Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Roaring Ridge 4988' 12.10.13


As is very common in my life, very strange things seem to happen to me. I was trying to decide where to go and while doing some research on Roaring Ridge I received a PM from Bruce asking me if I thought it would be possible to drive this time of year to Lost Lake which is the jump off point for my intended route for Roaring Ridge. I texted him back with the news that was my intended target area for the morning and thankfully he signed on. I picked him up in Issaquah after braving the 1/8 inch of snow at my house. We made very good time to Crystal Springs and the road to Lost Lake was in great shape. We parked at the intersection right where we first arrived at the lake.

After parking we suited up. While we were getting ready we were serenaded with what sounded like some coyotes. We headed up the packed road and decided to continue right at the next intersection. At the next intersection which didn't show up on my map we headed up the packed road to the left. In short order the road ended. Instead of back tracking back to the proper road we decided to just start climbing. initially the brush was a bit tiresome but I was able to wind my way through the worst of it. There was a few inches of powder over a very slippery crust. For a few areas I wished that I had packed my crampons which I left in the car. We were able to make good time up the moderate slope. We reached an area with a frictionless crust under the powdery snow so we switched to snowshoes to gain better purchase. Finally we reached the ridge and we were rewarded with some fine views of Lake Keechelus below us and some warm sun to boot. In fact the whole day was quite pleasant with the exception to the summit which had a very chilly wind which was thankfully blocked for the entire day by the slope we were climbing.

We bumped our way along the ridge before finally reaching the summit. There was some of the former lookout supports still visible. After some quick snacks we retraced our steps until we reached a logging road and instead of continuing on our ascent route we decided to take the road back. The balance of the trip was a nice easy descent back to the car. It was nice to reconnect with Bruce and have another day out in the hills.

Approx 5 miles 2000' of climb 4 hours car to car

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Phillipa Creek Wanderings with a side of Loch Katrine 12.3.13

I headed up the North Fork of the Snoqualmie today hoping to stretch my legs. I was hoping to head up some logging roads just past the Wagoner Bridge. The road I wanted was washed out recently and I wasn't in the mood to continue. I had some trouble passing some of the active logging in the area. Thankfully making it past the logging trucks without getting stuck in the mud. I decided to head up the gated road that leads to Phillipa Creek. I continued on this road until it degraded into a rough trail. I was able to follow the trail for quite a ways under the snow. I lost the trail in another washout. I had been up the fisherman's trail 25 years ago and I remember it being rather hard to follow. I wasn't interested in continuing with the sparse snow. I believe it would be easier with no snow or ample snow.

I backtracked to a junction where I headed towards Loch Katrine. . The going was a nice steady grade without any brush. The snow deepened as I climbed. I didn't need snowshoes but had I climbed much further I believe they would have been helpful. I was able to find the short trail to the lake without issue. The lake was partially frozen and the wind had a bite to it. I hastily ate my lunch before the pleasant walk back to the car.

Aprox 9 miles 2200' of climb 3:30 car to car

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