The Year In Review
The year 2003 was outstanding.
I exceeded nearly all my goals with 808 miles and 203,300 feet
gained over 80 days. It included hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing,
and cross country skiing. The only thing missing was a bike/hike
combo trip. I had 13 first time trips and another on snowshoes that
was completely different than the summer trail hike I had done before.
I met and hiked with Lyn, George, Suzanne, Emory, John, Vebjorn,
Harold, another George, Bernadette, John, Julie, Dave, and more. I
had three 3 day backpacking trips and all were terrific. We had one
of the driest summers in many years leading to week after week of great
hiking conditions. Now for a month by month review of the year.
Winter came late with very little snow. What
fell was usually hard and crusty. This led to much less cross
country skiing and much more snowshoeing than usual. A Mountaineer
was lots of fun. It was my first chance to get
out on snowy roads with my new
. I had done this trip during the summer and it
was completely different on snow. It was led by Richard Burt
and Lynn Graf whom I would do two other memorable snowshoe trips
with. A hike to
was notable for it's cold (22 degrees) and the
rock hard "snow" we trudged up. Snowshoes were never needed. A
was snowfree. The waterfalls had plenty of water.
I had four first time trips this month. First
was close in
South Bessemer Mountain
. It is up the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River.
The route would be all the way on road in the summer. That day
the upper several miles was on snow. I had no views at all and so
I will be returning soon. Next was a Mountaineer trip to
. This area near Olympia had been on my list for
years. A snowshoe trip to
near Paradise was nearly perfect. An inversion
had Seattle in a smoggy subfreezing haze for a week. At Paradise
it was crystal clear and warmer than Seattle. Lyn and I had a great
day in the bright sunshine. Paradise had 70 inches of snow. That is
seriously low for February. The last two were great snowshoe trips
with Richard and Lynn.
was completely off any route. A road and a big
clearcut led to one ridge and a steep climb led to another. From
there is was a superb ridge walk to the summit.
was memorable for the cold. I have done the trail
to the top of Kachess Ridge several times in the summer. All the
way to the top of Thomas on snow was much different. On the summit
it was 15 degrees and we were sandblasted by blowing ice pellets.
We reached the car just at dark.
The month started with one of my monumental screw
ups. I headed up for a ski trip along the
Iron Horse Trail
. At the Hyak Sno-Park I realized I forgot my pack.
I then took off for a 13 miles ski trip without food, water, or
extra clothing. To top it off I stopped on the way back to hike
up Cedar Butte. Who needs food or water for a 17 mile trip? The
other interesting trip was
. This is a great early season desert walk. It was
March and there was no snow. Lyn came along for this one.
A return trip to
with Gary and Mark was much different. This time
there was 6 feet more snow on the ground. I skied most of the way
but brought snowshoes for the steepest descents. No sun and very cold
that day. I returned to
for the first time in about 5 years. I took the
new trail both ways. Generally good but way overbuilt in places.
It was late April when Gary and I did the first spring scramble of
the year to
. Less snow than the year before but we still started
about 3 miles from the trailhead. All the way on snow. I finished
the month by doing a trip that had been on my list for many years.
Bill Stocker joined me for a short but fun hike up
. The conditions were fine for a fast glissade down
the chute. My last sub freezing day for many months.
Gary, Mark, and I headed to the Teanaway for a snow
. We had an easy hike into Bean Creek Basin. The
snow on Earl was very icy. Crampons would have been useful. We
kicked minimal steps in the ice and went straight up the slope. Gary
did most of the kicking. Where we could get on rock it was an interesting
and much safer scramble. We had a great glissade coming back down. Karen
Sykes led a Mountaineer scramble up
. We had some snow but good conditions overall. Last
year I saw a deer just below the summit. This year it happened
again. We looped back down and I was able to take one of the few Teanaway
trails I had not been on. I finished the month with another great Teanaway
snow scramble. Lyn came along for this one.
is not technically difficult but is 12 miles with
4300' gained. The last 2 1/2 miles were on snow. The view is great
from over 7000'.
I escaped a 90 degree day in Seattle by going to
Pratt Mt. and Rainbow Lake
. The south slope of Pratt was mostly bare with some
snow. The lake basin was all snow. I met George near the top and
spent the day with him. I was the unofficial route finder on a Mountaineer
hike of the
Malcolm Mt. Loop
. It was a hike and not a scramble so some of the hikers
were in for a little more than they expected. The route was more
overgrown than on my last trip. Even so, it was a fun hike.
was another hike I had long planned on doing. Gary
and I picked a brutally hot day. It was over 90 in Shelton. This
is one long ridge hike. Much is in forest but the last part is in the
open and was great.
I picked up the pace in July as I had my first 100
mile month in nine years. My first backpack of the year was to
Waptus Lake and Dutch Miller Gap
. The bugs were beyond unbearable. For some reason
there were almost no other people. I tried out my Hennessy Hammock
and had some rain the last night. All in all, it was a great quick 32
Kendall Peak and Ridge Lake
was a great day of diverse hiking. A close in but
seldom visited summit, the Katwalk, and a nice lake. I saved the
best for last. Gary and I backpacked the
Pilot Ridge - North Fork Sauk Loop
. Bugs were awful but the scenery was spectacular. I have 45
photos posted and over 100 more not online. The view from White Mountain
in the early morning was worth all the bugs.
I kept up the pace in August with 94 more miles. A
return to Bald Mt. via the Walt Bailey trail was fun. Next I finally
climbed up the last Teanaway Peak that had eluded me for years.
is not an impressive summit but it has a nice off
trail ridge walk to the top. I made a return trip to one of my
favorite long distance summits.
is a 17 mile trip with 5100' of gain. I was nearly
alone the whole day. The ridge scramble is fun and the view from
7300' is great. The last backpack of the year was a phenomenal trip.
Gary and I expected crowds at
Buck Creek Pass
on the Labor Day weekend. Instead, we saw only a few
people all weekend. The area around High Pass was one of the highlights
of the year. We had great sunrises and sunsets with Glacier Peak
I returned to
which is one of my favorite summits. John, Suzanne,
Vebjorn, and George came along. No blueberries this year along the
way. I joined the group again for my first hike up
. This was another I had planned to do years ago. The
view from the top was very good. I joined Karen Sykes and the Mountaineers
for a trip up
. I did it once before but the upper slabs were covered
in snow and ice. This day they were bare. The slab scrambling was
a blast. The final trip of September was one of the most memorable
hikes I have ever done. Gary wanted to do the
near Mt. Baker. We hoped to see some fall colors. We were
at the perfect place and the perfect time. The colors were like nothing
I have ever seen before. We had the colors, a summit, a scramble,
and a cross country leg. It was nearly an ideal day. For late September
it was also very hot.
The month began by knocking off another long planned scramble.
turned out to be every bit as fun as I hoped it would be.
11 miles with 5300' gained is a real workout. John, Emery, and Ed
left after me and we met on the summit. The good weather continued into
October. The weather changed a week later. Suzanne and I went to
Iron Bear Peak
looking for larch. We found rain, sleet, wind, and some
nearly golden larch. A week later I went back to
and found many golden larch. I have had great luck finding
peaking larch at Ingalls. The last great trip of the month was to
. Sunrise was closed for the season and Gary and I were
the only people in the whole northeast corner of the park. We took
a cross country scramble route to cut the trip down to 15 miles.
It was a sunny day with no clouds around the mountain.
Suzanne and I returned to
. There was a little new snow at the lake and the last of
the fall colors. The first real winter hike of the season was a group
. It was nearly as cold as my early year trip but with lots
of fresh snow. Bernadette and I had a great trip up Mt. Si via the
Teneriffe Road. We saw only two people coming and going plus two more
on the summit. Part bare road walk and part snowshoe trip made for a fun
A big storm came through and word was that some trees were
knocked down. We hiked up Tiger 1 on the Preston Trail and I saw
devastation like I have never seen before. Hundreds of trees
were down. It was far more of an adventure than I expected. I avoided
downed trees by hiking up
West Rattlesnake Mountain
via the road. It was 17 miles with no obstacles. A solo
snowshoe trip up the
Kendall Lakes Road
was fun. Clouds rolled in but the snow was great. Gary and
I had a terrific ski trip on the
Amabilis Mt. Loop
. The snow was very good and we saw almost nobody all day. The
four mile downhill was a blast. I finished the year with a rush covering
83 miles in the last 17 days of the month. As usual the year ended with
my annual hike up
W. Tiger 3
. It was a great year from beginning to end.
My Top 10 Trips of 2003
06. Mt. Pugh
Pilot Ridge - N F Sauk Loop
Buck Creek Pass - High Pass
01. Goat Mountain