Mt. Dickerman

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.

Parking Lot
Snow Begins
Our Group
Low Clouds
Blue Sky
Snow Hiking
Blue Over Summit
Flocked Trees
Looking Down
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Photo Page 2

Trips - 2004