The Year In Review

2009 was not an especially good year. The economy sucked. Business was awful. Running a business was stressful. I managed to tweak the same knee I had hurt badly the year before. My Subaru died and the second engine was bad. Number three seems to be working. Major health problems in my family. All in all, not a banner year. The only item on the plus side of the ledger was hiking. In that one regard it was a very good year. I managed to get out on 82 trips with 774 miles hiked, 209,600' gained, 21 new hikes, 11 nights in the backcountry, and over 90 days on the trail. I also made another trip to visit my brother in Sun Valley and spent much of the time hiking and backpacking. Gary joined me on that trip. One of the highlights was fullfilling a plan Kim hatched a few years earlier. We biked the closed Suiattle Road in 2007 stopping to search for the old Green Mountain trailhead. We found two outhouses and planned on hiking the old trail. This year Randy joined as we hiked from the Suiattle road all the way to the summit and camped in the upper meadows on snow.

My bad knee kept my hikes shorter with minimal elevation gain the first half of the year. The second half I picked up the pace significantly. Six consecutive months of over 20,000' of gain tied my longest streak ever. It ended in December but not by much. I also had another summit snow camp on a Teanaway peak and a second backpacking trip to the Pasayten. Yes, while everything else was lousy it was a good year hiking.

The year began with a one way hike across Rattlesnake Mountain. This was a big low level snow year and we were on snow nearly all the way. Next came my only cross country ski trip of the year, to Windy Pass. A low elevation hike to Wallace Lake was only half way on snow. Six of us snowshoed to Mt. McCausland a winter favorite. It was my third winter visit. The last trip of the month was a long 16 mile hike to Grand Prospect on Rattlesnake Mountain via the road system.

My long and expensive car problems hit in February and Janet and Kim joined me on a "forget your problems" trip to Central Washington. We camped on snow in well below freezing temperatures at Steamboat Rock and hiked up Northrup Canyon. Barry, Suzanne, and Opus joined me for my second and their first winter ascent of Red Mountain near Salmon La Sac. A steep snowshoe climb and limit views like my first visit. Kim and I went to Oyster Dome. My third visit and one I will do on a regular basis. An all guys trip to Arrowhead Mountain had rock hard snow down low and deep stuff up high. The month ended with another winter try at Mt. Higgins. My second failure in three winter trys. We came close.

Gary and I snowshoed up Mt. Washington. Kim and I made a winter visit to the Teanaway Valley snowshoeing up Pt. 3784 near Standup Creek. That was it except for easy close in trips. My knee was too sore to do much distance or elevation.

A return trip to Welcome Pass started off the month. Steep and short with stunning North Cascade views. On a drizzly cloudy day I did a 12 mile slog up roads to Calligan Lake above the NF Snoqualmie River. I had not been there in over a decade. Next came another brand new area. Kim took me along on a trip to White Bluffs along the Columbia River in Central Washington. We stopped at Ginko Petrified Forest on the way back. An after work hike to nearby Poo Poo Point had blooming trillium, paragliders, and 70 degrees. I joined Janet and Kim on a trip to Swakane Canyon near Wenatchee. Lots of wildflowers. The knee was still a problem as I finished the month with two easy trails in one day, Beaver Lake and the Old Sauk Trail.

Janet, Kirsten, and I did an easy hike to Whiskey Dick Mountain. Amazing profusion of blooming cacti. Next Gary and I did a winter backpacking trip to the summit of Iron Peak. Nice sunset. Kim and I did four trips in three days over Memorial Day. Driveway Butte had flowers, snow, a big burn, and a nice summit. We did a little of the Monument Creek & Methow River Trails. The last day we hiked up the Chewuch Trail through a burn to a great waterfall in a gorge. The month ended with a new trip with Joey. His scramble route up to the Kachess Beacon and beyond was a nice easy scramble.

A long 17 mile road walk to Airplane Lake near Sultan was tied for my longest day of the year. A return to the Teanaway took us up to Medra Pass and on to Koppen Mountain. A visit to Tronsen Ridge for the second year in a row again provided spectacular wildflowers. We returned to the Teanaway for a scramble of Bill's Peak. Not much snow left. The month ended with that spectacular trip to Green Mountain. We biked down the road on Friday evening. Saturday we hiked the lower Green Mountain Trail which has been abandoned for some 50 years. We camped in the snow covered meadow and summited before dark.

We drove east for the Fourth Of July weekend for three days in the Pasayten at Horseshoe Basin. Awful bugs and lots of heat. Day 2 we did 17 miles summiting Haig Mountain and Baureman Ridge. Lots of flowers and summits. Kim and I had great flowers and a scramble of Bean Peak. Gary made his first visit to the real summit of Bandera Mountain. Great beargrass.  I visited Summerland and Panhandle Gap in 2004. This time I returned and added Banshee Peak. A beautiful day. The month concluded with a backpacking trip to Monogram Lake. Heat, bugs, and pouring rain gave Kim and I an interesting weekend.

After several years I made it back to Blazer Lake and brushed out the abandoned trail. Gary and I revisited Crystal Peak near Mt. Rainier. The rest of the month was taken up with a trip to Idaho with Gary. We did a warm up hike to High Ridge first. Then it was off for a four day traverse of the Sawtooth Mountains. Most of the first three days were on trails new to me. We scrambled 10,716' Mt. Cramer. Lakes, peaks, a boat ride, and very few people. Just plain stunning country. We finished off the trip with a hike to Norton Lakes and just short of the summit of Norton Peak. 10,200' was not too bad.

We went looking for the NWhikers Traveling Summit Register on Crytstal King Mountain above Crystal Mountain ski area. We hit three summits and found no reigister. I returned to Blazer Lake for some excellent fall color. Lastly was a trip to Alta Mountain. More fiery fall colors and a summit cairn that is more than 7' tall now.

I had a crystal clear day on top of Mt. Dickerman with fresh snow on surrounding peaks. Gary and I did an after work hike up to Cutthroat Lakes and Bald Mountain. The road had been out for several years. We returned right at dark. Another visit to Ingalls Lake provided a long day of photographing golden larch trees. I also had a third visit to "New Trail". Word is that funds have been found to build a trailhead in 2010. I'll post info on the trail once it is officially open.

I took one final trip to the Teanaway. A nice loop up and over Navaho Peak. Clear sky and larch trees still golden. The first snowshoe trip of the season was to Mt. Pilchuck. Snow on the road below the parking lot. I hiked to East Rattlesnake Mountain via the Ledges. My first time up and down this route in a decade. Snow on top. The month ended with my first visit to Taylor Mountain. I have lots more to see there.

I returned to Wallace Lake. A nice day turned into a wild afternoon as a very strong wind had branches breaking off and trees bending way too far.  I summited two low peaks near North Bend, Little Si & Cedar Butte. The year ended, as always, on Tiger Mountain with a one way trip over two summits.

 My Top 10 Trips Of 2009
01. Sawtooth Traverse, ID
02. Green Mountain
03. Horseshoe Basin
Iron Peak
05. Summerland/Banshee Peak
06. Ingalls Lake
07. Norton Lakes, ID
08. Monogram Lake
09. Tronsen Ridge
10. Alta Mountain

All Trips - 2009