Mt. Si

I had a Christmas dinner to attend but the morning was free. Two years ago I did my first Christmas day hike up Mt. Si. I decided to repeat that this year. On the earlier trip I found only about half a dozen cars in the lot. This year there were about twenty. I would not be alone this day. I arrived at about 8:35 am and was on the trail at 8:43 am. It was dark with low clouds in Seattle but as I neared North Bend the sky cleared. Unexpected blue sky at the start. It was also 31 degrees. The trail is consistently steep so I warmed up fast and stayed warm on the way up. In the first mile I met several groups coming down already. I was in full winter hiking mode with heavier boots and a heavier pack than I have carried in quite a while. The first mile went be fast. I could see fresh snow in the gullies while driving to the trailhead. I did not know at what level it would be on the trail.

I passed one slower hiker heading up and several more folks heading down. Other than an illegible sign that I'm sure marked one mile, I did not see any other mile markers. Either they have disappeared or I was just not very attentive. Having done this hike for over 30 years I know about where they should be. The steps became a bit tiresome but otherwise the trail is in fine shape. In one spot a log slid down the slope and blocks about half the trail. That is it. Past the three mile mark the new trail comes very close to the old trail. I passed a larger group here with about six members. Just beyond here there was a little snow on the ground. At about 3.3 miles it began to cover the route. I slipped my way to the 3.5 mile post where I stopped to put on microspikes. The snow was compressed to just an inch or two of ice. That was enough to make it extremely slick.

With spikes on I had great traction the rest of the way up. I passed the upper junction with the old trail and reached the viewpoint at the base of the boulders. There were several groups here. I had zero views out. Nothing but clouds all around including below. There were a few wispy clouds near the summit when I started but now anything above about 3000' was lost in the white. Now out of the forest the snow was about 3-5" deep. Enough to cover everything but not deep enough to slow me down. I climbed up through the boulders then down to snowy trail. Most folks turn and head to the westerly viewpoints. I went straight ahead to the point where the trail goes off behind the haystack for climbers. A quick stop showed that it was 10:37 am. I took 1:54 coming up. Not great but in these conditions not too bad either.

There was only one set of tracks heading to the high point where the trail drops down to the Mt. Teneriffe Road/Trail. I went to the high point and then headed back down. Now I went over to the viewpoint. The Haystack is right above. One minute it was very clear and the next it was nearly invisible. The cloud above was not very thick. I could almost see small bits of blue. Unfortunately, it never did clear. I spent 30 minutes on top with no views. There was also no wind. Even at 27 degrees it was not all that cold. I finally packed up and headed down. At the boulders I stopped for one more non view and took a short video of the now falling snow. It really did look and feel like winter. At 11:13 am I headed down. With microspikes I had no problems with the icy trail. I passed several folks without them who were struggling. The majority did have spikes.

I saw a steady, though very low for Mt. Si, steam of hikers. Probably triple the number on Christmas day 2016. Also probably a quarter of those hiking Si on a December weekend day. You don't often have ten minute breaks between seeing hikers on Mt. Si. I hiked at a steady pace coming down. 3400' of descent in four miles is a bit of a knee pounder. I reached the trailhead at 12:45 pm. 1:32 down from the boulders was a pretty good time. It was now completely overcast at the parking lot. Only my early start provided any blue sky this day. On the other hand it did not rain and I had some light snow at the top. A wintry day but a dry one. No traffic problems heading home. I guess everyone was out shopping but not on my route.

Getting out for a morning hike on Christmas day is new to me but provided a fun time. Clearly, 2016 was not indicative of those who do get out. That was near total solitude on Mt. Si. This day I had company but not all that much. Everyone was in a good mood and most were friendly as we passed each other. A quick 8 miles with 3400' of gain and I was home plenty early for Christmas dinner with friends.

Getting Started
Sun Rays In Forest
Shadows & Sunshine
Above Snag Flats
Well Built
Nice Trail
Snow Starts
Icy Snow
Nearing The Top
Boulder Field
Haystack Basin Junction
Flocked Trees
High Point
View Of Haystack
Crossing Basin Again
Cloudy Haystack
Last Haystack View
Snowy Brush
Snowy Boulder Field
End Of Snow
Break In Clouds
0.5 Mile Marker
Mossy Trees
Bridge Near Start
Misty View & Photographer
Icy Bench
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2018