Kendall Peak Lakes

For my next to last hike of the year Gary and John joined me for a snowshoe trip to Kendall Lakes. The weather forecast for new Year's Eve was so awful that I suggested that rather than having them again accompany me on my NYE Tiger Mountain hike. We met at High Point at 7:15 am and I drove us east. Over Snoqualmie Pass and off at the Hyak Exit. We were the first car to arrive. The flat section at the beginning was quite icy. We managed that and the traction improved as we started up the road/trail. A trip report from three days earlier mentioned that the track was well packed down and snowshoes were not necessary. We brought both snowshoes and microspikes. There is not much snow for this time of year. Only 23" at Snoqualmie Pass. We were about 400' lower at the start. There was enough snow to cover everything. The trees were also completely snow plastered. There was not a lot of snow but it did look like winter. This day was supposed to be overcast but dry. That proved to be try.

A favorite hike is to the Kendall Katwalk on the Pacific Crest Trail. Kendall Peak Lakes are on other side of the peak. This trip will forever be remembered as the "Kendall Crapwalk". We saw 13 piles of dog crap along the route. Come on people, pick up after your pooch. By far the most I have ever seen on any hike anywhere. I thought leaving the bags of crap along the trail was bad. This was worse. Now that I have that out of the way I'll get back to the trip. The grade is pretty gentle and though it had not snowed in 4-5 days the snow was very good. It had remained cold enough that the snow was snow and not frozen and thawed and refrozen ice. We never did use our microspikes.

The heavily flocked trees were plenty scenic. At the spots where you can usually see out to the ski areas we saw only gray clouds. The views are the snowy trees around us not the farther scenes. The road turns to the right and heads away from the highway. Across the valley we could just make out the old clear cut point that is now tree covered again. The PCT is just below the other side of the point and ridge. We continued on to the old "T" junction. Right is the road route to the viewpoint and the lakes. Left is the old road. A few years ago the bridge here was removed. That is the route the Gary has taken mostly on skis and recently on snowshoes. Why take a packed trench when you can break trail in fresh snow? It's a lot more work but it does provide an real winter experience. We headed left.

There is not a lot of snow even at this elevation. We worked our way down to the creek and rock hopped across. I went first. Climbing up the other side was not too hard. The road starts out very brushy. That meant snow over brush and lots of voids to fall into. We immediately put on our snowshoes. I was first done and made the mistake of leading the way. I fell through below my knees a number of times in the soft snow.  Way more workout than I wanted. I had hiked the day before and this amount of work was not appreciated. When we were ready to leave the old road Gary took over the lead.

The route up to the lower lake used to be much more open. Now the trees are growing back. Add in the low snow pack  and we were careful to avoid creek crossings and dead ends where our route could run into a wall of closely packed trees. It all went well. Gary had this section memorized well enough. We reached a meadow and the going was better from there to the lower and middle lake. We passed by the end of the first lake and it became a bit steeper up to the middle lake.  We arrived at the middle lake at 10:51 am. We still had not seen a single person. The lake is snow covered but it does not look to be very thick. Low clouds made it hard to see up to where the upper lake is located. We had a good lunch break. Just us and a bunch of camp robber jays. We spent 35 minutes at the lake, getting going at 11:26 am. We had a short snowfall turned snow rain mix that only lasted a few minutes. That was it for precipitation this day.

It is much steeper dropping down to the lower lake. We had decent grip with our snowshoes. I did manage to tweak by knee. It hurt a bit but once we were back on packed trail I had no trouble hiking out.  The creeks near the lower lake were not snow covered so we had to find narrow spots to jump across several of them. Once across we picked up the end of the packed trail. It led through some trees and back to the road. We had easy sailing the rest of the way back. We followed the road down to the low point where it splits. right goes back to the "T" junction where we left the road earlier. Left goes out to the viewpoint. We went left. I believe the viewpoint is known as Kendall Knob. We passed a group also heading for the Knob. When we arrived we had just the view we expected. Clouds in every direction. No views at all. That's okay.

Our stay was short. We left ahead of the other group. Back to the junction an then down the road to the "T".  Arriving there we med two women without snowshoes. No problem on this day. They saw our earlier tracks dropping o the creek. We suggested it wass not a route to try without snowshoes. They had already come to that conclusion. We took off our snowshoes. Though it had warmed up to just above freezing the packed track was still firm enough for just boots. On the way down we passed a number of groups mostly heading up. This was by far the fewest people I have seen on this route in many years. It was a weekday but Boeing and many other businesses are closed down. I expected to see more folks. The lack of crowds was fine with us.

We reached the sno-park  at 1:56 pm. Still early afternoon. Plenty of time to get home before dark. For the day he hiked 9.3 miles with 2100' of elevation gain. We only used snowshoes for 2.6 miles. That is the first winter trip here where I booted in on snow for most of the trip. The weather was cloudy all day but we had almost no precipitation. The snow was well below normal but was not at all icy. The seemingly unending piles of dog poo were the worst part of the trip. All in all, a great start to snowshoeing season and a great next to last hike of the year.

Getting Started
A Little Brushy
John & Gary
Ice Spikes
Packed Trench
Misty Point On Ridge
A Little Brush
Bent Over Tree
Nice Snow
At The Junction
Crossing Creek
Snowshoes Go On
On Closed Road
Best Example
Easy Snowshoeing
John On Route
Looking Up
Bare Ground
Lower Lake
Camp Robber Jay
Guys At The Upper Lake
Upper Kendall Lake
Dropping To Lower Lake
At Lower Lake
Heading On
Through The Trees
On The Road Again
Flocked Tree
Kendall Knob Views
Snowy Brush
Snowshoes Off
Winter Scene
Oh, Crap!
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2019