Kendall Katwalk

What to do on a wet November day with a 3500' snow level? Drive to 3000' and get above the rain as fast as possible. After a nice day on the Lime Kiln Trail yesterday I had no motivation to get out again. Finally by 8:15 I hit the road and it was 9:30 by the time I was on the Pacific Crest Trail. There was about 2 inches of snow in the parking lot. There were 4 or 5 other cars in the lot. It was raining very lightly as I started off.

Although this trail gains about 500' per mile it is so smooth that it is easy to maintain a pretty fast pace. At about one mile I passed two hikers. Now I could see that there were two sets of boot prints in the snow. When I reached the talus field it was all snow covered. I could see Guye Peak though the clouds were not far above it. Red Mountain was completely lost in the clouds.

The waterfall was flowing. This is usually dry all summer. I reached the Commonwealth junction in about 55 minutes. In each of the open areas all the trees and bushes were heavily flocked with the fresh snow. The snow did not get much deeper even as I climbed higher. I left the forest and entered the big talus field under Kendall Peak. The snow was a bit deeper here though not enough to slow me down.

Visibility was minimal. I could look down on Guye Peak and see the lower half of Snoqualmie Mountain. The wind was blowing now and it was getting cold. I turned the corner onto the north side of Kendall Peak and followed the footprints along the narrow trail. I reached the ridge top and views over to...nothing. I couldn't see Alta Mountain. I couldn't see 50 feet. The clouds were thick and I was in the middle of them. The trail dropped down a little then climbed up to the Katwalk.

It was 12:05 when I arrived. It took me 2:35. Another hiker arrived just a few minutes after me. At the gap where the trail crosses over to the right side of the ridge the wind was howling. Just beyond it was calm. My thermometer read 29 degrees. Yesterday it was sunny and almost warm. Today it was winter. It was time to break out more clothing.

After a quick lunch the two hikers who were ahead came back across the Katwalk. All five of us were now together at the Katwalk. The others soon headed down. I headed across the Katwalk. One moment I could not see 75 feet. Then I could see across Gold Creek to the lower half of Alta Mountain. 30 seconds later visibility was 50 feet. It was fun to see the Katwalk with fresh snow.

By 12:30 my fingers were getting numb so I headed on down. I noticed lots of icicles along the ridge. I hadn't even seen them on the way up. A few hundred feet down from the ridge I stopped and saw that it was already up to 35 degrees. After crossing the talus field and hiking back to the forested ridge I ran into a group of hikers. The rest of the way down I passed a lot more people than I expected. Most folks started late and did not make it that far but they did come out in force.

As expected the trees were raining as snow melted and rained down on me from the branches. I was really surprised that the last 1 1/2 miles was now on bare ground. The morning snow was almost all gone. The parking lot had only a little slush left as well. This was a fun day. I covered about 11 miles with 3000' of gain. I only saw two people on the way up. The Katwalk is mobbed on most summer weekends but not today. It was neat to see it again under snow. When the snow gets deeper this place will be too difficult to reach.

It should not be long now before it's time to break out the snowshoes. Still, it was good to have a snow hike that had no postholing, but all the trees were snow covered. Fall is over, bring on the snow!

Parking Lot
Lower Trail
Talus Field
Guye Peak
Flocked Branch
Open Trail
Upper Talus Field
Below Kendal Pk
Snoqualmie Pass
Blasted Trail
Near The Katwalk
Other Hiker
Kendall Katwalk
Coming Back Across
A Long Way Down
Red Mountain Framed
Back To Ridge
North Kendall Slope
Ski Area
Kendall Summit
Red Mountain
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures

Trips - 2007