Welldigger's Ass

Snow in the morning? High winds dying down in the afternoon? If I believed all these weather reports I would spend a lot of days at home. I joined Suzanne, Barry, and Eric for a trip just east of Stevens Pass. Non of us had ever done it. We had a few trip reports to guide us. Otherwise we were on our own. The sky was mostly clear as we reached the parking lot. It is about 1 1/2 miles east of the pass where the Yodelin Road is off to the left. We turned right into the 3600' lot. It was already 9:30 and a number of other folks were there ahead of us. By 9:45 we here heading out.

We followed the road to the right and it quickly reached an upper parking lot. Forest to the right and a mostly open slope right above. We saw a skier going up the open slope so we headed that way too. A short way up we reached a road. Ski tracks headed up the road and so did we. The grade is not very steep as the road switchbacks higher. We have not had much snow during the last month but some fell over night. There were several inches at the bottom and more as we ascended.

The old layer was very hard so even with the new snow we climbed just in boots at first. When the soft new snow reached about six inches deep we broke out the snowshoes. We passed or were passed by a number of groups of skiers. We saw skiers most of the day but not a single other snowshoer. The sky kept clearing and the sun was very nice. The fresh snow also flocked the trees. I haven't seen that in a while. The road reached a cement foundation, likely the top of the old Yodelin ski area lift. From there it was a short climb to the ridge top.

We dropped down a short way to the left and Welldigger's Ass came into view. The slope up is open then goes through a burn before entering forest. The map shows the top is a long flat ridge. There is no real "summit". At the saddle we met another group of skiers. Eric recalled seeing them a few years ago on a trip that all of us were on. It is a small world. From the bottom it was a gentle climb up the ridge. Some nice views down the way we came up and now views in the opposite direction too. The burn went quickly. The forest blocked views but was easy to wind through. The ridge top is pretty flat. We decided to keep going until we started to descend.

There is one spot with views down to the Stevens Nordic Center tracks and up to Jim Hill and the Chiwaukum peaks. At about the high point we found another opening with some views to the southeast. There was also sun shining in. A great place for lunch. It was only 11:15 am. A little breeze blew through but far less than expected. The sky was mostly blue though the valley of Mill Creek had clouds blowing through above and below us. Big Chief Mountain went in and out of the clouds, mostly out. We enjoyed the sun and view for about 25 minutes then started down.

Heading down we saw more skiers heading up. We dropped to the saddle and headed up the other side. We left our uphill tracks for a short climb to the top of Point 5023. Another flat topped hill. One could continue on the ridge towards Big Chief but we chose to head down. We were on our tracks part of the way then took a flier off to our right. It went through some smaller trees and dropped down to easier terrain. One of Barry's snowshoe bindings broke. Lower down the track was hard enough he could easily boot it out. I'm glad it didn't break on the way to Big Chief. We might have had a very slow hike out.

The rest of the way back was easy. Most of the skiers were busy taking laps up and down the slope. We were happy enough with just one trip. We were back at the car before 1:00 pm. This was an easy snowshoe trip. We traveled about 4 miles round trip with 1800' of gain. Never steep and with views much of the way. It felt like a spring day with sunshine and a temperature around the freezing point much of the day. No wind helped too. This would be a good trip for folks without much snowshoeing experience. You are never far from the car though the views and summit make it feel like a wilderness trip. Great conditions and a new trip made for a great day.

Parking Lot
Booting Up Road
Some Clouds
First Skier
Passing Skiers
Saddle Ahead
Flocked Trees
Eric & Peaks
Cement Foundation
View Northeast
Welldigger's Ass
Ascending Ridge
Forested Summit Ridge
Open Near High Point
Barry & Clouds
Blue Sky & Snags
Descending Burn
View Northwest
Peak Across Highway
More Tracks Now
Arrowhead Mountain
Eric & Snowy Meadow
Photo Break
Rock Mountain
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2011