The Year In Review
This year's review should be sub titled "An Embarrassment
Of Riches". I believe that this was the very best year I
have had on the trail. I finished 240 miles short of my all time
high but managed to set a new elevation gained record. With 243,100'
gained I average over 20,000' per month for the first time. I
had 16 new trips, many of them in the North Cascades. I spent 84
days on the trail and my 831 miles were my fourth highest ever. This
was an especially good year for backpacking. Backpacking season went
from April to October. It was nice to explore out of state as I had
a great three day trip through the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho. The
winter was normal and spring snow scrambles were excellent. The summer
weather was as good as I can ever remember. Sunny days week after week
and month after month. Even the bugs were not very bad. Spirng flowers
were good, fall colors were outstanding, and the larch season was terrific.
In fact, I slipped in two larch backpacking trips. I would be happy
if 2007 can came close to 2006. Now on to the month by month review.
The year began with an attempt on
. Rick joined the usual crew of Suzanne,
Bob, and Kolleen. We made it high on the final ridge but poor
snow and exposed rock combined with no views led us to turn back.
Next I joined Mark and Gary for a snowshoe trip to
. The snow was fresh and deep. Big crowds
on the way down. We made a first attempt on
. Some route finding problems and a ton
of deep soft snow turned us around before the top. The month
ended with another deep snow slog up
Dirty Harry's Peak
. It had been 20 years since my only other hike up. Waist deep
snow did not stop us this time as we summited.
We needed to get home before the Seahawks
played in the Super Bowl so chose an easy snowshoe trip to
. Suzanne, Joe, Julie, and John came along
on a snowshoe trip to
. We made it to the false summit but snow
conditions and time kept us from the real summit. A beautiful
day in the mountains. The best winter trip was
. Only my second snowshoe trip on the north
side of Mt. Baker. Steep and short it took us to some amazing
ridge top roaming. Fantastic views of the North Cascade peaks.
The last trip of the month was my first time on the
Nordic Pass Trail
. Gary and Mark maintain this ski/snowshoe
trail located between the Snoqualmie Pass ski areas. On this
work party we replaced a number of blue diamonds.
Suzanne and I snowshoed the Nordic Pass Trail
then on to just below the summit of
. Bad snow kept us from summiting. Next was
a long 14 mile trip to the summit of
. Warm day with lots of snow on top. Gary joined
Bob, Kolleen, and I for a trip up
. It was my second time up. Blue sky and sun all day.
was a short but very wintery day. Back on dirt
for a change Gary and I looped around Wallace Lake and Falls.
Suzanne and I returned to
and this time we summited. Very hard snow at
the top and great views. The month ended with a terrific backpacking
. We camped at 6200' on the shoulder. Violent winds
all night then a calm sunny morning for our summit.
Bernadette joined SB&K for a winter like
. Crampons near the top and no views. Spring
officially began with my annual snow scramble of
. Suzanne and Bernadette came along. Great glissading
off the summit. Late May was time for a flower hike. Bernadette
and I hiked up
. In the clouds much of the day but flowers were spectacular.
The month ended with a snow scramble of
. Nice day with great views.
First off was a 4000' hike up to the lookout
Dirty Face Peak
. Next Gary and I hiked up
Goat Island Mountain
. Clouds and drizzle on top but a fun glissade coming
down. Lots of snow still. The last notable trip was up
via Deep Creek. We threw in Mutton Mountain to
get it up to 4300' of gain. Nice sunny day. One of many more to
come through October.
The month began with my first ever trip on
. We hiked to Fisher Lake on snow then back and
up Mt. Sawyer. Beautiful day and not crowded. The worst bug trip
of the year by far was
. A nice summit but we were eaten alive. Another
first time trip was a Mountaineer scramble of
Fish Eagle Peak
. Very hot day. Fun off trail scramble to the
summit. Very nice views. Next came a terrific weekend. SB&K
joined me for a North Cascades car camp weekend. Saturday we hiked
. Some clouds but still nice views. Sunday we went
Yellow Aster Butte
. The trail was mostly snow free but lots of snow
in the basin. We followed the ridge to the true summit. Great
weather and great views. On by far the hottest day of the year we
hiked 5400' up
. Humidity was off the charts at 5:30 AM. Upper
90s on a south slope. With the long days of summer I was able
to hike to
after work. 11 miles and a day of work. Lastly, Suzanne and
I took the short cut to
Lake Lillian and Rampart Lakes
. I had five first time hikes this month alone.
Gary and I finally backpacked to
Park Creek Pass
. We had planned to go there for years. 38 miles
and 10,000' of gain in 3 long days. Beautiful country and almost
no people. Two nights alone below the pass. Great scramble up Point
6980. One big buck hung around our camp. Suzanne and I scrambled almost
to the top of
. First time and very steep route. Also a blazing
hot day. Gary, Bob, and Kollen joined me for a memorable backpacking
. Long steep approach, neat ridge walk, great camp
site and wonderful scramble of the peak. A real highlight of the
year. I'll return once I forget about the pain. After many years
I returned to Snoqualmie Lake via
and the "trail of a million steps". Hated the steps but
loved the lakes.
Gary came along for his first scramble of
. Very few people on a sunny summery day. Met
Mike McQuaide for a hike up
. Very nice trail to the lookout. Mike wrote a very nice
about me and my website for the Seattle Times.
Visited my brother in Sun Valley, Idaho. I planned a three day
tour through the
. It was even better than I had hoped. I crossed
three 9300'+ passes and saw more lakes than people. More great
sunny weather. I also hiked up Mt. Baldy, the main ski area at
Sun Valley. Nice views from 9500'+. I returned to the Teanaway
for an old favorite. I hike back up Iron Peak then looped over
and out Bean Creek Basin. The month ended with a fantastic
backpacking trip to
at the peak of the larch trees. Incredible colors around
the Maple Pass loop and even better at Wing Lake.
The month started with an amazing larch backpacking
trip. Gary came along as we hiked the
Carne Mountain High Route
. Thousands of peaking larch trees. Cold nights
and sunny days then snow the last night. A real highlight of
the year. SB&K joined for a long close in loop of
Melakwa and Pratt Lakes
. More sun even in October. SB&K came for a repeat
of an October favorite. Sunrise was closed in Mt. Rainier National
Park so we came in from the north to Grand Park then dropped down
. We saw two backpackers but more goats. Long day
but clear views of Rainier. At the end of the month I hiked up
. It had been many years since I had been on this old
favorite. Snow at the top of the steep part and a beautiful white
coat covered the basin and peaks. The good weather was finally finished.
In a repeat of the prior year I hiked up
only to be turned back by waist and sometimes
shoulder deep soft powder snow. We gained 2900' but did not come
close to the top. The next week we were again turned back before
the top. This time it was on
. We did not have ice axes or crampons and both
would have been useful. Finally out on snowshoes again B&K
came on a trip up to
Kendall Peak Lakes
. We broke trail in very deep snow from the road
over to the lower and middle lakes. Few people until coming down.
Suzanne and I slogged through deep snow almost
to Nordic Pass. The next day I returned with B&K and Carol
for a try at
. Earlier in the year Suzanne and I were turned
back near the summit. This time we followed a lone ski track up
the ridge and on to the summit. Surprisingly good views from this
low mountain. We snowshoed around Commonweaslth Basin while it snowed.
I skied up to Windy Pass. I did a long 16 mile road walk to the Grand
Prospect on Rattlesnake Mountain. I snowshoed up
Mt. Si via the Mt. Teneriffe Road
. Has a great time on my first visit to Keechelus Ridge. Of course,
I ended the year with a hike on Tiger Mountain.
My Top 10 Trips Of 2006
Park Creek Pass
Fish Eagle Peak