Brain Damage

Crystal Mountain

Mount Rainier National Park

This iconic and challenging couloir is for experts only.

Freeride Skiing Severe

Distance
344 m
Ascent
0 m
Descent
227 m
Low Point
1.9 km
High Point
2.1 km
Gradient
43˚
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Brain Damage Map

Description

Starting at the summit of the King, Brain Damage is the obvious steep couloir to the right of a north-facing rocky buttress. At 800 vertical feet from the summit to the bottom of the upper basin, Brain Damage is relentless. The couloir starts steep. Watch for cornices at the top, especially just to the right of the center. The easiest entry is on the left, but is a no-fall zone at it hangs above the rocky buttress mentioned above. A few turns in, this chute narrows down to about a ski-length wide. Control your speed through here as it steepens up below over a rocky band. Work the sides of the chute (which are not as prominent below the upper choke point) to avoid a sloping rocky outcropping that often plagues this otherwise spectacular couloir early season. Below the chute widens a little for some steep, consistent north-facing snow. The snow here can often be creamy and soft when the rest of the ski area is baked or slushy. Watch for avalanche debris at the base of this chute.

Difficulty

Severe

Steep skiing at 38-45 degrees. This requires very good technique and the risk of falling has serious consequences.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Features

  • Trees
  • Cliffs
  • Walk Required

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area