Joined: 26 Jun 2008
Posts: 574 | TRs
Location: Finding an alternative to Mailbox Pk
|It was a sunny Friday and I didn't have to work so I felt compelled to accommodate the weather by summiting a peak I had not done. Florence fit the bill perfectly since it was only an 1:15 to 1:30 away, and as usual, I knew I would not be on the trail until the afternoon. One thing you can count on is that when you are pressed for time, you will get loads of people in the left lane going 55 on I-5, and a few more on Carbon River Rd going 25.
I arrived at the Carbon River Ranger Station, elev 1700 bright and early anyway at the stroke of 245p. I was heading up the interpretive trail by 3p.
Interpretive Trail by Ranger Station leads to Alki Crest
Nice 3/10 of a mile interpretive trail. Great for kids.
Mossy delight along interpretive trail
Greener than green
The letter "A" along the interpretive trail
At the southern end of the trail (c.15mi) before it loops back toward the parking lot is the turn-off to go up toward the Alki Crest. This was going to be a challenge given the warmer, sunny weather and recent snow. It did not disappoint, and to my surprise, the snow was as good as you could expect. Now, I would not be singing any snow praises had it not been for my snowshoes. BRING THEM if you go. Snow starts to cover the trail around 2900ft,1.25mi up. You'll cross a nice falls at 1.50mi,3064ft. From here, it was solid snow, but I kept my approach boots on for another half-mile or so (3375ft).
Massive Doug-Firs and Hemlocks along the lower portion of trail.
First snow cover on trail c1.25mi,2888ft
Large cut log wth icicles c1.35mi,2967ft
Large cut log wth icicles closeup
Falls and crossing c1.5mi,3064ft
Falls and crossing c1.5mi,3064ft
Steps along drainage c1.82mi,3240ft
The route is very straight-forward so far as a little dip in the snow cover marked where the trail was. I left the trail here:
Route choice was where my poles are. You can go right, but longer and less steep. c2.25mi,3450ft
and headed more directly up to Alki Crest, but not as directly as I would have liked. Ideally, at around 4370ft and 3.3mi, I would have gone more to the left (more SE than S) instead of following the slight spine. This would have taken me into a larger flat area where there is a (now snow-covered) lake. Once you reach the Alki Crest at 3.8mi, just stay on the level to slightly up spine ESE and eventually ENE for another .8 miles to the false summit, which is only 20 or so feet lower than the true summit another .15mi to the NE.
Breaking trail just right of center 2.35mi,3550ft
Icy drainage. c2.77mi,3821ft. I stayed right right of this going up.
I turned right and up just past this large tree c3mi,4089ft. Probably could have stayed straight.
My route c3.1mi,4250ft
My route on the far right c3.3mi,4370ft. Probably better to start bearing at little more SE here to the left of my poles.
My route along a spine c3.6mi,4675ft
Looking back on my route atop the Alki Crest just before descending to the drainage c3.8mi,4943ft
Heading back along the Alki Crest
Looking back on my route .3mi,300ft from summit
Be very careful just below the false summit, and especially in between the false summit and the true summit. The latter is very narrow with significant snow built up. There are a few tricky spots there and a little exposure, but not too bad. The short 50ft rock scramble (class 2-3) below the summit has some snow on it, but very easy. I took my snowshoes off there before going up.
Me on the false summit with Mr Rainier c4.61mi,5511ft
True summit only .15mi away,20ft higher.Let's go!
Snag trees guarding the summit with Mt Rainier
Cool snags atop the true summit
Looking back on the false summit
FlorencePeak-110422 - 18
Oh my I wish I could stay for sunset
Mt Rainier from true summit
There were several inches of new snow covering a nice consolidated layer, but it would have been a post-holing nightmare c3500ft.
Time up: Approx 2:30 (Including blister first aid)
Distance to true summit: 4.75mi
Round trip distance: 9.44mi
Elev gain: 4243
Base elev: 1700
Top elev: 5530
Gear needed: SNOWSHOES,microspikes, poles with baskets, Ice axe
GPS of route: