Bob and Kolleen (Trail Pair) joined me for a snowshoe
trip up Mt. Teneriffe. Although it is close to North Bend the 4788' summit
seems almost alpine. It's also a heck of a good winter workout. The road
route is 14 miles with the last mile an off road ridge walk to the summit.
It gains about 4400' including two ups and down. The forecast was for partly
to mostly cloudy. The pinpoint zone forecast called for a high of 35 degrees
at 2700'. With the summit being 2000' higher we were prepared for cold.
A storm a few days earlier dumped snow as low as 500' We were prepared for
a long snowshoe slog.
We started up the road/trail at 8:45 AM under mostly blue skies. It felt
like 45 degrees already. Not a trace of snow was to be found. In fact,
not for a whole lot longer. The first mile is gentle before the it gets
down to the business of gaining elevation. That it does very efficiently.
We climbed higher and higher on bare ground. Finally at about 2300' we
found some snow. By 2600' there was enough to cover the road, though barely.
Soon a snowshoe trench began. The snow was well enough packed that we did
not sink at all in just boots.
The trench deepened but was still easy going. At 3400' the route turned
flat and continued to head directly away from Mt. Teneriffe. Finally it turned
uphill and in a few short switchbacks we passed the turn off to Mt. Si.
Not a single track led that way. The route turned right and began to head
towards Mt. Teneriffe. We climbed out of the forest and had views out. Mt.
Rainier was mostly clear. The route leveled at about 4000'. We had a nice
clear view of the summit.
Next we began a slow gentle descent. Most snowshoers turned around here
and our nice trench turned into deep footprints. Soon after we stopped to
put on snowhoes. We had been playing leap frog with a solo hiker and he
passed us here one last time. Several others passed us heading down and
none of them went beyond the road end. This last hiker said he too would
turn around at the road end saddle. It was nice to have him breaking trail.
One last solo hiker passed us coming down. He was postholing to near his
crotch with every step.
One final uphill push and we reached the saddle at 4200'. We now had
clear views out to the north. With the snow it took us three hours to hike
up 6 miles gaining 3400'. Half a lunch had us fueled up and ready for the
final ridge hike to the summit. Trail Pair had been to the saddle but not
on the ridge. Only one faint snow covered track remained beyond the saddle.
We were able to follow it most of the way.
Even without tracks the ridge is not difficult. The only key is to stay
very near the crest of the forested ridge. At first the ridge rises steeply
from the saddle then becomes quite gentle. At the high point it drops down
to another saddle and then climbs sharply to the summit. It's about one mile
from the road end to the summit. When it's icy an ice axe and crampons are
necessary but we had good snow this day.
Roughly 300' of climbing brings you from the last saddle to the summit.
The last section from the edge of the trees to the top was a little hard
but no problem with snowshoes. The top is a short ridge. Get too close to
the top and break the cornice and it's a fast ride down the vertical north
side. The wind was light and we were comfortable with an extra layer on. Mt.
Rainier was now lost in the clouds and Mt. Baker was also hidden. Most peaks
were in the clear. Mt. Pilchuck, the Cascade Crest peaks, and all the closer
peaks were out of the clouds. Downtown Seattle was in the clear. It's a neat
view looking down on the top of the Mt. Si haystack.
We took four hours to reach the summit. It took a full hour to do the
last mile. With fresh snow you really earn the summit. Thirty minutes on
top went by very fast. Soon it was time to head down. The steep drop down
to the first saddle was very fast. A slow climb back to the ridge top was
followed by a very fast descent back to the road. In 35 minutes we were back
at the saddle again. The last six miles was just a long snow slog broken
up with many photo stops. The snow had softened considerably and we kept
snowshoes on until the snow was very thin.
By the time we reached the car we all had sore feet. We took 2:45 coming
down. As has been the case week after week this winter, the weather was much
better than forecast. Although it snowed heavily only a few days earlier
the many snowshoers on the road had packed down a nice trench making our work
much easier. Still, 14 miles on a snowshoe trip is a lot of work. A lot of
work and well worth the effort.
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
Mt. Si Haystack
Photo Page 2
Trips - 2006