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oneeyedfatman
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Joined: 14 Dec 2015
Posts: 25 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle, WA
oneeyedfatman
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PostTue Jan 12, 2016 2:22 pm 
I'm posting this mostly to give people an update on conditions up the Middle Fork Snoqualmie.

Past Mailbox trailhead the Middle Fork Road was covered in increasing amounts of hard-packed snow and ice.  I drove about 2 mi. beyond the Middle Fork bridge and parked at the trailhead for the road that connects to the CCC Road/Trail.  There wasn't any risk of high centering, but it was plenty slick, especially in the stretch before the bridge.  There were a couple of places that felt sketchy because construction has reduced the road to one narrow lane above a steep bank.  There were also several weird spots where water has melted out chunks of the snowpack on the road and left wide, steep-sided pothole-puddles that were impossible to gauge the depth of.  I scraped the underside of my Outback getting through two of them.  Bottom line, you should think twice about driving this road right now if all you have is a front wheel drive sedan and street tires.

I hiked and snowshoed up the South Bessemer Road to the switchback at 2900 ft., where I decided to call it a day.  The snowpack varied from a few inches in depth to a couple of feet, and was mostly granular with interspersed crusty layers - not the greatest for travel.  The weather, surprisingly, was brilliant, all blue skies and sunshine.  It was much warmer up the sides of the valley than down by the road, and I had a nice nap at my turnaround point.
At the trailhead.  I was going to bring my bike for the connector road.  That would have been silly.
At the trailhead.  I was going to bring my bike for the connector road.  That would have been silly.
Winter natives
Winter natives
A lot of this.  A little tedious.
A lot of this.  A little tedious.
Lynx track
Lynx track
Looking up the slopes of South Bessemer from turnaround point
Looking up the slopes of South Bessemer from turnaround point
View across the valley of knobs SW of Russian Butte
2 labels
View across the valley of knobs SW of Russian Butte
Russian Butte, full winter glory
Russian Butte, full winter glory

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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6938 | TRs | Pics
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostWed Jan 13, 2016 3:02 am 
Thanks for that update. It looks like the snow is packed down pretty hard on the road so maybe a few warm days might melt it out. Were you making tracks up the road (i.e. the first one up)?

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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oneeyedfatman
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Joined: 14 Dec 2015
Posts: 25 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle, WA
oneeyedfatman
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PostWed Jan 13, 2016 12:31 pm 
There was an old snowshoe track, mostly melted away, up to 2400 ft.  It was still compacted more than the surrounding snow and some help to travel.

Thanks for the photo labels.  I like the "Little Comrade" name - I can't remember hearing that one before.  I think the point you have labeled as "Revolution" is probably Pt. 4932 on the ridge N of Revolution.

This week's rain and higher freezing levels might be enough to melt out the Middle Fork Road, but I wouldn't count on it.  Valley bottoms sometimes hold cold air for days or weeks at a time, when other elevations are warming and melting out.

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