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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSun Mar 18, 2007 8:51 am 
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Margaret must be Irish for "the weather folks don't have a clue!"  This St. Paddy's Day found Hiker Jim, cousin Clover and the driver joining me for a romp up the long road for a hike up the short trail. The initial thought was to go all the way east to something likely to be a dry hike - since the prediction was 60% of rain in the mountains on the west.  But we took our chances.  Planned a 7:00 a.m. departure (someone[?] was hoping for an early start so they could get back and watch the Cougs, but someone[?] forgot their snowshoes and we had to make a detour back to grab them - good thing too.)  Got to the parking turnaround about 8:20 a.m. and we were hitting the road at 8:30 a.m. - half dozen trucks/trailers for snowmobubblers parked with us.  Seems all of the passenger cars were down at Gold Creek (why?) and none at the Kendall Lake trailhead.  The temperature was mild and the skies were blue with a few clouds.
Looking North from road - note: blue skies!
Looking North from road - note: blue skies!

The road Zamboni had done a great job of grooming for the snowmobiles - and it was early enough that the snow was still hard - booting it was easy.
Hitting the trail - Hiker Jim and friends
Hitting the trail - Hiker Jim and friends
Light fog looking south across I-90 - creek (Wolfe?) flowing to Keechelus
Light fog looking south across I-90 - creek (Wolfe?) flowing to Keechelus
Looking north up (Wolfe?) creek
Looking north up (Wolfe?) creek

You know the drill - you walk a long way on the road  rant.gif  (got to get the driver some XC skis to do these long road walks so she will quit whining  agree.gif ).  Got up the road a piece - with snowmobiles zipping by - Clover did her darnedest to try and catch one of them - never did.  Here's an idea on how the weather unfolded for us this day - some before and after.
Before: Silver Peak in distance - blue skies
Before: Silver Peak in distance - blue skies
Before: Mt. Catherine with blue skies
Before: Mt. Catherine with blue skies
After: Silver Peak and Mt. Catherine
After: Silver Peak and Mt. Catherine

But, Hiker Jim brought out the shades and didn't have to take them off until about a mile from the car on the way out.  cool.gif  The walk up was relative quick because the snow was hard - we made good time.
Hiker Jim heading up well compacted road
Hiker Jim heading up well compacted road

Less than an hour to here
On the road leading to the Margaret trailhead
On the road leading to the Margaret trailhead

and about an hour to the trailhead parking area.

Trailhead sign
Trailhead sign

From there, it's just a 100 yards or so to the spur road and the actual trail up is about a mile or so from where you take the spur.  Thinking we had finally left the noisy snowmobiles behind as we made our way up to the clearcut and put our snowshoes on here, because the snow was soft.
Hiker Jim entering clear cut area - Lake Keechelus Hyak, Silver, Catherine as backdrop
Hiker Jim entering clear cut area - Lake Keechelus Hyak, Silver, Catherine as backdrop

Unfortunately, we were joined by a few of the 'bubblers as they came to play in open areas.
Looking across open (clear cut) towards the ridge
Looking across open (clear cut) towards the ridge

We continued a steady climb up and entered the trees higher up than we did last year - cutting a lot of the ups and downs from that trip a little more than a year ago.  We crossed some old ski tracks and a few snowmobile tracks - but finally we were alone.  We reached the ridge in almost no time.
"Advance" team on ridge
"Advance" team on ridge
Ridge looking East/Southeast
Ridge looking East/Southeast

and followed it - crossing what would have been the summer trail down to Lake Margaret and getting peek-a-boo views as we headed toward the false summit.
Mt. Stuart
Mt. Stuart
Out destination today - Mt. Margaret
Out destination today - Mt. Margaret

The trickiest part of the whole day was right when we were about 25' below the false summit - last year it had been a little icy at this spot, but it was pretty much straight up; this year, there was this odd cornice, with a little shelf under it - the lip of the cornice was about 5' or so from the shelf - Clover figured out exactly how to navigate to the summit - walking along the shelf.  The snow was in good shape - nice and solid - but if you should lose your footing, there was a chute with a drop-off waiting for you!  So the driver went first and edged along the shelf.  Then HJ - here is a shot taken from the false summit as he is coming along the shelf (and knocking away some of the cornice to make the traverse easier)
Jim coming up on false summit - along narrow shelf
Jim coming up on false summit - along narrow shelf

and then to give you an idea of the "shelf" here is what it looks like when Jim was descending
Jim crossing narrow "shelf" at false summit
Jim crossing narrow "shelf" at false summit
Jim inching along the shelf just below false summit
Jim inching along the shelf just below false summit

This is the third snow trip to Margaret in the past three years - and each time the snow at the false summit has been different.  The first year, we had to take our snowshoes off, because it was all exposed rock; last year was icy; and this year was just fine.  We continued along the ridge and then dropped down about 87' to the saddle between the false summit and the actual summit and then climbed up through the trees about 100' to the top of Margaret.
Summit Sadie at the top of Margaret
Summit Sadie at the top of Margaret
Jim on the summit of Margaret
Jim on the summit of Margaret

The winds had picked up a little before we reached the summit - but they weren't bad, so we stopped for some lunch - about 3 1/2 hours to reach the summit (approx. 5+ miles).  The weather was very mild and we took in the views - seeing that the clouds were rolling in.
Lakes Margaret and Stonethrow
Lakes Margaret and Stonethrow
Hibox in center
Hibox in center
Clouds rolling in from the northwest
Clouds rolling in from the northwest
Keechelus Ridge
Keechelus Ridge

After about a 1/2 hour, we decided it was time to head back - hoping to beat the rain.
Jim coming down off of summit
Jim coming down off of summit
Looking from the summit towards the false summit (east/southeast) and our route back to false summit
Looking from the summit towards the false summit (east/southeast) and our route back to false summit
Mt. Rainier makes an appearance (as seen from false summit)
Mt. Rainier makes an appearance (as seen from false summit)

Once we reached the clear cut area again, the snowmobilers were gone - and the snow had softened a lot.
HJ coming out of the trees into the clear cut
HJ coming out of the trees into the clear cut

We got a couple of glissades in (wet butt glissades) and kept the 'shoes on until the end of the road back at the parking area turnaround.  Not a drop of rain on us!  Stats:  10+ miles; 3100' gain; 5 1/2 hours.  We were heading out by 2:30 p.m. and hit rain right at the summit and all the way to Issaquah.  Glad we opted for Saturday instead of Sunday!   up.gif

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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moosefish
I am the fish



Joined: 02 Jul 2004
Posts: 1212 | TRs
Location: monkey herder
moosefish
I am the fish
PostMon Mar 19, 2007 6:45 am 
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I was up at Lake Lillian and came down Saturday. Did you see the huge group of snowshoers heading up? I'm curious to know how far they got before they turned around.
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostMon Mar 19, 2007 6:52 am 
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MF -

No, we didn't see anyone else on snowshoes.  At least not headed to Margaret.   shakehead.gif  We did see some snowshoe tracks on the road - I don't know how far they got, but they were headed out (before us) when we were coming down.  The only non-snowmobile vehicle in the parking area was ours - there were about 10 or so passenger cars down by Gold Creek.
s.d.

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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