Dixie Peak

Super Bowl Sunday is a good day for a hike. We figured the crowds would be down and we could still get home in time for much of the game. Saturday was sunny in the mountains but dark and cloudy in Seattle. Sunday it was dark and cloudy in Seattle and dark and cloudy in the mountains. Oh well... I have hiked up Mt. Si many times. I have been up Mt. Teneriffe quite a few times. I had never been up Dixie Peak which is located in between them. Suzanne, Barry, Barb, and Elle signed on for the trip. Instead of the usual ascent via the Mt. Teneriffe Road we chose to start at the Mt. Si trailhead. By 8:35 am we were on our way. There were fewer vehicles than usual. We hiked the Si trail for .70 miles to the Talus Loop lower junction. We headed off on this nice trail. At the switchback left we went right on an obvious trail that heads over to the Teneriffe Road. The trail drops 100 feet to reach the road.

The Teneriffe Road climbs fairly steeply for a road. A series of switchbacks took us higher. At about 2800', we reached snow. Before long, we stopped to put on our snowshoes. The snow was not yet deep but they provided much better traction. The snow was hard and icy which meant we did not have much post holing. Other folks had laid down a nice track to follow. Below the Mt. Si connector trail junction, there are a few trees bent over with the tops buried by snow. No problems going under or over them. A few folks had headed over to Mt. Si but the majority headed towards Mt. Teneriffe. That helped us as the trench continued.

The road turns to the right and climbs towards Mt. Teneriffe. The grade lessened and we soon came to a spur road heading uphill. This was our route. There were no tracks here. We had to make our own. The snow was still not too soft. I sank in a bit but not knee deep very often. The road came to a junction where we went right. Soon the road ended or at least seemed to under a number of feet of snow. We now angled uphill until we came to a boulder field. Now it is a steep snowfield. Our route was straight up. The snow was very hard and we had good snowshoe traction. Under other conditions this could be the end of the line. It was by far the steepest part of the climb though not very long. Descending it in snowshoes and without ice axes would have been challenging.

Once on the ridge top we had exactly zero views. It was much colder. Still not real windy but enough to be quite cold. There were trees to get around on the ridge top but none were all that difficult. The ridge has a number of ups and downs. Several times a short steep climb brought me to what I thought would be the summit only to drop and climb once again. With visibility being almost zero I had no idea how much farther we had to go. I was the only one in the group to take off gloves and haul out my camera for shots along the ridge. Eventually we ran out of mountain. There are lakes below both sides of the ridge. I expect the views are pretty good from just over 4600'. I guess I'll just have to make a return visit on a clear day.

We had a quick lunch. It was just after noon when we summited. Three and a half hours was a long time to reach the top. I was hoping for a much quicker trip down. The drop off on the right side of the ridge coming down was very steep. I was a little leery about a few spots where we were forced onto that side but none proved a problem coming down. A short steep climb brought us to a forested flat spot where a second ridge come in. Barry mentioned it on the way up. It is the way they often go down. It is longer than the way we came up but does not require down climbing the steep section of the snow covered boulder field. I was just fine avoiding that. The ridge down was not particularly steep. There are some spots with thick trees but someone has broken off enough branches to make it easier to get through. In short order we came out at the saddle between Dixie and Mt. Teneriffe. That is a spot I have been many times.

Now we just had miles of snowshoeing on the old road to look forward to. Visibility remained minimal all the way down. The clouds never burned off at all. On the positive side it never rained much either. Just a little mist at times. Heading down the road we finally saw two other hikers descending. It had been many hours between sightings. Snowshoes came off at about where we put them on. We made better time on bare ground. One more uphill on the connector trail heading back to the Mt. Si Trail. By about 3:15 pm we were back at the car. I missed a little of the Super Bowl but had a great time in the mountains. A new summit for me and good company for a long trip with a short drive. Maybe next year I'll go back to see the views.

So Fast Just A Blur
Snow On Road
Still Just Boots
Almost Snowshoe Time
Snow Meets Sky
Heading Off Road
Reaching Boulder Field
Descending On Ridge
Steep Climb
Narrow Gap
Another Climb
Almost On Top
Lunch Time?
Group Shot
Summit Tree
Descending To Saddle
Group At Saddle
Barb At Saddle
Still Very Gray
Barry Heading Down
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2013