From Exit 85 (Cle Elum) on I-90... drive WA-970 E for ~10.5 miles... merge with US-97 N and continue for 6.7 miles (eighth of a mile beyond the Mineral Springs Restaurant) and turn left on to FS 9738... and drive as far as you can until stopped by snow... which was .7 miles today.
Denali Girl and I skied FS 9738 for ~2.3 miles (actually Denali Girl ditched her skis after the first mile and started hiking)... then used FS 9702 for the last 5 miles to the Red Top Parking area.
We did have to remove our skis a time or two in the first mile due to patchy snow conditions on FS 9738... but the last 6 miles to the Red Top parking area was continuous snow.
When I reached the parking area I could hear people coming down from the summit... which turned out to be a group of nwhikers... Middle E, Sadie's Driver, Raising3hikers, Opus, dicey, BarbE, Snowdog and JimK... with 4-legged friends Gus and Izzy.
The group reported icy and very cold conditions on the summit, making for an easy decision to skip the summit.
dicey opted to ski down the road with me while the others returned via their up-and-down ridge route.
14.5 miles roundtrip, gaining ~2240 feet of elevation.
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