Mt. Dickerman

For many years Mt. Dickerman was a favorite late fall hike. After the first snowfall the route can often still be followed to the summit. The views of all the peaks with a fresh coat of snow is spectacular. If too much snow falls too fast the upper mountain can be a nightmare of waist deep slogging. A report from the day before showed the conditions to be almost perfect. Off to Dickerman we went. Janet and Gwen joined me for this trip. We headed up the Mountain Loop Highway and reached the trailhead at 8:35 am. There were already about a dozen cars in the lot. Parked next to us were Mark and Nancy (The Zachster). They joined us for the rest of the day. It was just below freezing at the trailhead. Once we started moving I warmed up quickly enough.

The trail gains about 3800' net feet in 4 1/2 miles to the summit. It is never overly steep but climbs consistently. There are a few flatter spots after the midway point. The trail was snow free for nearly 1 1/2 miles. There was a little compacted snow/ice that was slippery. Footing was better when snow covered the trail. I took the short spur that drops to a view of Big Four. Mostly sunny over the peak. The forecast was for mostly sunny all day. We were anxious to soak up those terrific summit views. The switchbacks seem to go on forever. There are always more than I expect. We finally reached the long leftward traverse. When we came out of the forest the snow was finally deep enough to cover all of the trail.

A window gave us a view south to Big Four, Vesper, Sperry, Morning Star, and Del Campo Peaks. There were some clouds now but still very nice views. The creek crossing was no problem. A little slick stepping down into the gully but easy enough. Looking up the creek/waterfall much of it was ice. Several hundred feet of  frozen waterfall. I've never seen so much ice there. There was only 3 or 4 inches at the winter route junction. Not nearly enough. We headed on as the route climbed to the meadows. Just enough snow to cover much of the low bush huckleberry bushes. The sky was now mostly white though sun shined through to light up the bright white snow.

We were taking our time. Lots of photos. A number of faster groups passed on by. Some folks were already heading down. The route climbs up to the ridge. I looked out to see Mt. Forgotten. the top of Stillaguamish Peak was in the clouds. Mark and I went all the way up with just boots. Everyone else had microspikes on. Poles were helpful too. We traversed to our right until we were under the summit. From here the trail climbs the mostly open south slope in a series of gentle switchbacks. Those peaks to the south were now encased in dark clouds. At one spot I could see the Big Four Ice Caves. We were still in sunshine. I was plenty warm though the temperature was now in the upper 20s.

As we neared the summit the clouds converged on us. Up from the south and over from the west. Just a few minutes short of the top the sun went away for good. We arrived on top to have views north of about 50 feet. All those wonderful snowcapped peaks were lost in a sea of white and gray. Well, the forecast was not exactly correct. On the positive side, the wind was still very light. Much warm clothing went on as it was now about 24 degrees. Instead of a long stay to enjoy the views we made it a much shorter visit. We headed down just before 1:00 pm after about 25 minutes on top. My hands were frozen and I had to stop and dig out my warmest gloves.

We made a lot fewer photo stops on the way down. The view was uniformly gray.  When I mentioned that we were plenty early as it was only 12:20 pm I received some strange looks. It seems my watch lost 50 minutes on the hike up. What makes this more bizarre is that in two years of owning this watch it has lost 50 on two occasions now. The other time was on a hike to Monte Cristo/Glacier Basin. Both trips are right near Barlow Pass. I'm now calling it the Barlow Pass Triangle. Strange things seem to happen to my watch there.

On the way up there was one spot in the lower meadows where standing water on the trail froze into a sheet of ice. I carefully crossed in on the way up. On the way down I did not notice it until I was horizontal on my way down. Definitely by best fall of the year. Other than that the slick trail provided no problems. As always those long switchbacks seemed to go on forever. Just beyond the huge rock next to the trail I found the old 2 mile marker. It is the last one on the trail and the green color makes it hard to spot. It had begun to snow on the summit and light and occasionally harder flurries continued much of the way down. I was afraid it would turn to rain but it never warmed up enough. So much the better.

As always I was surprised to see folks still heading up late in the afternoon. If they went to the summit they would not get down before dark. I was happy to get down in the waning light. We were down in plenty of time to make most of the drive home before dark. The bright sunny day forecast was not to be. On the other hand, the conditions were excellent. No snow on the lower mountain and not enough to make the upper mountain very difficult. There was enough snow to cover the upper meadows and flock the trees. The huge icy waterfall was great too. Last and not least was good company. Nice to hike with Gwen again for the first time since the bizarre watch day at Glacier Basin (hey, is there a pattern here?) Another fun day with Janet. An unexpected treat running into Nancy, Mark, and Cedar the canine member of the group. No we did not have all the views hoped for but it was a great day to be hiking in the mountains.

Parking Lot
View Of Big Four
Icicles Along Trail
More Icicles
A Little Snow On Trail
More Snow
Better Big Four View
Big Four Summit
Frozen Creek Icicles
Frozen Waterfall
Frozen Daggers
Cloudy Vesper Peak
Del Campo Peak
Skating Rink
Flocked Trees
Crossing Meadow
Mark & Cedar
Cloudy Del Campo
View Towards Summit
Mt. Forgotten
Billowing Clouds
Gwen & Nancy
Clouds Surround Peaks
Packed Snow
Group Is Below
Lit Up Snow
Big Four Ice Caves
Almost To The Top
Gwen & Janet On Summit
Great Views!
Momentary View
Lunch Time
Heading Down
Snowy Trail
Last Icicles
Panorama From Del Campo To Big Four
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2012