Top 5 Trip Reports - December 2021

Every month, we sort through all your trip reports. Then, we pick our favorites and celebrate them here! Read on for the best from December 2021.
Issy Steckel Issy Steckel
Communications Associate
December 31, 2021

Winter is officially here. We've got snow in the mountains and trip reports are full of stoke for fresh powder, headlamp hiking, and those rare sunny days that give us the summit views of our dreams. 

Grab a thermos of your favorite warm beverage and explore how these Mountaineers members and volunteers  are getting outside during the winter. This December, we're highlighting 3 winter scrambles, a local day hike, and a topsy-turvy kayak excursion off Anacortes.

Winter Scramble - Granite Mountain – 12/5

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“The views were spectacular from the lookout tower.  Mt. Rainier, Glacier Peak, Mt. Baker and all of the nearby peaks were clearly visible. There were a few passing clouds, but it was mostly sunny during our time up top.  We took our obligatory summit shots, had lunch, and headed down just after 1.  We made it back to the cars at 3:45.”

This report comes from one of the last opportunities to safely climb Granite Mountain as the avalanche danger is likely to increase with new snow in the forecast. Paul Kallmann takes us along for the day and even shares a summit selfie of this happy group of twelve scramblers. 

Winter Scramble - Mildred Point via Comet Falls – 12/6

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“A great day in the mountains with stunning waterfall views. This rare loop trip (normally ruled out by winter hazards along the Comet Falls trail) was made reasonable by the unusually low snow depths. Our ascent route was Wonderland Trail to Cougar Rock, cross country to Comet Falls trailhead, then snow covered trail to Mildred Point (descent by the usual Rampart Ridge route).”

Adventure is better with friends! Not only did this group reach their high point for the day, they also added a short detour for some future trip beta. Read the full report here.  

Sea Kayak - Burrows & Allan Islands – 12/11

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“Because the experience level was high, I was not concerned that the forecast called for 30kt winds.  That was within the conditions I specified for the trip and I knew the waters well enough to start in protected waters and then venture out into rougher conditions.”

This trip report is a must read (and there's video footage you won't want to miss!). Tom Unger does a wonderful job spelling out how the weather conditions impacted his decision-making as a leader. You might notice that this Mountaineers trip took place on the same day as the Deception Pass Dash Race, which made headlines after many experienced paddlers ended up in the water and required rescue from the Coast Guard. Read Tom's reflection on the matter: 

“Do we have similar situations on mountaineer trips?  Certainly we do.  Leaders make go- no-go decisions with imperfect knowledge of participant’s capabilities.  I rely on participants telling me when they are nearing their limit and I try to make it safe for people to do so.  This requires me to be willing to turn around.  But I’m often on the trip because there is a goal I wish to achieve, so I already start with conflicting motivation.  I do my best but have messed up at times.  Nothing such that I had to get rescued but if that day comes, I hope the analysis will be kind.” -Tom Unger

Day Hike - Millersylvania State Park – 12/14

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“The park is only 12 miles south of Olympia and has an extensive network of trails that offer a variety of mileage options. Not much uphill, but we did pile up a whopping 533' gain and over 8 miles by exploring different sections!”

Hey Olympia Mountaineers! Are you looking for a new trail in your backyard? Read Nancy's report to find out why these hikers can't stop smiling. 

Winter Scramble - Dixie Peak – 12/20

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To achieve a workout comparable to our original venue (5050 Pass) we intentionally added extra distance/elevation gain using the unique set of interconnected trails in the Mount Si area.  With this extra trail work we ultimately ended up back at the cars after ~2 hours of headlamp trail hiking, for a just under 12-hour day of ~15 miles and ~6000’ gain. A great beautiful weather day in the NW mountains (as usual ;)." 

These scramblers had lots of "trail breaking quality time" as they followed the ridge to Dixie Peak. Dave's report is detailed and explains the group's process for the day. 

LEAD IMAGE BY DAVE MORGAN. 


We love reading your trip reports! You can find recommendations for how to write a solid report here


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