The Year In Review
The year 2004 turned out to be a great hiking year.
I traveled 690 miles gaining 204,600'. The mileage total was 118
less than 2003 as I took a little more time away from the mountains.
Surprisingly, I actually gained 1300 more feet of elevation with
significantly less miles. I averaged exactly 10.0 miles and 2965'
gained per each of the 69 days I hiked. The average elevation gain was
far above my previous best. I only managed two backpacking trips but
they were both outstanding. The 12,276' summit of Mt. Adams is the highest
elevation I have reached. I aim for 10 new trips each year and this year
I had 13. I also finally made it out of Washington State as I hiked up
Bald Mountain, near Sun Valley, Idaho. The weather was generally good
with many sunny days in the mountains. Now it's on to a month by month
The year began with a long Mountaineer snowshoe trip
. There was snow from the parking lot on and we did
well to make it 14 miles round trip to the top of Point 5124. I also
hiked on Cougar and Tiger Mountains and cross country skied up to
Windy Pass. For the final trip of the month I was joined by Suzanne,
Bernadette, and Rick for a snowshoe trip up into
. There was plenty of snow making for a fun day. Getting
across the creek was interesting as the drop was near ten feet
I skied up
on a gray snowy day. The weather kept the crowds away.
I saw only a few people until much of the way down. On February
11th I took off for an afternoon midweek hike up to
Poo Poo Point
on Tiger Mountain. It was 63 degree short sleeve
weather. I had a long trip to the summit of
via the road route. Snowshoes from below the Mt. Si
turn off to the summit. Beautiful views from the top. I tried out
my lightweight crampons for the first time on the descent. They
made it much easier. The month ended with a repeat of a fun ski trip
from several years ago. I joined Gary, Mark, and Brian for the
Pipe Creek Loop
. We started and ended near Blewett (Swauk) Pass.
The avalanche danger was not too high but enough to stop an attempt
to reach Point 5969 again. We expected ice but had great snow conditions.
I repeated the Tiger 1-2 Loop for the first time since
just after the huge wind storm of last November. The war zone had
been completely cleared of the many dozens (hundreds?) of downed
trees. On March 10th I spotted the first Skunk Cabbage of the year
on Cougar Mountain. Three days later was the last ski trip of the year.
Gary and I drove over Stevens Pass and skied up the Smithbrook Road.
We skied a ways off the road and switched to snowshoes. From there it
was a nice climb to the top of
. Spectacular views were seen in all directions. It
was my first time up Smithbrook. March 21st brought a near 70 degree
day and the first trillium of the year on Tiger Mountain. It was
even better for the last trip of the month as it reached 81 degrees,
again on Tiger.
The weather continued to be outstanding and the snow
was melting rapidly. I began the month with a hike/snowshoe to
ridge between Pratt and Granite Mountains
. Nice views from the ridge. The next day Gary and
I attempted to find an old route on
we had done a decade earlier. The beginning had been
obliterated and we ended up with a real bushwhack at first. We reached
the top but it was a slow trip. I first hiked up South Bessemer in
February 2002. I was in the clouds with no views. It was time to head
on a sunny day. Snowshoes were needed for the last
few miles and the views were terrific. I hiked up West Rattlesnake
Mountain and headed over to the East Peak. That was the last bit
of the Rattlesnake Mountain trail I had not been on. I ended the
month by heading east to
. I have enjoyed the flower show on the ridge a number
of times. I had not timed it to see the blooming cactus. Thanks
to Internet trip reports I hit it right on the nose this time.
I managed to take several hundred digital photos that day.
This was a lousy hiking month as I only manage to get
out 3 times. At least they were all good trips. This year Suzanne
came along for my annual spring snow scramble of
. We were able to hike beyond Bean Creek before reaching
snow. The last 600 vertical feet required snowshoes. It was mostly
sunny and the views were terrific. The snow was perfect for a very
fast glissade down from the top. A few weeks later I did a solo trip
. The new Mason Lake trail was in fine shape. From
Mason on I had snow except for some of the open south side of the
mountain. Gary joined me for the final trip of the month, a scramble
. It drizzled early and was blowing ice pellets at
the top. We met Shayna on the climb from Navaho Pass. Not much
of a view but a good workout.
This month was much better as I got out 9 times. It
began with an after work traverse of
. Gary and David had friends doing the East Summit and
they shuttled us back to our cars. Next was a scramble of
. Climbing on snow was much easier than the scree and
talus I had done before. It was overcast on top with no views but
I did not see a single person the whole day. I scrambled
on a June day that felt like mid winter. The wind was
howling at Ingalls Pass. Lightweight crampons proved very useful.
Once again I had no view from inside a cloud on the summit. I returned
to hike the
Miller Peak Loop
for the first time in 9 years. The wildflowers were still near their
peak. June 19th was the official dedication of the Ira Spring Mason Lake
Trail. Suzanne, Joe, and I went up
. We came down the old trail to avoid the crowds. I had
as a winter snowshoe last year. I decided to see what it looked
like in the sun. I added Mt. Baldy as well. The wildflowers were
The first trip of the month turned out to be unexpectedly
great. Gary and I looked for a trail neither of us had been on. We
ended up selecting
. The trail is seldom visited and steep. It is covered
in soft duff and was not difficult, even with over 3300' gained over
the first 3 miles. The flowers were tremendous. We followed the ridge
to Bootjack Mountain and then decided to head for Highchair Mountain
as well. We attempted to find the trail in the valley coming back and
had a long bushwhack. Gary, David, I did a short but very steep after
work hike up Pete's Putrid Peak. It was my first time up. We returned just
at dark. I joined a Mountaineer scramble of
and we added Navaho on the way out. At 6000' gained
it was the most I did in one day. I returned to Gem Lake for the
first time in 20 years and added
, just above the lake. The month ended with a 2 day backpack
that had long been on my list. Gary and I had perfect weather for
a climb of
. We were able to spend a full hour on the summit.
I finally made it up
. It had been a scramble I long meant to summit. It turned out
to be a very hot day and I was seriously dehydrated coming down. The
upper meadows and the summit scramble were lots of fun. I will go back
soon. Suzanne and Rick joined me for an old favorite. We hiked the
Tired Creek - Waptus Pass Loop
counter clockwise. Views from the old lookout site were excellent.
Next I made my first trip to
Summerland and Panhandle Gap
on Mt. Rainier. The flowers were gone but it was a fun hike. The
last hike of the month was a loop I had long wanted to do. I had hiked
all of the route but not in one day. Suzanne, Joe, and John joined me as
we did a
Talapus - Mason Lake Loop
. We visited four lakes and came down the new Mason Lake Trail.
The month began with a fantastic 4 day backpacking trip.
Gary, Mark, and I hiked a 34 mile loop through the
. We scrambled 3 summits, saw more than 50 goats, and began with
an interesting bushwhack to create the loop. Late in the month Gary
and I returned to
. We hiked the trail to the summit on a beautiful clear day. Unlike
my other two visits, there were great fall colors. To make the trip
more interesting, we went cross country part of the way back. At the
end of the month I visited my brother at his new home in Sun Valley.
This gave me an opportunity to hike up
, the main ski area mountain. There was quite a view from over 9000'
on top. I plan to take advantage of a base at Sun Valley to do more
hiking in Idaho.
My annual larch hike was to
, up the Esmerelda Basin Trail. Unlike the Ingalls Pass Trail
nearby, I saw nobody at the lake all day. The larch were near their
peak. This is a very easy to reach destination to view larch trees.
Suzanne and I hiked the
Lime Kiln Trail
the day after it was dedicated. It is a nice addition to close
in easy trails. After that we headed up the Mountain Loop and hiked to
Heather Lake. The trail was much different that on my previous visit.
Much has been rebuilt. Near the end of the month I did a mid week hike
. Much to my surprise I ended up in shorts and short sleeves not long
into the hike. This was the last warm hike of the year. The month ended
with a hike of
. Suzanne and I were very glad to see snow for the upper part of the
I joined a Mountaineer hike up
. We followed the ridge from Beverly Creek all the way to the
summit. There was enough snow to make it seem like winter but not
enough to slow us down. We descended via Bean Creek Basin. Gary and
I set out to hike up
from Salmon La Sac. We were on snow much of the day but stayed on
the summer trail. We did not bother to add up the ups and downs and the
gain of 5300' was much more than we planned on.
One final Mountaineer scramble was an attempt on
Little Navaho Peak
. We went off trail the whole way. There was enough snow to make
the ridge route very slick. We finally were stopped by a gendarme and
a lack of time. Suzanne and I did a one way traverse of the
Rattlesnake Mountain Trail
from east to west. The wind was extremely strong. Fortunately no
branches fell on or near us. I did a loop of the
Chirico Trail and Tigers 1-2-3
. It was a beautiful sunny day and I saw few people other than on
Tiger 3 and Poo Poo Point coming down. Parasailors were out in droves.
After early snow the last few months of the year were warm with little
snow. On December 30th Suzanne and I were finally able use snowshoes.
We hiked up the Kendall Lakes Road on good snow and little visibility.
As usual, I ended the year with a hike up West Tiger 3. I was the second
car in the lot but there were about 100 when I came down. All in all,
it was a terrific year of hiking.
My Top 10 Trips Of 2004
Lake Ann Larch
Point 5124 Near Revolution Peak
Lake Valhalla - Mt. McCausland
Three Brothers - Navaho Peak
Goat Rocks Loop