Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Snooze Peak (Snoqualmie Pass) 11/26/13

I was  Looking for something I haven't done that didn't involve a long drive and something on the shorter side. After some time looking over maps I honed in on Snooze Peak which is an unnamed high point to the NE of Keechelus Ridge. I wasn't sure how far I would be able to drive the Kachess Lake Road. If I had to park at the traditional snow park area I was good with walking the 3.5 miles to my jump off point. Thankfully I was able to drive all the way to the logging spur I needed. I found a nice area to park and suited up.

The initial portion of the road was a skating rink and it took some care to stay upright. The road degraded into a tangle of small trees so I headed down to the creek looking for a good crossing area of the 3 braids of Gale Creek. Complicating the situation was the brush and the thick coating of ice over anything near the water. A couple of good leaps put me on the proper side of the creek where I climbed steeply back to the road. I followed the road for a short ways until I reached a junction. I headed right for a short ways before I grew weary of the many trees guarding the road. I dived into the forest where I found mostly open travel with snow that had a healthy crust keeping me afloat most of the time. I wasn't quite sure I was on the proper track so I decided to just wing it making sure to pick the options with the most climb and easier going. Soon I recrossed the road and instead of following I kept heading up  keeping to my left. Soon the grade steepened considerably making for slow going. I contemplated adding crampons but the snow was receptive enough to stay in boots alone.  I had read Eastking's report so I was looking for the flat area that he referenced. I surmised I was just East of that area so I continued on a nice gulley going my way. A few hundred feet below the summit I dropped pack and got out my ice axe in case I had some steeper areas yet to climb. Instead I found mostly open and pleasing grade. I was able to see a couple of points, not knowing which was the right one I guessed and headed to the Western one.  Cresting the point I realized I had a few more feet of climb to reach the true summit. The summit has some peak a boo views of High Box and 3 Queens. I followed the ridge dropping to the North finding a better vantage point.

After snapping a few pictures I retraced my way back to the summit. I took some care getting back to my pack. Once reaching my pack I decided to put on crampons for the descent. I think it may have been overkill but it did give me much more confidence for the descent. I was able to follow my prints back to the creek crossing. I was a bit tense with crossing the slippery creek but my fears where completely unfounded. Thankfully I was able to negotiate the skating rink just before the car. A very nice day to be out.

approx. 4 miles 1400' of climb 3:30 Car to Car

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