As the year came to an end I squeezed in one more first
time trip. Somehow I had never managed to ski or snowshoe this route. Bob,
Kolleen, Suzanne, and Kelly came along. It was 21 degrees when we met at
the Price Creek Westbound sno-park. It was blue sky all the way to near Snoqualmie
Pass then low clouds to the east. I hoped we would be able to get above the
clouds. There is a road route all the way to the summit towers. We had seen
trip reports from during the week so we knew there were also some shorter
off road tracks. Once we were moving we warmed up nicely.
Snowmobiles use these roads extensively so we had hard packed snow to
start. Flat soon turned to uphill. We had crossed over Price Creek so we
were free to head off road at any time. Bob and Kolleen spotted a snowshoe
track and we all stopped to put on our snowshoes. A lone skier caught up
with us. It turned out to be Gabriel Deal though I did not find out until
the next day. We plowed through the fresh snow and soon emerged.... back
on the road. And there was Gabriel. Our route was shorter but no faster.
We headed up the road and soon turned off on another steeper track.
The trees were all heavily flocked making for beautiful scenery. We had
some much steeper sections as we plodded along. Eventually we came back
out on the road.... and there was Gabriel again. What were the odds of that?
Now another pair of snowshoers caught up and sped past. We mostly followed
road from there with a few off road sections.
I was most pleased when we broke through the clouds and into bright
sunshine. Mt. Rainier was now visible to the southwest. About 400' below
the summit we stopped for food and water. The wind was still very light.
In the sun it was very comfortable. We ran into the road once again and
now followed it the rest of the way up. We were fortunate in that we were
passed by only a handful of snowmobiles on the way up. All were courteous
and slowed down while passing.
The summit tower did not come into view until we were fairly close.
The views from the top were excellent. Mt. Margaret was just across from
us. The Cascade Crest peaks were cloaked in white. To the west we could
see Bandera and Granite Mountain as well as McClellan Butte. Of course,
Mt. Stuart was visible. With our detours and stops plus many photos, it
took us 2:50 to climb less than four miles.
The trees near the top were plastered with rime ice and shone a blinding
white. Soon we were joined by a larger group on snowmobiles. After taking
lots of photos we headed down. The trip down could have been an easy road
walk. What fun would that have been? We followed our own route for a ways
then the consensus was to follow a lone snowshoe track straight down. It
alternated steep and gentle old road sections. Bob and I were a bit heavier
than the others and we sank in a lot. We both periodically sank in one leg,
lost our balance, and took a tumble. Great fun.
Our route settled down into a steep walled creek bed. It crossed over
once then again. The second one was a little tense as we could hear the
water running under the snow. I would not have enjoyed slogging up this steep
route in the soft snow. After what seemed like a long time but wasn't we
popped back out on the road. From there it was an easy walk on down. As usual
we met a number of folks who left too late to possibly reach the summit before
The only problem with the descent was going back into the clouds. I
hated to see the sun go away. Our time down was just over 1:30, about half
of the time we took heading up. Although this is a popular snowmobile route
we really did not see that many. Getting sun and clear views from the top
was a very nice. After not going there for the last twenty or so winters
I'm sure I will be back regularly. Good conditions, good friends, and nice
views made for a very enjoyable day in the mountains.
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
On The Road
Still Only Boots
Sun & Trees
Bob & Kelly
Suzanne & Clover
Mt. Rainier Again
Photo Page 2
Trips - 2006