Year In Review
was a phenomenal year by the
numbers. 931 miles was my third best ever and best in 17 years.
Elevation gain of 258,900' blew away my previous best by 15,800'. My
105 days on the trail tied my previous best set 19 years earlier. The
year began at a steady pace and really picked up steam the last four
months. December was my biggest month for both mileage and elevation
gain with 113 miles and 34,100' gained. That is not usual. I had two
months over 100 miles and two months over 30,000' gained. It was the
second year I have averaged over 20,000' of gain per month.
I joined Gary, John, and David for a number of midweek headlamp hikes
that gave a big boost to the numbers. Those 19 hikes averaged about 8
miles and 2500' of gain. It was nice to break up the week with an
evening on the trail. It was a less than exceptional backpacking year
as I only managed four trips with 7 nights out. The trips were all
excellent. The Poet Ridge trip was mostly on new to me trail or lack of
trail. I hiked 15 new trails and a few others for the first time in
The winter had little snow in the middle then a lot at the end. A cold
spring kept it around until late summer at higher elevations. Lots of
snow travel and a short snow free season higher up. For the first time
in 24 years I did not get in even one cross country ski trip. The
wildflower show was very good. Same with the larch trees in the fall. I
managed two good larch trips. I did almost exactly half of my trips
solo and half with a variety of partners. I visited my brother again in
Central Idaho and had my sixth annual backpacking trip in the Sawtooths
and White Clouds. Great weather once again. A great year on the trail.
Now on to a month by month recap.
The year started with a nice 13 mile loop to Wallace
Falls and Lake. Sunny and sub
freezing all day. Next was a one way group hike across Rattlesnake
Mountain. I made another winter visit to Oyster
Dome. A blizzard on I-5 and snow
all the way from the freeway. I made a second visit to Fuller
Mountain and beyond. A really
fun trip. With the new and expensive permit this year for Hancock
Timber it will likely be my last visit. I ended hte month with a first
visit to McDonald
Mountain. 13 miles with 3600' of
gain. I have wanted to get up there for decades.
Four of my nine hikes were after work headlamp hikes. I never had any
rain the whole year on those hikes. On one dry trip there was a
blizzard on I-90 driving home. 20 mph most of the way. I joined Suzanne
and the group for my first visit to Welldiggers
Ass. A short snowshoe trip just
east of Stevens Pass. I joined Janet for a first snowshoe visit to Diamond
Head. A nice sunny day. A loop
trip on Tiger
Mountain was largely on snow. it
was 19 degrees with high winds on Tiger 1.
The month began with a trip on Rattlesnake Mountain to Grand
Prospect and the West Summit.
Few people and snow all the way. There were only three more
trips and they were all on Tiger Mountain. Not a stellar hiking month.
In fact, it was by far the worst of the year. On to bigger and better
April was the second worst month for miles hiked but the quality was
much better than March. I hiked up to East
Tiger and Sallys Summit. Nine
inches of fresh snow on top. I snowshoed to Red
Top Lookout in 2008. This
time we came from the Highway 97
side. Shorter but just as much fun. I made another backpacking trip to
a Teanaway summit. This year it was Iron
Peak again. Total solitude and
clear skies. A great trip once again. Janet joined me on a trip to Yellow
Hill, another Teanaway snowshoe
summit. Still some snow on the road. We did not see any other people.
The first five trips were on Tiger, Si, and a trip to Lime Kiln with
Kim. The second half of the month I finally began to get out of the
Puget Sound area. I hiked 15 miles on the John
Wayne Trail. Some great
wildflowers. I had a second visit to Oyster
Dome for the year. Some great
colors. Janet and I had a long day at Ingalls
Creek. 14 miles of fantastic
wildflowers. Hard to believe it was my first visit. A solid 83 miles
for the month but my second fewest feet of elevation gain.
The month was a continuation of the cold wet spring. I went east of the
mountains for four of the six trips. First was the longest trip of the
year. Janet and I did the Mission
Ridge - Devil's Gulch Loop. 18
miles with 3800' of gain. My second time all the way around the loop.
High water creek crossings and lots of wildflowers. Janet and I did a
snow scramble of Esmerelda
Peak. I did another snow
scramble looping over Navaho
Peak. I did a non headlamp hike
with Gary and John as we scrambled up Miller
and Jester Peaks. Snow remained
in the mountains so snow scrambles were the norm.
I picked up the pace in July. Nine hikes and one evening mountain bike
trip through the Snoqualmie Tunnel. It had been closed for several
Ridge has become an annual
event. Always amazing flowers. Kim joined me for an outstanding
wildflowers show. I failed to reach Rainbow Lake as I post holed waist
deep in poor snow. A lot of snow left for July. Bob and Kolleen came
along for my second visit to DeRoux
Peak. I joined Sarah and Kim at Bean
Creek Basin. I summited Bean
Peak. More great wildflowers. I made a fourth visit to Beckler Peak
just before the trail was opened to the public. It quickly became
popular as I expected. Another new trip was an overnighter to Basalt
Ridge with Bob and Kolleen. At
the end of July Silver
Lake above Monte Cristo was
still frozen and snow covered. A great sunny day.
Janet and I hiked Rock
Mountain from the Highway 2
side. Snow the last mile with plenty on the climb to the ridge. The
back side of Lake 22 was still snow covered in August at only 2500'. A
most unusual year. I've done four winter trips up Norse
Peak. I did only my second
summer trip. Lots of solitude on a sunny day. Kim and I made a first
visit to Gee
Point. A sketchy scramble at the
top. Still snow in the meadow. The month ended with another trip to Sun
Valley, ID. Six straight days of hiking with day trips first and last
and a four day backpacking trip in the Sawtooth Mountains. I visited Pioneer
Cabin from the opposite side
first. In the Sawtooths
I went cross country to see the half of 10 Lakes Basin I missed the
year before. A great trip.
The month began with a fantastic loop backpacking trip around Poet
& Cady Ridges. Some sketchy "trail" on Poet Ridge then
summiting Indian Head Mountain. Great wildflowers most all the way. I
hiked up Mt.
Dickerman on a rare hot day. Cooled off at the Big Four ice caves
later. I spent another hot day at Heather
Lake. Only my second visit. Some snow remained at this low
elevation lake. After a few months off I rejoined the headlamp hike
crew for a trip up Bandera Mountain. Next, Kim joined me for my annual
visit to Rainbow Lake with a trip to the Blazer Lake overview. The
final trip was another headlamp hike up Granite
Mountain Frigid wind at the summit and great sunset colors coming
down. A very good month with 91 miles hiked and 30,600' gained, both
the best of the year so far.
My pace usually slows a little in October as the days shorten and the
weather cools. Not this year. I hiked 12 days traveling 105 miles with
and 29,300' of gain. I did a real favorite hike, the Iron
- Bean Loop. First up Iron Peak then over Bean Peak and down
through Bean Creek Basin. This has become an almost annual favorite.
After a headlamp hike up Mt. Washington Gary and Janet joined me for a
larch hike to Ingalls
Lake. The larch were largely at or just before their peak.
Beautiful day and one marked by a Meet Up group of over 20 people. That
is not allowed in wilderness. Kim and I made a first visit to the under
construction Pratt Connector trail. It will be nice when it reaches the
old Pratt Valley trail. We came back via the old boot path. I had a
second larch trip to Carne Mountain.
Gary, John, and Janet came along. Great larch, sunshine, and a little
fresh snow to highlight the golden trees. Finally, I had a nice long 13
day hiking to the Kendall
Katwalk and Ridge Lake. A little fresh snow on the Katwalk and
I slowed down a little in November though 9 days, 76 miles, and 18,400'
of gain are well above average for the month. I returned to the John
Wayne Trail with Kim. Only my second fall visit. Great fall colors
on that sunny but very cold day. I joined Janet for a first visit to Estes
Butte. We did not see a soul all day. Cold with only a little snow
and some great mountain views from the old lookout site. Janet and I
went up to Lake 22
mid month. Snow in the parking lot and a lot of it higher up. Too much
snow to hike around the lake though we tried. 14 degrees at the lake
was the coldest day of the year for me. All the other trips were back
in the Tiger, Cougar, Squak Mts. area close to Seattle.
I often pick up the pace in December. With more holidays off and aiming
for goals I usually get in more trips than the previous few months.
This year I went overboard. For the first time ever I hiked more days
(13), for more miles (113), and more elevation gain (34,100') than any
other month of the year. The elevation gain was actually my second
highest monthly total ever. Hard to believe during the darkest and
often wettest month of the year. We had very little rain this December.
I started off with a snowshoe trip to Glacier
Vista at Mt. Rainier. Elena joined me for the first time. Low
clouds and fog over Western Washington but bright sunshine for us all
day. Next was a trip to Mt. Si via the Mt. Teneriffe Road. I saw
almost nobody. That's not possible on the Mt. Si Trail.
I returned to Mt. Rainier for a first time trip up the Kautz
Creek Trail. Janet came along. We carried snowshoes but used
microspikes all day as the lack of recent snow made for icy
conditions. Great views of Mt Rainier from our turn around point a
little short of Indian Henry's. The term "Dirty
Harry's Peak" is almost a joke. Most trips up this rocky and wet
trail are an ordeal. This time I went up with nearly perfect
conditions. A sunny day and firm snow made for easy and comfortable
travel. Easily the best trip on this route. I finished the year, as
always, with a hike on Tiger
Mountain. John joined me for a fun day with 5 summits and almost no
other hikers. Our one way trip covered much of the south and east sides
of the mountain that get very few visits. A great way to round out a
really terrific year of hiking.
My Top 10 Trips
01. Poet - Cady Ridges Loop w/Indian
Mts. Traverse, ID
03. Carne Mountain
06. Iron Peak
Gulch - Mission Ridge Loop
10. Pioneer Cabin, ID