Year In Review
2012 was a very good hiking year. I
closed 2011 with a huge last three months. With a fast start to the new
year I reached near all time highs for miles and elevation gain. By the
end of the third quarter I had 1004 miles and 279,600' of gain over 12
months. My fourth quarter was good though I did not hike every weekend
day and do a headlamp hike every mid week. The result was my fifth best
year for miles with 917 and my second best year for elevation gain with
254,400. That makes the last two years the best for elevation gain over
all 30 years I have been hiking regularly.
Again this year I joined Gary, John, and David for a number of midweek
that gave a big boost to the numbers. Those 23 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 disappointing backpacking year
as I only managed three trips with 6 nights out. The trips were all
excellent. The Pilot Ridge trip was terrific. Great scenery and new
territory in Foam Basin and Whitechuck Moraine. Getting back to the
abandoned lower Green Mountain Trail was fantastic. We saw more bears
than people on the trail. I hope the Green Mountain Lookout is not
removed. If so I had one final visit. I hiked 10 new trails and a few
others for the first time in
We had a lot of snow left in the mountains well into summer and fall in
places. From mid summer on we had 93 days without measurable rain. The
driest period I ever recall. Bugs were not bad this year either. I had
an almost even divide between solo and group hikes. I enjoyed both. My
biggest disappointment of the year was canceling my backpacking trip to
Central Idaho just a few days before leaving. It was a bad year for
fires in the west Bad in Washington and really bad in Idaho. Now
on to the monthly highlights.
Coming off a huge December 2011, with 113 miles and 34,100' of gain, I
had a fast start to 2012. I hiked a 10 mile loop on Cougar Mt. the
first day of the new year. A drive to the east side of the mountains
led to a second snowshoe scramble of Red Top
Lookout. Snow hit Seattle later in the month and I managed a 5 mile
ski trip right from my driveway at home. More hikes close to Seattle
and one headlamp hike with Gary and John. The month ended with another
drive east and a large group snowshoe trip up Hex Mountain.
66 miles with 17,300' of gain.
Three more headlamp hikes for the month. Finally back on skis after no
trips to the mountains last year. We skied up to Windy Pass, Nordic
Pass, and Radio Peak. I had a beautiful sunny winter day for a return
trip to Blanchard
Mt./Oyster Dome. Frozen Lakes but bare ground this time. The last
snowshoe trip of the month was to Mt.
Catherine. Cloudy with few views
but good snow conditions. Hoping for rime ice on top I took a camera to
Mt. That's unusual. Rime atop Tiger 1 made for good photos. More
close in hikes made for a very good February. 80 miles with 21,700' of
The month began with another large group snowshoe off Highway 410. We
snowshoed up Deep Creek and summited a bump near Noble Knob and then Mutton
Mountain. After many trips on the north end of the Yakima
Skyline Trail I made my first visit to the south end. More lowland
snow led to an interesting headlamp hike up to Grand
Prospect on Rattlesnake Mt. Waist deep snow at the top. A long
night hike. Another drive east to near Blewett Pass provided a great
day skiing on the Pipe
Creek Loop. Snowshoes took us to the ridge top. 70 miles with
21,400' of gain.
A number of us pushed hard for the repair of the Suiattle River Road.
When comments were opened for the new Environmental Assessment we had
over 90% of 400+ comments in favor of repair. That is the most comments
ever heard of on an EA. As part of the work Randy and I biked to the
end of the Suiattle
Road to check it out once again. The month had more Cougar,
Squak, and Tiger Mt. hikes too. I managed one more cross country ski
trip as Gary, John, and I spent a day on Mazama
Ridge. They were already plowing the road for spring. Janet and I
headed to Leavenworth for a hike up Icicle
Ridge. Some spring flowers
and no snow for most of the hike. April proved to be the second lowest
month for miles and elevation. 53 miles with 15,500' of gain.
I picked up the pace in May. I made a second visit to Swakane
Canyon. A group hike with wildflowers in bloom. Gary and John
joined me for the Wallace
Lake/Falls Loop with a twist. We headed beyond Jay Lake towards
Shaw Lake. Turns out we stopped just short at "Not Shaw Lake." At 17
miles it was my second longest day hike of the year. I had an enjoyable
hike up Mt.
Baldy. Only saw two people all day and that was on the summit. At
month end on Memorial Day Weekend I joined a big group for an
overnighter to Oval
Lakes in the Chelan Sawtooths. Still lots of snow up high. 88 miles
with 24,900' of gain.
An early morning business meeting in Puyallup led to a long day hike at
Forest. 13 miles, a new trail for me, and my first time behind a
roaring waterfall. A long drive and a new hike for me was Meeks
Table. A short hike to a wildflower bonanza on a flat butte with
near vertical drops on three sides. Kim joined me for a trip up to the Kachess
Ridge Beacon. the shortcut trail with an open southern exposure was
bare while the forested trail was still under snow. Tronsen
Ridge is an
annual wildflower hike for me. Four of us spent a partly damp day with
the usual great flower show. Gary, John, and I did an after work
mountain bike trip through the Snoqualmie
Tunnel. The fourth time for Gary and I. 72 miles with 17,500'
Janet, Gwen, and I headed to the Teanaway for a hike to Yellow
Hill and Elbow Peak. My first visit to Elbow Peak since 1990.
Beautiful day with few people. My longest day hike was 18 miles to Snoqualmie
Lake via Taylor River. My first time hiking from the old road end
to the lake. I made a third trip to Goat
Island Mountain. Clearest day with best views yet. A group hike
took me back to Crystal
Lake off the Whitechuck. Kim and I backpacked there before the road
was repaired. Still lots of snow at the lake in July. Gwen joined me
for another day in the Teanaway at Koppen
Mountain. We can in the less often traveled route from Medra Pass.
Wildflowers still going strong. My toughest day hike of the year was a
return to Three
Brothers Mountain and Navaho Peak. Gary joined me. Great views and
nobody else until we summited Navaho on the way back. I finished the
month with a visit to Rainbow
and Blazer Lakes. I brushed out the abandoned trail to Blazer. 108
miles with 29,600' of gain.
Janet joined me for my second consecutive visit to Bearhead
Mountain and Summit Lake. A hot day had me looking for shade. More
great wildflowers now in August. With Monte Cristo scheduled for
closure and environmental clean up the next few years I wanted to
return. Gwen joined me for a trip to Glacier
Basin. A very hot day. Blisteringly hot. A cool breeze in the basin
blowing over the snow made it almost comfortable. Kim joined me for a
return visit to Ashland
and Twin Falls Lakes. At a slower pace I actually noticed all the
huge trees along the trail. Wild fires in Idaho canceled my backpacking
trip to the White Cloud Mountains at the last minute. The biggest
disappointment of the year. As a consolation I planned a last minute
backpacking trip to Kaleetan Lake. My car died in the Melakwa Lake
parking lot. I still wrote a trip report
for the ordeal. I took Gary & John along for another visit to Summerland/Banshee
Peak. Fantastic day with great views. I visited the Foss Lakes
as far as Little Heart Lake in 1988. 24 years later I went back and
this time continued on to Big Heart Lake. My second 15 miler in a row.
70 miles with 17,700' of gain.
The month began with a great four day backpacking trip. Gary and I did
Ridge Loop in 2003. John came along this time and we added a day
and a loop through Foam Basin and Red Pass. Terrific weather and great
scenery. A trip to Kendall
Peak turned out to be my closest call on trail. A climber above
kicked down a boulder and I jumped just before it rolled over the spot
where I was standing. I don't need that kind of excitement. Gary joined
me for my second trip up the old abandoned Green Mountain
Trail. We biked up the Suiattle Road and camped at Downey Creek. At the
lake we saw a bear nad two cubs. Only one hunter at a distance. Sunset
at the lookout. A really great trip. After the
summer off I joined back in on the headlamp hikes. Bandera Mountain was
first. The last hike of the month was to Yellow
Aster Butte. Just my
second visit. First time up the Tomyhoi Peak trail a ways. Still snow
in places at the end of September. Second biggest month for miles and
tops for elevation gain. 103 miles with 32,200' of gain.
My lowest month for miles and elevation gain. Only five hikes with two
of them being midweek headlamp hikes. I took a Friday off work to beat
the weather and get in a great larch hike to Ingalls
Lake. Kim and I had lots of time for photos. The last trip was a
group trip on the Iron Goat
Trail. It was my first visit. Some great falls colors. 45 miles
with 12,000' of gain.
It has been many years since I did not make it up Iron Peak.
With the road likely to be closed by snow soon Janet and I headed east
to the Teanaway. some fall colors plus Larch trees I did not know
existed made for a great day. Cloudy with few views. At the summit the
rocks were plastered with lady bugs. Great conditions on Mt.
Dickerman a week later. Mostly bare with a coating of snow up high.
The views disappeared just as we reached the summit. The rest of the
month was spent hiking closes to Seattle. Three headlamp hikes. 68
miles with 20,300' of gain.
Kim, Janet, & I did a rainy day hike to Boulder
River. It never stopped raining. Great shots of the falls. We did
an especially long headlamp hike on Tiger
Mountain. 10 miles with 3300' of gain. A trip to East
Rattlesnake Mountain with Kim was more than half on snow. Winter is
coming. I cranked out three trips after Christmas to get over 900 miles
and 250,000' of gain. My next to last trip of the year was a 10 mile
trip to Wallace
Lake & Falls, largely on snow. My annual year end hike on Tiger
Mountain was a long one. Gary, John, and I did a one way trip over
three summits. 14 miles with 2800' of gain took us all day. A fine
finish to a great year on the trail. 94 miles with 24,300' of gain.
My Top 10 Trips