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.

   Since I had some benign plans for Tuesday because of the weather and the weather seemed to be improving I felt like my options were greater. I was hoping for an area that I hadn't been before and something that was mostly a road walk. I decided to try something on the South side of I-90 near Crystal Springs. The weather was better than expected when I picked up ONELUV1 in Issaquah and we had no issues making over the pass. Once reaching Crystal Springs my best intentions became unraveled. It seemed that nothing matched my map and I would have a tough time getting started on the right road. My hope was to climb Dandy Mountain which is an unnamed peak just past Stampede Pass. I was dismayed to find that the only parking spot was a Sno-Park which I don't have a current pass for. To add insult to injury the first trail I saw was skier only. Not wanting to stir the pot I attempted to drive to the South end of the parking lot to see what lie in wait there. Halfway across the parking lot the snow became much deeper and I promptly got stuck. This time I was sure with a little digging I would soon be free. In reality it took a lot of digging before I was able to regain solid traction. Again can I say how much I am thankful for the day I spent the $15 for my sturdy snow shovel.  Feeling my welcome was worn out I headed for greener pastures.

   Originally I had planned an easy day just North of Rosyln so that is where we headed. Again my map...... oh wait I had no map for this one. I navigated by memory, which at this age isn't always the most reliable. I was able to pick a suitable road to leave from and it dead ended at a gate....isn't that what I remember from the one report I was able to find for Cle Elum Ridge? We parked and suited up. I decided to go light just taking my daypack with some extra clothes and leaving the snowshoes behind which I surely wouldn't need. Their was a single boot track heading up the otherwise untracked road. The snow was very interesting a 1/2 inch crust that was nearly enough to support my weightt but once breaking through was knee deep. I followed the footprints making note that they went up and were a couple days old but didn't return? I followed the prints cursing the fact that they were 4 sizes too small for my feet. Once they started descending I decided to make my own way. Thankfully I was able to find some broken road from the snowmobile/4 wheeler traffic greatly increasing our speed. After a few backtracks we then left the road for a more direct line and they rejoined it when I realized that it was much faster than making our own way. The road started a traverse and our goal was a mere 250' above us. This was some of the slowest going I have ever encountered. We thankfully made the highpoint just as the sunny weather abruptly changed to snow showers obscuring any views. We quickly took some pictures and made our way down. The descent was very rough since the 1/2 inch layer wanted to fillet my shins after every step. I was able to regain the packed road thankfully before the blood letting started. Once back on packed road the descent went quickly and I was able to make it back home early to prepare for my date night with my wife. We celebrated our 14th anniversary of our first date and also our 10th anniversary of moving into our house. Wow, how can that be?

Approx 5 miles 1300' of climb 3 hours car to car

Pictures can be found here:

1 comment:

  1. I ended up with 2 nasty looking bruises on the inside of each calf that are 1" x 3". Great to get out w/ you and get some much needed fresh air!


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