Hex Mountain

Janet wanted to get in a snowshoe trip and I joined in. My one previous visit was also a winter snowshoe trip almost 10 years ago. In summer you can drive to within less than 2 miles of the summit making it too short to spent a day on. In winter you start down on the main road and it is a nice trip. We met in Bellevue at 6:45 and headed east. After a stop in North Bend to pick up lunch we cruised over Snoqualmie Pass. Down the east side we drove until reaching the exit for Roslyn/Salmon La Sac. The road off the exit was plowed but had thin packed snow. When we reached Highway 903 it was bare. From that junction just before Roslyn it is exactly 8.5 miles to the parking spot.

A half dozen spaces are plowed along the left side of the road just before Newport Creek. We were the first to arrive. By 8:50 we were on our way. First you must walk a short distance to the road turning uphill to the right. There were snowshoe tracks right from the start. Since my earlier visit a number of new roads have been built. Real estate signs abound. The road may at some point be paved and plowed. For now it is just a dirt road to snowshoe. We both have GPS units and the old road to the trailhead is the only road on my GPS map. Staying on that would get us to the summer trailhead.

The snowshoe trench helped a bit too. There are a few junctions where the wrong road is as big as the right. Between the track and the GPS's we had not problem. From the car to the summer trailhead I logged 2.2 miles. The snow conditions were excellent. It was sub freezing the whole day though not be a lot. We kept our snowshoes on our packs well beyond the summer trailhead. It was nice to get off the road and onto the trail.

Again, with the snowshoe tracks it was no problem staying on route. The trail stays on or just to the left of the ridge all the way up to the top of Sasse Ridge. 8-10 mph winds were forecast for the day but we were lucky. There was a little cold breeze along the ridge but mostly it was calm. This was the most strenuous trip Janet has done since here double knee replacement. Not in distance but in the fact we gained 2700' all on snow. I love ridge walks and this one was good. It would have been even better if the low clouds did not block parts of our view.

I remember from my earlier trip a steep section in a clear cut where the wind howled. This time with good snow it did not seem all that steep. Trees are beginning to grow. In another decade the ridge will be back in forest. Just before the steeper spot a couple passed us on their way up. When we began to climb I started to post hole and it was time for the snowshoes. Lake Cle Elum was now mostly in sight. Kachess Ridge was half in the clouds.

When we went back into forest the grade lessened and it was easy walking. At the ridge top I did not see any signs at the junction. Oh well, our route turned to the right and headed for the summit of Hex Mountain. It was now noon and we stopped for a partial lunch. It was calm and there was no guarantee that the summit would not be cold and windy. The couple we saw earlier passed us again on their way down. It was only a few minutes more to the top. The last part was the steepest of the day though short.

The summit had some views and also some wind. It was time to break out more clothing. Most of the trees near the top were coated in rime ice. Partial views, clouds, and rime ice made for a neat summit. We did not spent much time on top. Our pace was much faster on the way down. Where our route left Sasse Ridge I went a little farther along the ridge and found the summer trail junction. The sign for the Hex Mountain trail mentioned that it is not maintained and ends on private property.

On the way down I looked back and found several sucker holes with blue sky. It was never overhead but not that far away either. After reaching the bottom of the steeper part the ridge narrows and climbs a little. Here we met the only other group we saw all day. They were heading up. The rest of the way down was easy. We kept snowshoes on much farther than on the way up. About half way from the summer trailhead to the car we stopped and took them off.

Snowmobiles had run up the road most of the way to the summer trailhead. They packed and smoothed down the road and even in the late afternoon there was no post holing. We were back at the car a little before 3:00 pm. This was a great snowshoe trip. Really good dry snow, a track to follow, and very few other people. I should not have waited a decade for a return trip.

First Car In The Lot
Well Packed Road
Spur Road & Utilities
Snow Flocked Trees
Domerie Peak
Cle Elum Lake
Hex Mt. Trailhead
Starting Up Trail
Clouds Blow By
More Folks
Ascending Clear Cut
Clear Cut Views
Janet Climbing
Peaks & Clouds
Approaching Summit
Janet Nears Summit
Rime Ice Trees
More Rime Trees
Almost There
Arriving At Summit
Another Snowshoe Summit
Jim On The Summit
Last Rime Trees
Descending From Summit
Sasse Junction Signs
Open Ridge Walking
Cle Elum River
Cloudy Ridge
Ridge Roaming
A Little Blue Sky
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2010