My favorite time to hike up Mt. Dickerman is after
the first snow of the season. That is usually in late October to late November.
The trailhead is low at about 2000'. The trail is not too difficult to
follow, even with a few feet of snow near the top. On a clear day the view
of peaks with a new coating of snow is spectacular. I'm not alone as there
has always been at least a few others hiking up as well. Suzanne also likes
this hike and agreed to come along. Seattle had clear skies but it grew
darker as we drove up the Mountain Loop Highway. There were five cars in
the lot when we arrived. It was cold but not too bad once we were moving.
The trail is very nice. It is never overly steep but still gains 3800'
in about 4 1/2 miles. It climbs in numerous short switchbacks up the south
side of the mountain. Snow patches began at about one mile. Snow soon covered
the trail. We caught and passed two women and soon after passed two guys.
I usually stop where there is a viewpoint just below the trail. This day
the clouds were so thick that no peaks were in sight. When we reached the
big overhanging rock there were icicles affixed to it. At the big creek crossing
snow covered both sides and all the rocks. We crossed with dry feet and
began the switchbacks along the creek. The winter route is snow covered
but not nearly deep enough to be used yet.
The next section traversed the open meadow area where the trail is largely
graveled. It looked much better with snow. I stopped to take a look when
we reached the lower ridge. There is a nice view of Stillaguamish Peak.
We had no view at all. The snow was getting deeper now. It was very unusual.
Rather than wet cement it was fairly dry. There was no ice and the footing
was very good. We continued slogging along until we reached the open slopes
below the summit. The existing footprints were minimal but enough to make
travel easy. Our snowshoes remained on our packs.
It was mostly overcast but occasionally a small sucker hole would allow
bright sun to shine down. A minute later it would be dark again. We passed
a group coming down and began the last climb. When we were within about 200'
of the summit one of the dogs was not fairing well. The snow was not a problem
for us with long legs but it was much harder for the dogs to slog through.
There was no point in making Evie keep going on. She was not having fun and
there were no views anyway. With all that in mind, we headed on down. It
really looked like winter high on the mountain. All the trees were thoroughly
flocked with fresh snow. Our footpath was all that marred the smooth snow.
Coming down was no problem. We made good time. We passed 4 groups in
a short distance. Most were well prepared for the conditions but one runner
had only a fleece jacket. He had no pack, no gaiters, no waterproof boots,
and no water. In short he was in winter conditions with no gear. I expect
all went well but that is taking way too much for granted. Hiking in the
snow was easy and fun. The worst part was lower down where it was just a
thin slush. It was slick and I was careful to keep from falling. I was surprised
to not see the usual late afternoon groups heading out. Everyone should have
made it down before dark.
Even though we did not have any views it was a nice day in the mountains.
I had a little snow on Granite Mountain a few days earlier but this really
felt like winter. It was great to get in over 7500' of gain in the last
week of October. It was Suzanne's birthday and I think she had a good time
as well. I'll probably be back to Mt. Dickerman again when the first snow
of the season falls.
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
Blue Over Summit
Photo Page 2
Trips - 2004