Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Proctor Creek Wanderings 2.27.12



   Not having much time this week I wanted something short and close to home. I haven't spent any time in the Proctor Creek drainage so I thought some exploring was in order. Looking at my maps it looked like I could use logging roads to access Haystack Mountain leaving just outside of Gold Bar. After spending too much time looking for my road only to find that it doesn't seem to exist I was forced to use some resources on the go. Thankfully I was able to find a good trip report on my phone and I headed up Forest Road 62. I was off my map and I stopped too soon and made my way a mile or so down a logging road only to have it abruptly end. I quickly retraced my steps and drove further up #62 until I crossed Proctor Creek on a large concrete bridge. I parked at the gated spur road on the right side just after the bridge. The road was plowed making for easy walking. After a mile and a half the road was no longer plowed and I resisted putting on snowshoes. I walked another half mile before my time ran out. I quickly made it back to the car and made my way home.

Approx 6 miles

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A washout of a day 2.21.12

With the rapidly deteriorating conditions in the mountains I still wanted to get out. It was very apparent that climbing was out of the question with the extreme avalanche conditions. I certainly didn't want to tempt fate especially since there were two separate fatality incidents in the past few days. I thought a low elevation road walk would be a fit for this day. I did have to contend with the warm monsoon like rains but I can deal with that. I was not overly surprised that I-90 was closed due to the hazardous conditions. I waited nearly an hour for the road to open. I attended to some pressing issues that thankfully I could take care of using my phone.

  Back underway the weather was as advertised warm wet and windy, not the three W's that I was looking for. I was happy to see the rain turn to sleet at the pass. I surmise the weather was a bit cooler than expected keeping the snow level from raising as high as I had feared. Since the rain was not showing any sign of slowing I did some exploring in the Easton area. While not a thing other than burning a half tank of gas was accomplished , it was good to get some perspective on the other aspects of my life. Hopefully things will settle soon . I did see many slides on both sides of I-90 many of which were substantial.

Good day to stay in the car.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tucker Creek Wanderings 2.18.12



   I haven't had many days off of late so I have resorted to trying to squeeze in a hike before work. These pared down days do not involve any epic climbs but they do give me an opportunity to get some vertical in.  Last week I climbed Monahan Mt near Easton and in doing my research I found a few hills I haven't climbed.  I always follow the weather closely and I was surprised to read that the weather moving in might provide one of the larger snow producers in the mountains. I had some fear that I might be trapped on the wrong side of Snoqualmie interfering with my work schedule. The weather going over the pass wasn't too bad but did take some extra time, which was time I couldn't afford to lose. I had some issues finding my jump off point eating even more time. Finally I found the correct spot just off the Iron Horse Road on a short spur road that dead ends after a short ways.

   After I suited up I made my way around the berm and onto a 4-wheel road that was my intent to follow on this day. I knew I hadn't enough time to summit the small point to the SE. I felt I would be able to make the ridgeline but the traverse to the true summit I would not have time for. I could see some old bootprints vaguely in the deep new snow. I switched to snowshoes and soon I was faced with a dilemma. There is a footbridge across Tucker Creek but it had 18'' of snow on top of it and plenty of holes where there was broken tread. It looked overly sketchy so I decided to cross the creek instead.


  After crossing the creek I saw some slopes heading for my original goal and I couldn't help myself to leave the road. My legs were anxious for some climbing. The trees were well spaced and the snow was firmer in the trees making for some enjoyable climbing. I made my way to a small point that I should have gone around wasting more time descending it only to re climb the elevation.




  With the strengthening snow I really grew concerned with my ability to make it home in time for work. I decided that I better give myself some extra cushion. I quickly made my way back to the car. I wasn't too surprised to see the warning sign that the I-90 would be closed for avalanche control. I have been over the pass hundreds of times and I have never had to be held up because of snow or road work. Of all days! Sure enough I was stuck for some time waiting.



  Even after getting restarted the way home was met with many stops and more waiting along the way. In the end I didn't make in to work and was forced to spend a wonderful night with my family.... too bad for me :)


Approx too few miles , not enough of climb and not nearly enough time spent out.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monahan Mountain 3755' P1355'



     Training in two new jobs in addition to working a third has been taking up alot of my time. I wanted to get out even though I needed to get back to go to work. I wasn't looking for anything overly challenging and I had Monahan Mountain on my list since I saw it from Stampede Pass a few weeks back. Despite it's modest elevation it does have some substantial prominence. I had some reports of a road that lead nearly to the summit so I headed to Easton to try to find it. I found a couple of roads that I thought might work and one had some footprints so I decided it would do. In retrospect I think there might be better access somewhere else but it worked. I parked about a mile West of Easton on Cabin Creek Road.

  The rain that was present on the drive over evaporated into some broken sun and some warm weather. I followed the boot prints on the road until it started angling away from my destination. I left the road for the the trees. The trees were smaller and rather densely packed making for less than straight line travel. I came out on another road which I again followed for a short ways. I again left when the road started to descend I climbed to a small point where I could see some power lines. I headed to the access road for the power lines and soon was able to join the road which I again followed for a short ways. A spur road headed up more steeply and since it was packed from snowmobile traffic I followed. This road was in good shape and I made quick work to the the West Ridge of Monahan Mountain. I left the road and followed the ridge to the summit area. The snow was great and there was mostly open forest. There were a few areas that were rather steep but they were short lived. Soon I reached a point but the summit was still further East so I kept plugging aways as the sun broke through making for a nice way to finish.



I didn't have much time to linger since I had to get back home and get ready for work. I made good time back to the car. I was thankful to fit in another day out with my crazy schedule and to add a sunkissed summit to my list.

Approx 5 miles 1600' of climb 3 hours car to car

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The aftermath of the ICE Storm




   I am surprised beyond belief of the staggering amount of time I have spent cleaning up after last month's Ice Storm. While the day itself was peaceful and beautiful until things started falling from the sky. Thankfully not much damage was done. While I have spent nearly 20 hours to this point on the clean up, I do see some light at the end of the tunnel. I still have rougly 15% left to clean up and then the monumental task of burning what is left . I usually measure my piles in the amount of beer I will consume in the effort of burning it. Most years I only have 6 pack piles and rarely do I have to invest in a 12 pack. This year I will start with a case and see how it goes. I feel very fortunate that we escaped any real damage, enjoy the photos. It is also of note that my lot is only 50' wide and the damage was confined to only the back yard. Nearly all of the limbs came from just 2 of the trees in my yard. I don't really feel like the pictures truly convey the size of the pile

E

Saturday, February 4, 2012

McDonald Mountain 3570' 2190'P






     With the rarest of rare,  having a Saturday off and having sunny warm weather in February I thought it best to get out and stretch the legs. I had to be somewhere in the evening and I worked until 3am so getting up early wouldn't be in the cards. I had been up high on the McDonald Ridge once before and had to turn back because I had forgotten my headlamp. On that trip I did 3 miles in the dark making for some eerie walking. On that trip I had used the Southern access road so of course for this trip I wanted to use the Northern route. I found a nice spot to park next to the giant blue gate, there was one car already parked bolsterling my confidence that I was indeed in the correct spot. I travelled light with no pack and in my lighter boots hoping to keep a brisk pace. The initial portion of the old road is more like a trail with areas that are washed out and some fresh fallen timber from the recent ice storm. Although I was quite surprised that there wasn't far more damage. After about a mile the road is much better and I picked up the pace. The road reaches an open clear cut that wasn't sheltered from the stout East winds. Just before I reached the clearcut I was wary of keeping vigil for falling branches or trees. Thankfully I wasn't treated to either. Once reaching the clearcut my attention turned from watching for trees falling to trying to keep myself from being blown over by the wind. I gave some thought to turning around since I wasn't dressed for the conditions. I could see a half mile away the road rejoined the forest giving me a reprieve from the wind. Once I was sheltered from the wind the weather was warm and very pleasant. I was lost in my thoughts when I came to a junction and to my surprise I was already at the spur that takes you to the radio towers. Even though I had already been there I went again thinking that would be as far I had time to go. Much to my surprise it only had taken me 90 minutes to go  the                                                                                                          5miles.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Since I still had some time I pressed on. I stayed on the road as it descended some elevation before reclaiming it. I reached the end of the road and I had remembered that the thick growth of small fir trees is short lived so I bulled through the thick growth to access the more mature trees on the other side. On my previous trip I had stayed more directly on the ridge line and found annoying travel in the clearcut. This time I stayed climber's right and found much easier travel. Once regaining another road the pace again quickened. I followed this for some time before reaching another dead end and headed climber's left to reach another road which I again followed for some time. I reached a small saddle between two higher points and headed for the Southern one first. I left the road and headed steeply up. The snow was very icy and not having my Winter boots made for some tense travel. I easily reached the summit and then headed North and found easier travel and less ice on the Western side of the ridge. Instead of retracing my route I headed to the Northern point just for fun. I then headed back to my ascent route and put in my biggest gear for the long haul out. I was pleased to cover the 12+ miles roundtrip in around 4 hours. despite the route never being steep I still racked up over 3500' of gain as well. It was quite a site to see the multitude of fires burning in the valley below. I am quite sure I could see more than 200 fires going burning the remnants of the ice storm. I could also see that the South sound was socked in with an inversion trapping all the pollutants near the surface. The strong Eastern winds were blowing all that smoke directly towards an area that clearly didn't need any more pollutants. I would expect that many with breathing issues are feeling the effects of this.
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