Kendall Katwalk

I had my every three year office audit in the morning. I had a one hour business Zoom meeting at 1:30 pm. It was 75 degrees at Snoqualmie Pass by then. I had lots of reasons not to joint Gary, John, and David for an after work hike. The meeting ended a little early and I was out the door at 2:40 pm. I had missed the past two after work hikes and really needed to get out. I met the guys at High Point at 3:15 pm. We headed east for Snoqualmie Pass. The Kendall Katwalk was our goal. With the late start and long hike it is hard to get up and down before dark. To shorten the trip down to a little over 10 miles we cut off nearly a mile each way by taking the Commonwealth Creek Trail up to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). We left the PCT trailhead at 3:49 pm. We were surprised to find the lot nearly full on a Wednesday afternoon.

We quickly turned off the PCT and headed up the Commonwealth Creek Trail. Flat at first, it soon begins a moderately steep ascent. The trail is nowhere near as gentle and smooth as the PCT. The rocky parts slowed us down. The trail climbs over the lip and into Commonwealth Basin. Now the grade becomes much more gentle. We crossed the creek first on a narrow log bridge and then via a really narrow log or a rock hop. Gary and I went for the rock hop. The others took the log. We passed the "abandoned trail" sign and turned right on the short connector to the PCT. The "abandoned trail" sign now just reads "abandoned". We reached the PCT in 1.5 miles. A minute later we passed the 4k sign. That means 2.4 miles on the PCT. So far the heat was not much of a problem. I was sweating on the steep climbs but not overheating.

The trail goes out of the forest for a bit and then switchbacks to the right. Just after that we saw remnants of an avalanche. There were broken trees and some snow still buried. Most trees were cut out. We just had one to get over. We had seen bunchberrries and queens cups down low. Now we started to see a few other wildflowers like columbine. We were soon back in forest. The trail makes a long traverse under Kendall Peak before finally switching back to the left. So far we saw some folks going down and a few heading up. The leftward traverse was just under the ridge top. We reached the ridge and switchbacked up it in places. We took a break where we left the ridge. Now we would drop below the climbing ridge and continue out of forest and into Kendall Gardens.

This next section was out in the open as the route crosses a long talus field. Some good wildflowers in summer and views out to the south and west. I stopped for more photos than the others and fell behind Gary and John. David was a little behind me. It was pretty hazy looking out. Mt. Rainier was visible but the low sun and some haze made the surrounding peaks less than stellar. Looking northwest towards Lundeen and later Red Mountain was clearer. Even in the direct sunshine I was feeling good. I hiked fast but kept stopping for photos. A breeze made it harder to shoot flowers without blur but it kept us cooler. The route switches back and forth and then climbs on a very steep hillside to where it turns to the north side and out of the sun. I soon reached the ridge top and views over to Alta Mountain. The trail drops then climbs up to the Katwalk. Along the way a big rock has slid across the trail. The hillside is very steep but we had no trouble climbing over the rock. I reached the Katwalk at 6:13 pm, about 5 minutes after Gary and John. David decided to turn around about .70 miles before the Katwalk.

I had to cross the Katwalk. I alway do. The other guys had already done so. At the start of the Katwalk the wind was blowing hard. On the Katwalk it was not so bad. I returned to the start and sat down for some food and water. Views were good to the east. Mt. Stuart was in the distance with Three Queens and Alta closer. Down the valley were Lemah and Chikamin Peaks. At 6:26 pm we headed down. I took more photos from the open talus field but less than coming up. We crossed the field and went back into forest. On the way down, we continued to occasionally see more hikers coming up. Some were backpacking. All was going well as we were on pace to get back well before dark. After the last switchback before the junction to Commonwealth Creek Gary took a tumble.

He got back up but was not feeling as spry as a few moments earlier. I took one last year on the Annette Lake Trail. I had some big bruises that lasted for weeks. Gary could walk on out but at a much slower pace. We dropped to the Commonwealth Trail and the grade was pretty good. The creek crossing was a bit more of a challenge. When the grade really steepened as we left the basin the forest grew thicker. We soon had on our headlamps. This was not the ideal trail to descend with a sore leg in the dark. We made it back to the parking lot at 9:42 pm. I made it home just before 11:00 pm. It was a great trip up and 3/4 of the way down. Accidents can happen to anyone. That is why we all carry enough gear to spend a cold and/or wet evening at elevation. This time we did not need it. One of the crazy sights was near the icy remains of the avalanche. A trillium was just starting to bloom. By August it should have been done. In fact, nearby the trillium were done. Very unusual. From office audit to 10+ mile hike with a late return it was an eventful day.

Gary Head Up Trail
Bridge Over Creek
Red Mountain Sighting
Tiger Lily
Crossing Talus Field
Kendall Peak Above
Snoqualmie Mountain
David Holm
Mt. Rainier
Indian Paintbrush
Red & Lundeen Peaks
Steep And Narrow Trail
Cascade Crest Peaks
Stuart, 3 Queens, Alta
At The Katwalk
Shadows & Alta Mt.
Lemah & Chikamin
Across The Katwalk
Heading Back
Katwalk Flowers
John & Gary
Red Mountain Again
Narrow Spot Again
Colorful Paintbrush
Crossing The Rocks
John At Work
Spider Web
Green Brush
Guye Peak
Creek Crossers
Trillium In August?
Marsh Marigold
Back After Dark
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2022