Mt. Dickerman

I had not been up the Mountain Loop Highway on the Granite Falls side all year. At first the group planned a trip up the recently reopened Walt Bailey Trail but that fell apart and I was left on my own. A report from two days earlier said there was a foot of new snow on Mt. Dickerman. That is a fun trip after the first snow fall. Great views from the top and still easy until the snow begins to pile up. An early morning check of the weather showed a forecast for a sunny afternoon and winds of 15-19 mph. I almost switched destinations as the summit would be frigid with high winds and snow. I'm glad I didn't.

Out of town at 7:40 brought me to the Dickerman trailhead just after 9:00. I was on the trail soon after. There were already 6 or 7 other cars in the lot. One woman took off a few minutes before me. The trail is in excellent shape. Dickerman gains 3900' in about 4 1/2 miles. It is consistently steep though never overly steep. I set a good pace but I could not catch the woman ahead of me. I took a short stop at the first viewpoint. Vesper and Sperry plus Big Four were visible though tree branches. The view is definitely getting closed out by forest.

Just after the old 2 mile marker is the big rock and a few minutes later is a nice viewpoint of Big Four, Sperry, and Vesper. Fresh snow blanketed all three. The creek at the waterfall was barely running. There was some snow from there on up. It was mostly covering the ground at the winter route turn off. In the graveled trail section in the meadow I found some ripe berries right on the trail. The snow was icy slush but no problem with poles. I brought Yak Trax but there were still bare spots in the trees so I left them in my pack.

Up on the ridge I had my first look across Perry Creek to Stillaguamish Peak. The ridge to the peak was all under snow. The trail traverses east and there were more berries here. I had some but planned to do some grazing on the way down. Where the route pops out into the open below the summit I caught up with the other hiker. Two more hikers were stopped just above. I went on by and began the switchbacks up the slope. Poles were very helpful as the track was packed down and slick.

I reached the summit to find three other hikers enjoying the views. And what views we had. Trees blocked Big Four, Vesper, Sperry, and Del Campo but from Bald Mountain to Three Fingers, Whitehorse, Baker, Shuksan, Whitechuck, Dome, Forgotten, Stillaguamish, Glacier, Sloan, and the Monte Cristos the views were spectacular. Fresh snow put a coating of white over the peaks which were largely bare rock just a week ago. I found about a 5 mph wind on the summit but it quickly died out and never returned. Not a cloud in the sky and no wind. Much better than the forecast.

I arrived at about 11:20 making it 2:10 to the top. Not a bad time at all with the slicker upper slopes. The parade began soon after. I met Aussie of nwhikers among the crowd. I also met Chris who often visits my website. I met him on Dirty Face Peak and corresponded via email just a few weeks ago. It is a small world. With nearly ideal conditions I stayed on top longer than I had planned. In fact, three hours went by all too fast. At 2:20 I packed up and headed down.

Views to the south were washed out by the morning sun coming up but were much better in the afternoon. I made slow progress on the southern slope as the camera kept coming out. I stayed slow on the westward traverse as there are still a lot of ripe berries right on the trail. I never left the trail and spent a while grazing the sweet berries. Finally with the views and berries behind me it was time to pick up the pace.

I made good time and was near the junction with the old trail when I was stung by a hornet. We had been discussing fall hornet stings and I mentioned I had made it through this year. Well, not quite. Ten minutes later I was back at the car. The lot has been expanded by about 22 spaces. There is a new board on the other end and I went over to take a look. This will soon be the new Perry Creek Trailhead. The old road up Perry Creek will be closed down. I found the trail though the very start has not yet been made obvious.

This may have been the best day of the year to be on a mountain top. Cool on the climb but sunny with no wind on the summit. Just enough snow to provide great contrast on the surrounding peaks but not enough to make the hike difficult. On the way down the snow was rapidly melting on the trail. The trail itself will likely be mostly snow free in a few days. What a terrific day to be out hiking.

Snow On Trail
Stillaguamish Peak
Mt. Forgotten
Color & Snow
Stillaguamish Summit
View Southwest
Sperry & Vesper Pks
Snowy Trail
Glacier Peak
White Chuck Mountain
Group On Summit
Dome Peak
Chris On Summit
Mt. Pugh
Glacier Close Up
Forgotten Summit
Three Fingers
Whitehorse Mountain
View Northwest
Mt. Shuksan
Mt. Baker
Del Campo Peak
Sloan Peak
Columbia Peak
Monte Cristo Peaks
Red & White
Red Leaves
Colorful Meadow
Last Color Shot
Two Mile Marker
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2009