was free for Presidents Day
and we planned a trip on the sunny east side of the Cascades. There
might be an inch or so of snow overnight. Well not exactly. We talked
in the morning about the fact chains were required over Snoqualmie
Pass. We decided to stick with the plan. I met Gary at High Point at
6:45 am and we headed east. Snow was on the side of the highway at
Preston. A 600' snow level over night? Not quite what we expected. The
drive over the pass was slow but with AWD we did not need to stop to
put on chains. Snow continued on the road most of our drive. I seldom
see Highway 970 snow covered but did this morning. The Teanaway Road
had been recently plowed so it was not too bad. We turned onto the WF
Teanaway Road and followed it past the Middle Fork Road and on to the
end. We were the first car to arrive a little before 8:45 am. We
brought skis and snowshoes. With the fresh snow I felt okay using skis.
We carried snowshoes but did not use them. We were packed up and ready
to go just after 9:00 am.
It was in the low 20s and cold but the sun was shining. So much warmer
in the sunshine. Almost no wind was blowing. We talked about skiing up
the WF Road towards Exclamation Point Rock in the sunshine. We also
considered taking the route up to Cheese and Bible Rocks. Neither of us
had been that way. That was the key. Time to try out a new route. The
first trick was finding the short road down to the new bridge. It is
easy to see in summer with no snow on the ground. We took what looked
like a road and it quickly ended at the river with no bridge. Skiing
the untracked snow was fun. We would have a lot more of it this day. We
spotted the bridge upriver but heading straight for it went though a
swampy area. We headed back up to the road. We went past the gate and
turned off quickly. This route took us down to the bridge.
A trip report by Lauren two days earlier put this trip on the radar.
Her photos showed a hard packed road. Higher up the snow was thin and
there was dirt around Cheese Rock. Only two days later we had a nice
layer of new snow that buried the hard pack and any tracks. The snow
was very good ford my first ski trip in two years. Good traction on the
way up and not fast on the way down. We slogged our way up the road
along Carlson Creek. There are some steeper spots but the also some
very gentle sections. The road crossed the creek and switchbacked to
the left. Now the grade steepened a bit as we headed for the ridge top.
Along the way we stopped to enjoy views of Teanaway peaks and the
Stuart Range. Mt. Stuart itself had the summit partly in the clouds.
Earl Peak was in the clear and seemed to be right across the valley
At the ridge top the road began to descend. It was pretty obvious we
needed to head left and climb towards Cheese Rock. The snow here was
good in spots and pretty thin in others. Near the top it was the
thinnest. We climbed then had a few ups and downs. I managed to stay on
my feet with a few flailing arms moments. Near the top we skied across
a rock slab with just a few inches of snow on top. There was
medium sized rock at the top. We went around the left side and stopped.
The other side of the rock was much larger. It is pockmarked sandstone
that looks a little like cheese. Hence the name. Beyond is downward
sloping Bible Rock. Mammoth Rock farther up the WF Teanaway is huge and
gently sloped. Bible Rock is very big and steeper. The whole rock was
covered with a few inches of fresh snow. We arrived at 10:19 am.We took
off our skis and ventured out onto the rock.
My ski boots don't have the best traction and it was a bit
uncomfortable crossing the upper rock. We did have some good views out
and the parking lot was almost directly below. We skied 1.7 miles to
end up right above where we started. There is a short cliff to the next
level of the rock. We were uncomfortable going down it so went back
across the rock and then dropped down to the next level. The face of
the rock between levels was covered with icicles. Very pretty in the
morning light. We decided that going farther down the rock in these
conditions was not in our plans. Instead we headed back to the top.
Just over the ridge was a good spot for a break in the sunshine. It was
not in the mid 30s and much warmer than in the morning. A snowmobile
could be heard in the distance for a minute then it was quiet once
At 11:06 am we headed down. The snow was too thin up top to comfortably
ski down. We just walked down to the first flatter spot on the ridge.
The skis went back on. Gary enjoyed the ski back to the road. I failed
some more but somehow managed to not fall. Much to my surprise. Very
quickly we were back at the road. A snowmobile had gone by. We now had
a track to ski in. It did speed up our descent a little. It was still
not fast but a fun downhill ski. The new snow and temperature meant a
lot of snow stuck to the bottoms of our skis. We had to stop on the way
down to wax them. We made it back to the car at 11:50 am. Our morning
trek covered 3.7 miles with 610" of elevation gain. Not quite up to our
normal trips. But we were not done.
I thought Gary would want to ski the road along the river. Nope. He
wanted to do some true cross country skiing. With the flocked trees and
new snow it was very beautiful off the roads. We crossed the road.
climbed up the snow bank and went past the bathrooms. Up the slope we
went on thinning snow. We had to step over a few small logs. We had no
idea what the ridge would be like. That was part of the fun. At the top
we found a plateau with trees to the left but a big meadow straight
ahead. On we went. The ridge top was very wide in places and narrow in
others. There is a trail we followed and left a few times. No tracks at
all. There was one car when we returned but we did not see the people.
So far we had seen nobody. It was fun to break trail in our total
solitude. Gary weaved a route through trees in some spots and into open
meadows too. At one spot we had a view of Mt. Stuart. It still had
clouds over the top.
At one point we went over a narrow higher point and down a little. It
was getting later and we were not moving very fast. We came down to a
snowy road and had to make a choice. If the road continued right to
another road that drops to the WF Teanaway Road it would be an easy way
back. It would also be longer and might not go easily. We could retrace
our track that included really narrow spots just behind us. We could
also turn left and see if that route continued well before we connected
with our route coming in. We chose number three. This was a better
route than our way in. I was getting tired after hours of skiing. Tired
means less balance for me. Clouds were coming in and when the sun
disappeared occasionally it was much colder. We reached another big
meadow and stopped in the sun for another food break.
The map showed we would soon reach our track in. Unfortunately, there
was a big gully right before the meeting. With the thin snow cover
going down and up the other side did not look like any fun. We turned
around and followed the gully up to where we found a small snow covered
lake. At the outflow we were able to step across the creek above the
gully. A few minutes later we found our earlier track. It did not take
long to get back. Right before we left the ridge we crossed fresh
snowshoe tracks. No people but several tracks. The snow was so thin
that we walked down the last slope to the car. Now it was 2:27 pm. We
were done three hours before dark. For the day we skied 6.6 miles with
910' of elevation gain. This will be one of the shortest least gaining
trips I will do this year. Also one of the most fun.
We finally saw someone when the snowshoers came back. We saw nobody
while we were out skiing. Other than the snowmobile track we had
untracked snow all day. The drive home was faster. Most of the snow had
melted off the highways. Returning traffic from the last day of the
holiday weekend was not a problem. Last February I skied around NW
Seattle but it had been two years since I had skied in the mountains.
Definitely uses some different muscles than hiking. I'm still feeling
it three days later. I hope I can get back on skis more often.
Click on thumbnails to get
Snowy Teanaway Road
Looking For Bridge
WF Teanaway River
Climbing To Ridge
Heading Off Road
Upper Bible Rock
Red Top Lookout
Fresh Snow On Slab
Cheese Rock & Skis
Trip Part 2
Gary Views Meadow
Mt. Stuart Again
Second Lunch Time
Snow Covered Lake
Following Our Tracks