Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ski Acres Hill 4200' 2.11.14

Since the pup has had an injured leg for some time and everything I have tried to get him to stop licking it has failed, it was time for drastic measures. Thankfully after a short period of the dog freaking out he has settled into his new collar.  I decide also to give him a couple of weeks off of hiking to make sure it heals properly.
As it turns out I doubt he would have been able to do very well in the very deep snow.

I had read a report from John Morrow of  a ski tour he did last week and it piqued my interest. A hearty thanks for John for giving me lots of additional beta for my attempt. I was pleasantly surprised when I awoke to find it not only not raining but rather warm with some hazy sunshine. It was well above freezing at Snoqualmie Pass. I am not too familiar with the area but with John's help I was able to find a suitable jump off point. I parked at the new lodge next to the Silver Fir lift. The were only a few cars when I arrived. I suited up and soon connected with a old snowshoe trench right off the bat. It was covered with a good 18 inches of snow but I was able to follow it to connect with the crossover road where I went left thankfully crossing Hyak Creek on  a bridge. I thought I had seen some posts of groups having to cross the creek without one. If I remember it correctly it didn't look too enjoyable. I followed the crossover road a short ways past the creek crossing. The pup is currently recouping from an injured leg so I thankfully didn't have to worry about him running amok. I was careful to stay in the outside edge of the road to minimize the damage to anyone wanting to ski the road. Once leaving the road I quickly found another trench heading my way. It stayed quite near the creek and made for easier walking. I don't think I would have nearly as much enjoyment on this day if I hadn't been fortunate in my route finding.  Once I reached the power line corridor I was faced with continuing on with the trail or heading up the corridor on another trench. I could see what looked like some easier going higher up the power lines. It almost appeared like an avalanche had come down but because the there wasn't much slope I surmised it was  caused by something else. Once reaching this area the pace quickened. It appear the area was packed by a snow cat and was provided some quite solid footing.

The plowed area started heading away from where I wanted to go so I made my way up in the deep unbroken snow. The going was quite slow but I was determined. I broke out on one of the groomed runs which was a little steeper. I again walked to the far outside of the road but I am not sure it mattered since I could barely see my tracks anyway. I followed this for a ways until it again started heading away from where I wanted to go. I followed what looked like another road but this was unbroken. It seemed like there may have been some sort of trench since I was able to find easier going in the middle of the road.  I decided that the pitch wasn't enough to get me where I wanted to go so I left the road. I went through some very deep snow that forced me to meander through some new growth trees with plenty of tree wells to slow my pace even more. I decided to turn around and regain the road since I was making much quicker progress. To make matters even more difficult the decking on my snowshoes broke on both making it feel like I was walking with shoes where the sole had separated from the shoe. I could have used more float and this certainly didn't help. I decided that I was going to have to pare down my aspirations. I had hoped to continue on the Ollalie Hill. I found some older growth trees with better snow conditions putting me right under Ski Acres Hill. Once the pitch increased again my pace slowed. I decided to give my self a better chance so I dropped pack here and wallowed up the steep portions. Thankfully the steeper portions were short and I was able to reach the summit. There wasn't much to see so as usual I didn't linger long. I gave some thought to mixing up the descent but since my gear was stowed in the wrong direction I decided to just retrace my steps. Overall the short trip was made more difficult with the snow conditions but I felt like I patched a route together which wasn't the most direct but substantially easier.

Approx 4 miles 1400' of climb 3:30 car to car

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