Friday, December 14, 2012

Tucker Creek Area 4114'



   It has  been some time since I have been outside of the Issaquah area to do some climbing. I have spent this fall exploring areas close to my home. I have shifted to doing more miles each week just to lean myself out a bit and see as much of this unexplored area as I can. I have enjoyed my forays in the local Issaquah Alps but getting out in the snow was calling out to me. I have read a few reports of recent climbs in the snow but I know how variable conditions can be locally so I thought something low key was in order. I had been up Tucker Creek last Winter and I remember thinking a return trip would be in order. I didn't have a whole day so I thought I would just go as far as I could in my allotted time.  I parked near the Iron Horse trail despite the gate being open. I didn't want to chance getting caught on the wrong side of a closed gate.  The weather had cleared considerably and I cursed the fact that I had forgot to pack my sunglasses. In the end they weren't needed. I followed the road heading up Tucker Creek that was broken by snowmobile traffic. Not needing snowshoes the pace was quick.. I crossed a couple of creeks by booting it through the water instead of tempting some suspect looking bridges. Soon I reached a junction with a more travelled road and I headed up. I switched to snowshoes and the pace slowed. Despite working very hard on my fitness this didn't transfer to ploughing through heavy snow with snowshoes on. I was quite surprised that I couldn't manage 2 MPH on the low grade road.  I had hoped to summit Goat Mt. but it was clear that my pace wouldn't allow for that. Just before reaching a saddle I decided to bag 4114' instead. I followed a snowmobile track steeply up the ridgeline where I departed to make my own way. The snow was deep and not very well consolidated. This slowed the pace to a crawl. Finally I made the summit that was completely treed with no views. I had a short lunch sheltered from the stiff wind. I retraced my steps to the snowmobile track and continued down ridge to intersect the road further down the ridge. I enjoyed the nice walk back to the car, very thankful for another opportunity to get out.

Approx 8.5 miles 2100' of climb 4:15 car to car
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