Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More North Fork Wanderings 12.28.10

    With the new storm system making it's way onshore yesterday and dumping a large amount of snow over everything worthwhile I grew concerned about a safe choice. I only had a short day that ended up being pared down from that. I decided that I didn't have enough time to get far enough East to find snow conditions that I was comfortable with.  It was time for some dumpster diving in the North Fork of the Snoqualmie drainage. There are still many knob, knolls and bumps that I haven't climbed so I thought it wise to use this day for that endeavor. My wife came down with a cold so I got the kids up and let her sleep in. She was out and by the time she got up I had to shorten the list of victims. I was hoping to do both Mud Devil and Deep Devil both plays on the lakes they reside next to and the fact they are on the Devil's Slide Quad. On a previous trip I had done Black Devil so I knew the route. With my day being shortened I knew the 13+ miles of road walking would be all I could fit in if I was lucky. I parked at the last gate before the Wagoner Bridge and was off. There is plenty of active logging in the area so I kept the mutt on the leash for most of the day just to be safe. I made good time to the crossing of Deep Creek where I contemplated using my route that I used for Black Devil since it would be much shorter than using the road. I decided to keep on the road and shortly thereafter I reached the mainline. There were plenty of full logging trucks to be wary of. Shortly before Mud Lake I came to a rather large operation that was up and running. The smell of fresh cut trees filled the air as I made my way to my turn. Once reaching my spur I took a right and headed up. It felt good to finally making some elevation gain. Once I rounded to the East side of the ridge my goal came into view. I had nearly another 2 miles to go and was running low on time. I decided that I had enough. I had a hearty debate of which route to take home. I wanted to shorten the distance. It appeared I could traverse the clearcut underneath Black Devil but the South side looked brushy. In the end I decided to retrace my steps. The way out was long but I did give the legs a bit of a stretch. My shins didn't seem to like the walk on the hard road and are crying at me as I sit here. I think these bumps are better suited to a cross country ski when snow permits or a mountain bike when snow isn't present. I guess I could pony up the money and buy the gate keys and just drive to the top.

Approx 10 miles 3:20 car to car

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cle Elum Point 4040' Peoh Point 4000' 12.21.10

I was just looking for a short day to get out. Since I was solo I wasn't looking for something overly technical but I still wanted to get out. I thought I would give the South of Cle Elum a shot. I hadn't been in the area before so it took some extra time for me to find a suitable jump off point. I was able to find my road but there are so many no trespassing signs I couldn't find the trailhead that is shown on my map. I decided to park near the power lines and walk the lines until I could find an area that wasn't posted NO TRESPASSING. I was able to wear down a strip to park so that I wasn't blocking either the road or the right away for the powerlines. I suited up in view of my goal but the route was obscured by clouds. I figured I would walk the powerlines and see how it would go. Thankfully the topography and matched my map perfectly so I was fairly certain of my position. The right of way was packed so I kept the snowshoes on my back. I passed a couple of promising roads but I really didn't want to trespass and risk meeting up with some cranky landowners.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cle Elum Ridge 3760+ 12.15.10

What to do, what to do? I struggled mightily this week because of the wild weather and tough conditions.  I had planned on my usual Tuesday but Monday night had other plans for me. Just before turning in the roof was pelted with enough debris to warrant a look outside. I took one step outside and heard the wind whistling through the tops of the trees and immediately came back in with stern instructions for my wife to get the kids to the basement. In hindsight I probably overreacted but with the news coverage one could understand my misgivings. I love the fact that my yard is the home of some majestic trees but with the very wet weather combined with wind the trees lose some of their luster. I am thankful that the basement doubles for a guest bedroom with a comfortable bed that will fit nicely the wife and kids but not so much for me. I had great concern for my kids and the certain reality that they were scared by both being uprooted from their warm safe beds and the fireworks that was going on outside. My concern quickly dissipated when I went to explain the dilemma to the kids and my youngest had the biggest smile I have ever seen. It seems that adversity is her time to shine. Since my only option was the floor the floor is where I chose to lay my head, though the worst was far gone I felt compelled to sleep very uncomfortably next to my family to show my concern for them. Since the night was very restless and I resisted in making the short climb upstairs to get enough blankets to stay warm I wasn't motivated in heading out on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Swauk Ridge 4205' 12.7.10

   After a stressful week that included my car developing some expensive problems I was looking forward to getting out. The West side forecast didn't seem very good and since the snow conditions still are  very suspect  I opted to head East. I was also without a partner so I settled for something more benign and not overly taxing. I had one more peak on the Liberty Quad to do to close it out, so I thought it would be a good day to tackle the high point of Swauk Ridge. I would guess there are many ways to tackle this short one and I could only find one report that involved a very long ridge walk. I didn't have that kind of time and I wasn't sure about a direct route from Mineral Springs. I decided to head a little further along 97 and turned onto the Durst Creek Road. I had some trouble making it past the first portion where the snow was sloppy. I could have parked there but I am never too thrilled to suit up anywhere near where the dog could run into traffic. I pushed through the slop and found better going after crossing the bridge. I turned around a short time later and tried to park along the side of the road. I wasn't able to get far enough off the road to allow easy passage from any cars that may have come by in my absence.  I instead broke out the snow shovel and cleared a spot nearby and parked.

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