incidentally, parking outside the ski resort necessitates the purchase of one or more of a confusing myriad of recreation permits due to the mountain's location within a state park.

Once we were ready to get going, Zosia and I walked back along the resort access road for about 400 metres before joining a track under a telephone line which runs parallel to the road.  It took us about 30 minutes to reach the start of the snowmobile track, and from there, we enjoyed an easy climb up to a campground at Bald Knob, a sub-peak of Mount Spokane.  Instead of continuing along the snowmobile track which makes several unnecessarily long switchbacks beyond Bald Knob, we decided to simply make a beeline for the summit and climb straight up the south slope.  Upon reaching the summit plateau, we traversed to the north end in hopes of warming up at the historic Vista House, but unfortunately, it was not open to the public on this day.  We took a quick break here anyway, but the frosty temperatures soon prompted us to get moving again.

The ski down the resort's runs was fairly straightforward, and we had no problems finding our way back to Lodge #1 to complete our loop.  As it turned out, this was a fairly quick ski tour, but the discussions about where and when we could skin up, the parking considerations and preliminary scouting all made it seem like a much longer day.  Happy to put Mount Spokane and Washington with all its associated recreational permit bullsh*t red tape behind us, Zosia and I happily headed back to Canada through bureaucracy-free Idaho later that evening.
Beautiful shot by Zosia! Dawn arrives in eastern Washington.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Probably need super heel lifts to go up here! The ski resort's designated uphill route goes straight up this black diamond run.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) for Sonny, the time allowed for skinning up here has expired.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Not the most pleasant way to start a ski tour! Zosia skis along the side of the resort access road.  The track under the telephone line is just across the road.
The crux of the trip was getting through the tangle of bushes in front of me! Sonny steps into his skis after crossing the road.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Now we're in business! The track under the telephone line is easy to follow.
Now it looks like we're getting somewhere! The upper part of Mount Spokane comes into view as Zosia skins up the snowmobile track.
Can I count this as a summit?? Zosia takes a detour to the top of Bald Knob (1562 metres), a named sub-peak of Mount Spokane.

Don't bother following the road at this point--just go straight up!

Zosia climbs the upper mountain.


Snow ghosts! Zosia passes some snow-covered trees.
We made it...I think! Zosia skis across the broad summit plateau of Mount Spokane (1799 metres).
I wonder who has to shovel the driveway... Sonny approaches Vista House located near the north end of the summit plateau.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Would have been nice to go inside and warm up!

Zosia arrives at Vista House which was built in 1933 and renovated in 2002.  It is only open to the public on weekends and holidays.


Those stairs may or may not be permanent. The second level on the north side of Vista House was meant to be a fire lookout tower.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak

Rathdrum looks like another possible ski ascent...

Sonny grins in anticipation of the easy ski down.  In the distance at right is Rathdrum Mountain which is on the Idaho side of the state border.

Photo courtesy of Zosia Zgolak


Need to cut over to skier's right to get back to Lodge #1 where we started. Zosia skis down Spokane Mountain.
You're allowed to drive up to the summit in the summer? Hmmm... Total Distance:  8.4 kilometres
Round-Trip Time:  3 hours 16 minutes
Net Elevation Gain:  494 metres

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