The Year In Review

2005 was a great hiking year. I traveled 718 miles gaining 201,200'. This was the third consecutive year I reached 200,000', though just barely. I had four backpacking trips. Two four day trips were outstanding. I aim for 10 or more new trips per year and I had exactly 10 this year. Seventy total days on the trail was one day more than the previous year. I finally made it up Kaleetan Peak. It had been near the top of my  scramble list for a decade. Grindstone Mountain was another scramble I had been meaning to do for years. August was a big disappointment as I missed three weekends. That meant scrapping planned hiking trips to Colorado and Idaho. Perhaps I can get there in 2006. I finally made it to The Enchantments. It was at the top of my backpacking list for many years. We had near perfect weather.

We had virtually no winter so I was hiking on dirt in January and February. Consequently, there was very little skiing or snowshoeing. I did manage to get in a rare winter backpack and had a spectacular sunset from 6500' on the summit of Iron Peak. Now on to a month by month recap.

The year began with a ski trip to Windy Pass and beyond. It was bitterly cold but the snow was good. Little did we know that there would be only two more ski trips for the season. I missed the next three weeks with a bad case of the flu. The month ended with a hike to Tuscohatchie Lake . The amazing thing is that there was only a few snow patches. There should have been five or six feet of snow.

Suzanne joined me for a mid week hike up Bandera Mountain . There was only a tiny bit of snow near the summit. I was quickly down to short sleeves. On the way down we passed a hiker coming up wearing shorts and no shirt. This is February in the mountains? Next was my longest day hike of the year. I rambled all over West Rattlesnake Mountain on a thin coating of fresh snow for 20 miles. A trip to Mazama Ridge was the next to last ski trip of the year. Gary came along. The snow was thin on the road but excellent up on the ridge. The month ended with a terrific winter backpacking trip to the summit of Iron Peak . Sunset and sunrise were great from 6500'. It was mighty cold that night.

The month began with another trip which should have been a long snowshoe trip. Instead our hike up Noble Knob was mostly snow free. At 6000' the ground was bare. I went on a Mountaineer hike that turned into quite a trip. I had read about the Moon Wall near Mt. Si. We followed road then bushwhacked to a long abandoned road to the Moon Wall . On the way back we ended up taking the long way. 19 miles later we came out with headlamps. Bernadette and I hiked to Snow Lake . No crowds at all. We snowshoed straight down from the ridge. The first quarter ended with my first visit to Oyster Dome . Nice trails, good views, and several lakes.

We finally got the first real snow dump in many months. Suzanne and I did a snowshoe scramble of Navaho Peak . There was several feet of snow over no base. The snowshoe postholing was comical coming down. Nice views. Suzanne, B, and I snowshoed up Mt. Margaret . It was my first time up.

I had a long day on the Mission Ridge-Devils Gulch Loop . I had done both ends before but never the middle and a full loop. Few people were out. I did see my first Tweedy's Lewisia in many years. I met the Trail Pair and wildernessed for a snow scramble up Esmerelda Peak. Nice folks and a nice trip. Suzanne joined me for a flower hike up Umtanum Ridge . The cacti were done but the bitterroot were out in force. Unfortunately, Sadie brought home many ticks. Gary and I got out for an after work  bike ride up the Iron Horse trail, through the tunnel and down the old highway. It was a really fun 35 mile loop. The month ended with a loop trip to Twin Lakes, up Silver Peak , and out via Windy Pass.

Grindstone Mountain had long been on my scramble "to do" list. Gary and I had a great time. Route finding was fun but I had many deep postholes. I would love to return. I did return to  Bootjack and Highchair Mountains with the Mountaineers. The ridge scramble is a blast. Due to a few wayward members several of us hiked back towards Highchair while searching. This turned a long day into a longer one. The 6400' in one day is the most I have done.

I did the Bean Peak Loop clockwise. Great flowers in Beverly and Bean Creek Basins. I ran into Terry Schwartz on the summit of Bean Peak. Rain all over the Cascades but sun in the Teanaway. Gary and I did a Teanaway overnighter. We summited  Bill, Teanaway, Iron, and Bean Peaks in a loop trip. Four summits and great flowers. After reading a report about a close in lookout I hiked the road to the Cascade Lookout . I had no views with clouds and drizzle on top. The lookout is in surprisingly good shape. Kaleetan Peak is the scramble that I have meant to do for the longest time. This year I finally did it. Suzanne joined me and even her dog Sadie summited. Very hot day and great views from the top. The month ended with one of the best backpack trips I have ever done. Gary joined me for a four day 45 mile Buck Creek-Spider Meadow Loop . We saw few people, had long ridge walks, scrambled summits, visited a lookout, and had great weather. This was my best month with 98 miles and 33,800' gained.

Three weekends were lost to hiking. This should have been a great month but all I managed was a hike up Granite Mountain and one to Rainbow Lake via Talapus Lake.

Things picked up again. I hiked the new trail to Wallace Lake added Jay Lake and looped out via Wallace Falls. Gary and I had both been to Gothic Basin a number of times. Neither of us had been up Gothic Peak . The scramble was more interesting since neither of us were sure of the route. It all went well. Very impressive views form the top. Blueberries were ripe and fall colors were beginning as I scrambled up  Kendall Peak and hiked over to Ridge Lake. The month ended with the best backpacking trip I have ever been on. The  Enchantments have been at the top of my list for a decade or more. Thanks to Suzanne and Kelly for the invitation. The weather was perfect. The larch were at their peak. The four days went by all too fast.

Suzanne, Gary, and I had a good larch trip to Lake Ann and Fortune Peak . Good weather and near peaking larch. Fun scramble up and down Fortune Peak. Late in October I hiked up Mt. Defiance . It was near 65 degrees back at Mason Lake as I laid around in shorts and a short sleeve shirt. A week later things changed dramatically. I hiked up  Silver Peak and hit snow just above the PCT. The summit ridge climb was all on snow. It was about 35 degrees colder than the privious weekend.

Snow fell fast and deep in early November. Gary and I headed out to Mt. Dickerman . The parking lot was snow covered as well as the trail. It soon was deep enough for snowshoes and soon almost too deep. We struggled along until reinforcements arrived. George and Susan Olson joined in. We did not summit but made it high on the mountain. Suzanne and I tried  Mt. Higgins next with similar results. A GPS unit kept us on course in the deep snow. We ran out of time and energy within about 400' of the summit. I joined Richard and Jeff for a snowshoe trip up Mt. Washington . Seattle was smoggy and cold under an inversion layer while we were sunny and warm on top. Suzanne and I had one final snowshoe trip up Mineral Butte . Neither of us had done this trip. Thankfully several other groups had the same idea and helped break trail. We slogged through deep snow much of the day. We made it to within a few hundred feet of the summit but conditions were unstable enough for me to pass on a shot at the top. It was still a great day in the mountains. Gary and I ended the month with a ski trip up to Windy Pass.

The snow was good for several ski trips early in the month. I skied 14 miles down the Iron Horse Trail. Next was a return to  Windy Pass and then a hike up Cedar Butte on the way home. The snow suddenly stopped and began to melt away. With crummy conditions in the Cascades I began to concentrate on closer trails. My lousy August just about precluded any chance of getting a third consecutive 200,000' year. Still, by mid December I was within about 12,000'. I needed 11,500' more after Christmas. Gary and I did a one way hike across Tiger Mountain gaining 4200'. After that I decided to go for it. In the last 6 days I gained 12,700' and reached my goal.

2005 turned out to be a great year. The Enchantment and Spider-Buck Creek backpacking trips were among the best ever. I had a nice balance between day hikes, scramble summits, backpacks, and lakes. The flower show was among the best I have ever seen. The summer was warm and dry. I hope 2006 turns out to be just as good.

My Top 10 Trips of 2005
01. The Enchantments
02. Buck Creek - Spider Meadow
03. Iron Peak
04. Grindstone Mountain
05. Kaleetan Peak
06. Lake Ann - Fortune Peak
07. Bill, Teanaway, Iron, and Bean Peaks
08. Gothic Peak
09. Mazama Ridge
10. Umtanum Ridge

All Trips - 2005