Forum Index > Trip Reports > Searching for Blue on Red (Salmon La Sac) - 2/17/2013
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Middle E
no more moustache



Joined: 10 Feb 2008
Posts: 432 | TRs
Location: Seattle, WA
Middle E
no more moustache
PostSun Feb 17, 2013 7:46 pm 
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Ah, the elusive quest for sun and blue sky in the northwest winter.  Yesterday, the Driver and I found nothing of the kind on Mt. Washington - only rain, sideways sleet, fog and clouds.  In desperation, Suzanne decided to drive 3+ hours to the Tri-Cities, where sunshine (and wineries) are reputed to exist.  I assembled a crew of JimK, Snowdog (Elle) + Izzie, and Opus (David) to chase another "partly sunny" NOAA forecast.  Red Mountain off the Salmon La Sac Rd. was our destination.

As we headed east on I-90, the highway advisory signs stated "Snoqualmie Pass - Chains Reguired".  What?  That turned out to be an exaggeration, but there was slush and fresh snow at the Pass.  We started to see some thinning clouds and blue sky as we passed Easton.  Roslyn was sunny, but the Salmon La Sac Rd. beyond Roslyn was snow-covered with an obvious overnight snowfall.

We parked and headed out about 9:15am.  There were only 2 snowmobile tracks ahead of us on the road, although several others passed us later.  We started with boots but soon donned snowshoes as the snow was a few inches deep.  The 1.6 miles to the trailhead seemed to go quickly.
Not too deep at the summer trailhead
Not too deep at the summer trailhead

As soon as we left the road the work began.  There was 8-10" of fresh new powder, not too bad for trail breaking at the start, but the snow just got deeper as we ascended, except in stretches with tree cover.  From there to the summit there was never any point where we were not breaking trail in deepening snow, climbing steeply, or both.
That looks like blue sky
That looks like blue sky
Crossing the upper road - deeper snow
Crossing the upper road - deeper snow
Higher and deeper, but not much blue
Higher and deeper, but not much blue

Still, the fresh snow and occasional blue sky made for a pleasing combination. We traded off trail breaking as the snow got deeper.  Nearing the summit, the drifts on the more open ridgeline were sometimes thigh deep - even on JimK!
We can like this
We can like this
Open slopes
Open slopes

The final steep 100' to the summit was a chest-high wallow. We made the summit in about 3.5 hours.  Fortunately the wind was not as bad as on other trips.  The slightly higher south summit was tempting, but the sharply corniced and drifted ridge discouraged us.  By now all of the summits around us were shrouded in broken clouds, and it was hard to discern any blue. We descended down that 100' to a flatter spot for lunch.
Corniced ridge to the (barely higher) south bump
Corniced ridge to the (barely higher) south bump
Jim nearing the summit
Jim nearing the summit
Elle heading down
Elle heading down
Group shot (no one told Jim to get in back)
Group shot (no one told Jim to get in back)

The descent thereafter was a delight - plunging down through the deep powder was a blast!  Even though it was slower going as we re-entered the trees, we made it back to the road in 1:15, well under half the time it had taken us to ascend.
Descending the deep drifts
Descending the deep drifts

The road walk back to the car was uninspiring, but the total descent time was only 2 hours.  If anyone wants to ski those upper slopes, there's a great trench to the summit! (but likely filling in with blowing snow higher up)  The round trip is 7+ mile and 3500', but 3 of those miles are on the road, and involve barely 300' of gain.  Do the math....

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pithy yet insightful signature
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3549 | TRs
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostSun Feb 17, 2013 8:06 pm 
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I think we found the missing snow other trip reports have noticed; it's all on Red Mountain!  Lots of powder on the upper slopes made for some floundering but a great run down.  I like days of swirling clouds.

Two other snowshoers caught us as we were descending from the summit and there is now a pretty nice trail broken the whole way.

Here comes Izzy
Here comes Izzy
Going up
Going up
Steep
Steep
Deep
Deep
Sunbreak
Sunbreak
Team effort
Team effort
Peaks
Peaks
Frosted trees
Frosted trees
JimK summiting
JimK summiting
Aren't you here yet?
Aren't you here yet?
On the top
On the top
Summit ridge
Summit ridge
View
View
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BarbE
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2006
Posts: 1006 | TRs

BarbE
Member
PostMon Feb 18, 2013 9:00 am 
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Great effort breaking trail on that steep ascent. Sorry I had to miss out.
Love all the great cloud shots! up.gif  but, once again, what happened to the mostly sunny forecast?   confused.gif
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Snowdog
Member
Member


Joined: 21 Jul 2006
Posts: 917 | TRs
Location: on (& off) the beaten path
Snowdog
Member
PostMon Feb 18, 2013 10:34 am 
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This was my 2nd trip up Red - and conditions could not have been more different.(boots & crampons for 1st trip)
Opus's pic of Barry "snowplowing" with Isabel getting caught in his blowback clearly shows the strength of Barry's upward momentum! up.gif  agree.gif
Here are a few pics from the day:

the mark of Zorro, or, in this case, Barry.
the mark of Zorro, or, in this case, Barry.

I usually leave the 'artistic' shots to my many friends with far better photographic skills, but this windswept effect caught my eye.
wind effect
wind effect
up we go
up we go
Certainly wouldn't want to wander to the left
Certainly wouldn't want to wander to the left

The descent of the 1st 2K was as much fun as you can have on snowshoes!
Wheeeeeeeeeee........
Wheeeeeeeeeee........

Isabel and I had a great day out w/ the boys!

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'we don't have time for a shortcut'
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Jeb
Summit Driven



Joined: 21 Jul 2012
Posts: 251 | TRs
Location: Seattle
Jeb
Summit Driven
PostMon Feb 18, 2013 6:40 pm 
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Well done I'm glad you caught some views from up there

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Jeff
Ramen Elitist



Joined: 18 Aug 2008
Posts: 2651 | TRs
Location: Someone get me out of Everett, WA
Jeff
Ramen Elitist
PostMon Feb 18, 2013 7:21 pm 
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That still looks blue enough for me!

Did you park at the intersection of Salmon La Sac and 46 or did you make it over the bridge and up FS 46?

Is a Sno Park pass required? Do you need a NW Forest Pass?
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JimK
Member



Joined: 07 Feb 2002
Posts: 5381 | TRs
Location: Ballard
JimK
Member
PostMon Feb 18, 2013 7:25 pm 
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We parked right at the start of the Cooper River Road. Since my last visit there are now signs on the right side of the road showing where parking is okay. Room for about 7 or 8 cars. No signs for any parking passes.

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Hiking Northwest
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JimK
Member



Joined: 07 Feb 2002
Posts: 5381 | TRs
Location: Ballard
JimK
Member
PostWed Feb 20, 2013 11:49 am 
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I have posted my trip report with 36 photos and a GMAP4 track at:

Red Mt. Report & Photos

Here are a few favorite photos:


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Hiking Northwest
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Searching for Blue on Red (Salmon La Sac) - 2/17/2013
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