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Trip Report    

Day Hike - Umtanum Ridge

Good sun but poor trail conditions. Turned 600' below summit due to steep snow.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The Mountaineers website incorrectly says that a Discover Pass is required at the TH. Instead, an America The Beautiful pass (or equivalent) is required.

    On this early season hike the trail was still very wet. The first 50 yards (past the railroad tracks) were covered with flowing water about 2 - 5 inches deep. After that, most of the trail was covered with either ice, snow, or slippery mud up to an elevation of +600'. Most of the middle section of the trail was dry and easy, but there were still intermittent of patches of snow and slippery wet mud.  Starting at +1800' the trail is fully covered in snow.

Early season sunbreak trip with party of five, inspired by a NOAA forecast of full sun in the Umtanum area after many days of grey rain in the city.  The trip was dominated by two conditions:

  1. Full sun and moderate temperatures.  The sunbreak objective was achieved.
  2. Running water, ice, slippery mud, and snow on the trail.  After observing warm area weather during the preceding week, the Trip Leader (me) made the incorrect assessment that the trail would be free of snow. Instead, much of the lower third of the trail was covered slippery mud, ice, and snow, which slowed the pace of the group. Starting at about +1800' the trail become covered in solid snow all the way to the summit ridge. Because the Trip Leader had not expected snow the group had not brought traction devices, but the remaining 600' of steep slippery snow probably would have meant an end to the trip even with traction devices because this was a hike not a scramble or snowshoe. The Trip Leader declared a turnaround at +1800', at which point the group enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the sun before heading back to the TH.

Total round trip time: about 3 hours.