Top 15 Trip Reports of Mid-Winter 2019

Through the seasons, we sort through all the trip reports The Mountaineers have posted from their adventures. After that, we pick our favorites and celebrate them here! Here are the best from January and February 2019.
Trevor Dickie Trevor Dickie
Member Services Representative
March 01, 2019

In the wake of snowpocalypse 2019,  our cities have been left devastated, our homes  destroyed, and we're without power and utilities across the entire Pacific Northwest.

Oh wait, no we're not. We're still out scrambling, climbing, hiking, skiing,  and paddling our way around the waters, trails, and mountains of the area. From the volume of trips and reports I've seen come through the website, it's hard to imagine there were doomsday-reported storms forcasted in the area. 

In this post, we're sharing reports from seven scrambles, four snowshoes, and one report each from a kayak, hike, backcountry ski/snowboard, and climb. 

You can find recommendations for how to write a solid report here. The following write-ups are listed in the date that the trips occurred, not ranked in any way. Click on the photos to read the full reports from the volunteers and members.

scramble - Guye peak 12/23

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"The decision to turn around was an easy one to make – we trusted our leaders’ assessments of the danger and we were not willing to risk our lives 'for Guye Peak.'”

Though it can be disappointing to not make the summit, or accomplish a goal you set out to reach, it's important to know when to turn around. It's good to hear about safe, conservative decision-making in Alina's report, especially when avalanche danger is a factor. 

backcountry ski/snowboard - hex mountain 12/30

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"Once we ascended to the Hex Mountain trail, it became obvious how much vegetation and small trees were consumed by 2018's wildfires. On past ski tours of Hex, over the past five or so years, I'd never chosen to descend the south face adjacent to the hiking trail."

Exploring areas recently hit with fires can be quite an experience, and I imagine even more-so with snow all around. Brian's trip sounds like a good way to spend the day before the day before the first day of the new year. Perhaps he spent New Years Eve skiing as well?

scramble - norse peak 12/28

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 "With advice to bring “plenty of rain gear,” a hearty party of eight (plus an amazing mountain dog) decided to venture forth anyway. Fortune favors the bold, they say. Or perhaps it’s just that fools sometimes get lucky. The torrential rains that drenched everywhere else decided to stay away from Norse, and most of the scramble took place under partly cloudy skies with sun breaks!"

You had me at "amazing mountain dog." It sure is nice when the weather forecast keeps everyone away, and then it turns out the predictions were wrong! Katheryn's report comes from a great surprise of a day. 

scramble - kendall peak  1/1

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"Then for another few hundred feet, the snow alternated from powdery snow to exposed rain crust, then more powder and more exposed rain crust. Nearer the top, the rain layer was exposed, but was much thinner (like only an inch or less)."

Lots of detail in this report from Brian Starlin, with snow pack information, navigation and GPS info, and some general route details. A great example of why checking trip reports before heading out can be helpful. I'm also a big fan of the photos, the weather looked beautiful. 

snowshoe - mowich lake 1/3

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"This trail shortcuts the road and will cut a fair amount of distance off the route. The trade off is it does cut through the forest and goes up steeper terrain. The trail is very well marked by orange metal rectangles nailed to trees about fifteen feet off the ground. The start of the Grindstone Trail, notice the orange marker. Photo credit Sue Giblin."

Isn't it convenient when snowshoe routes are well marked? It can be tough following trails when they're hidden under a few feet of snow. No reason to complain about a bit of help out there I say! Jerrick Linde's report details a great outing in the snow. 

scramble - oakes peak 1/14

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"Labeled photo of 4 of us by Sue Shih. 5 hours up, 3 1/2 down - unfortunately had to do the bushwacking with headlamps since it gets dark so early, should have started 30 minutes earlier, given the difficult snow conditions higher up."

You don't always know what your pace is going to be. It's good to hear the group was prepared with their headlamps! More great photos in this report from Tom Girard

snowshoe - roaring ridge 1/24

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"After leaving the road we worked our way up steep at times to about 4200' and the "West Bowl". We snowshoed up the bowl to the northern ridge which then followed to the summit."

A clear, concise report by Charles Powrie from a straightforward trip. A link to a GPS track was added, which will be useful for other interested groups. 

scramble - lake serene & philadelphia mountain 1/26

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"Andy, Randy, Laura and I arrived at the trailhead around 7:45am. No one else there nor did we see anyone for the entire trip. Quite extraordinary for Lake Serene."

Susan Shih is a veteran of the blog posts, and here she is again with a wonderful report from another scramble. I think this is a good time to mention that Susan was awarded Leader of the Year for 2018!

snowshoe - marten creek 1/29

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"Mount Dickerman, Lake 22, and Vesper Peak are all nearby and offer more scenic views. Although this trail has only one modest view, it is charming and quiet, with the creek occasionally visible and audible."

Though perhaps less snowy than one would expect, I like the sound of the trail in Gabrielle Orsi's report. It seemed like a relaxing day out with nice weather. 

snowshoe olallie lake 2/3

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"The weather was much better than expected, so after lunch we (finally!) put on our snowshoes and set off to explore the ridge to the north of the lake (often posted as Pratt Vista snowshoe trip). The views were great: looking north we could see Kaleetan, Chair, Bryant, Hemlock and the Tooth."

A great report for an overnight trip filled with pleasant weather, and varied travel conditions. Seems like a great way to spend a couple days to me. 

scramble - lanham lake & sam hill peak 2/4

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 "At the lake's edge there is an open space with firm trodden snow where many people have paused to enjoy the view. Tracks leading around the west side of the lake appear to be on solid ground. However, as you near the southern tip of the lake where Lanham Creek feeds the lake, you are very likely on at least one snow bridge and/or snow-covered log. Proceed with care."

A classic trip in the snow, with great photos. Another solid report on this blog by Gabrielle Orsi. Also a good bit of beta for future visiting parties! 

CLIMB - OURAY ICE PARK 2/7-9

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"Official Mounties groups need to stay in groups of no more than 4 and be 10 routes apart. We tried having two groups in School Room but practically speaking it's easier just to go to different crags. It might be possible to keep proper spacing of two groups in South Park."

A nice report from Colorado. Nate's report contains a lot of information that will be helpful for future groups planning climbing trips to the Ouray Ice Park. 

KAYAK - FOX ISLAND CIRCUMNAVIGATION 2/16

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"A nice paddle on what turned out to be a really welcome mild winter day.   The group performed well with excellent group dynamics."

Lisa Johnson's report depicts a surprisingly mild weather day, for the middle of winter it sounds like a great time to get out and paddle. 

scramble - point 4795 2/17

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"The recent deep snows and our party size of 4  made this original trip an excessive undertaking, so we opted for a shorter out and back to Point 4795 of ~11 miles and ~3000’ of gain."

Dave Morgan's report details a decision-making process that is safe and considerate. I definitely recommend following the photo link in the post. 

hike - margaret's way to central and west peaks 2/18

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 "We had a fun snow adventure and got a workout. All hikers brought traction devices as requested - these were needed. The trail was beautiful in the snow. The conditions made for tough going so we shortened the route and turned around at the Bullitt Fireplace."

Another report from a trip that was shortened/altered because of the snow, but it sounds like the group was well prepared and able to enjoy the rougher conditions. 

Our last Top-10 blog post is also online for you to check out. If you have a trip report you've really enjoyed, or wrote one yourself that you are quite proud of, send them our way at info@mountaineers.org. We may be featuring the best of the best in an upcoming edition of Mountaineer magazine


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