Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Middle Muffin 4015' Big Muffin 4600+ Little Muffin 4280'

Headed up the Meadow Creek Valley near Snoqualmie for an enjoyable day out. I managed to get out of the house at a decent hour and was greeted at Snoqualmie Pass with freezing rain. I had hoped that the road was open past the Crystal Springs Sno Park but I found the road bermed with snow. I drove through the Sno Park parking lot and found the connecting road driveable. The main line was heavily packed and made for easy driving. I was excited because I had done this same approach 2 weeks ago but on that trip I was forced to walk the 6 miles to my jump off point. I was able easily drive the entire way to the spur road that I needed. I parked off the side making sure I was going to be able to get out for the drive home.

Thankfully the rain had ended as I suited up. I walked the packed road for a while before I reached a junction heading my way. I saw some boot prints in the snow which surprised me..... well until I realized they were my prints from 2 weeks ago. It gave me a good chuckle anyway. Once I reached a junction where I had headed right on my last trip, I instead headed straight into the trees. The snow was pretty icy and firm. Initially I felt good without traction aid. As I climbed higher I switched to crampons. The last 100 feet before the ridge was steep and icy and debated getting out my ice axe. I instead made doubly sure of each step by kicking at least 3 times to break through the healthy crust. Once reaching the ridges I made a short ways to top out on 4015', while it only has around 150' of prominence I thought Middle Muffin would be a good name. I descended the ridge to intersect the road below me. This line was much more direct than taking the mainline road that heads to the summit of Big Muffin. I followed the road until it's end where a snowmobile had continued heading towards the summit. I stayed in the track and soon found myself on another road which I crossed and headed off trail for a short ways to reach Big Muffin 4600+. Views were non existent so I didn't linger long.

On the descent I stayed on the road the entire way avoiding the steeper off trail of my ascent. When I reached the spot the main intersection I was happy to see that it was still early. I decided to continue on another packed road heading to Little Muffin. In short order I was able to climb on the road until I was just below the summit and I wandered on some low angle terrain until I stumbled across the summit of Little Muffin 4280'. Again I didn't waste much time on the summit and quickly headed back to the car.

In the short time I was gone the weather warmed considerably making it difficult to get the Audi back onto the mainline.  I soon realized that I wasn't going to get the car out without breaking out the snow shovel. Thankfully I have packed the car to handle just about anything. After a few tries I thankfully was able to back the car back onto firmer snow and regain the route home.  The drive out was uneventful until I reached the freeway and my car was shaking like mad. I had feared I had bent my wheel while I was stuck so I pulled over to check out the problem. Thankfully the problem was just an immense amount of snow packed into my wheels on the passenger side making them roll completely odd. I did my best to get out the snow and gave it another go. Still shaking I pulled over again and found a stick to get the snow out I couldn't quite reach. Thankfully it was just the ticket to get the car back to normal. Another nice day to get out.

Approx 7.7 miles 2400' of climb 4 hours car to car

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