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|Weather||Windy, Cloudy with some snow|
|Mailed to WacList|| |
Five of us left Seattle at 7am and headed for the pass. We parked in the Snoqualmie Ski parking lot. We began hiking by about 8:30am. We headed up toward Commonwealth Basin initially thinking of doing the dog route up Guye Peak, but after some evaluation of the snow conditions we determined that the avalanche danger was less than previously thought. So, we decided to hike up Red Mountain. We were the first group in the basin on Sunday and trail breaking was making for slow going. After two creek crossings we were on the ridge heading toward the summit of Red Mountain. |
Throughout the approach, some strong gusts of wind would sporadically rip through the trees filling the air with snow and ice crystals. Likewise, the wind on the upper portion of Red Mountain seemed significant. While I have seen blowing snow from mountains before, I have rarely seen images of mountains in the cascades which remind me of scenes from Everest. Blowing snow trailing several hundred feet from the ridge. I was glad to have packed my ski goggles. We continued up the ridge and out of the trees. We donned more clothes and goggles. As we headed up further we found the snow to be very compact and a bit icy. One guy in our group had boots which were not good for kicking into snow, much less ice, so he turned back. Another had less experience and was helped down by the third. My climbing partner and I continued up to the summit. The winds were very gusty and at times I found myself hunkered down in ice axe arrest position to protect my self from the stinging snow on my face. Keeping to the ridge we scrambled over a couple of areas of exposed rock and then to the summit.
The decent was easier than I had thought it would be while going up. At one point snow was blowing through the side vents on my goggles (Bolle) which are there to prevent fogging. Unfortunately, this cluttered the inside of my goggles with snow which I was able to clear in between wind gusts. Once off the ridge we put the snow shoes back on and hiked out. I found out the following day that winds were recorded at local ski areas up to 73 mph. I'm assuming we had similar gusts on Red Mountain. All in all a fun day in the mountains.