Left Saturday for a hike up Commonwealth Basin via the PCT. The objective was to scope out the Catwalk and places beyond. I found the lower part of the trail to be free of snow except for a few insignificant patches. There were three big blowdowns. One of these was right at the junction of the PCT and the old Commonwealth Basin trail. That one wasn't too bad to cross but the next one was. That particular one is right after the last switchback the trail makes before it begins its long traverse over to the avalanche zone.
After the Avalanche zone where the trail begins to pick up some elevation, there was more snow. This was still pretty deep in some places but was easy to walk over and there were no route-finding issues though there were a few post-hole incidents. As the trail made its way out of the shaded area, some of the snow patches were banked steeply against the trail which made walking over them a little more difficult. Once in the open, the trail was snow-free again.
When I got to the place where the trail begins to move north of Kendall peak, I ran into a lot more snow. The snow was deep and pitched at a steep angle. Not having my ice axe or any traction gear on my feet, I decided to bag the Catwalk and go up Kendall Peak instead.
Big deadfall across PCT
This is where I turned back.
This is an easy scramble as most of the work is done on the PCT. Even though this isn't a hard scramble, the views are first-rate.
The bootpath up to Kendall from the PCT isn't all that obvious. Look for an old weathered stump right past the last switchback the trail makes before leaving Commonwealth basin. Right past the stump is a dead branch that has been cut. The boot path begins right after that. Someone has flagged the upper part of the way but you probably won't see any of the flagging from the PCT.
Big Snow Mountain from the PCT
PCT and Snoqualmie Mountain
Zoom shot of Rainier and Tinkham peak
The boot path up to the top of Kendall peak begins right past where the shadow lies accross the trail. Note the dead branch on right.
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