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wildernessed
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 9224 | TRs
Location: Wenatchee
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PostThu Jan 21, 2016 1:55 pm 
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Location : Mission Ridge Recreation area, Wenatchee
Access : Squilchuck Trail to NE side of Clara Lake then off trail
Maps : GTM - Mission Ridge / Wenatchee
Stats : 4.1 mi, 1500' r/t

Mission Ridge 5740'
Mission Ridge 5740'

I had planned on getting out and the forecast for Wed. was full sunshine on Tues. when I talked to Steve. We decided to wait until Wed. to figure out where and when. I called him around 8 a.m. the skies were mostly sunny, but the forecast had changed to mostly cloudy. I have been increasing the stress on my knee with successive hikes and we decided to go up to Mission Ridge and hike the Squilchuck Trail as far as we could on foot then use snowshoes to get back to Point 5740.
We arrived in the abandoned parking lot next to the TH with only a road grader clearing the lot of over a foot of new snow they received since Monday. The whole area was about as snowbound as I have seen in many years. We headed up the nicely compacted trail with just gaiters and microspikes and with increasing elevation came deeper snow and snowscapes. Once we were a long the NW side of Clara Lake there were no more previous tracks and we put on our snowshoes and off trailed it in deep dry powder to a ridge and towards 5740' a large open highpoint. There were some course adjustments due to the large amount of snow, vegetation, downed trees, and creepy undulations, during one of those adjustments we decided to go up the side of an open slope when all of a sudden I heard the "whump" of settling snow. We talked about it and I looked up to see the powder snow seperate from the harder weathered snow above us, maybe a 1' section sliding down and we were in the slide zone. I just yelled, "Run now!" and Steve knew what I was referring to I made maybe 2-3 steps in snowshoes before tripping and falling forward where I cupped the ground covering my head. The slide piled up as it hit a small bench in the slope before falling further. I immediately got up and my feet were just out of the slide zone. Standing up it was a good sized slide for a hiker if we wouldn't have got out we would have been covered 2-3 feet. the slide went about 200-300' across and in places slid over the bench and further down slope. We arced alternatively through deep snow, trees, and brush, including undulating basalt piles and holes to a low elevation ridge and onto the summit which was very wind blown with a light crust over powder snow where we had lunch. It became overcast and windy so the hot coffee was great. Returning I was a little more paranoid and cautious but we made good time and enjoyed the quiet and beautiful scenery. Great day hike, but it's deep up there.

In the beginning around 4700'
In the beginning around 4700'
Nice !
Nice !
Mission Ridge 5740_2841_edited-1
Mission Ridge 5740_2841_edited-1
Potential problems above. We saw some craters in the snow on the ground from big snow bombs and some limbs down.
Potential problems above. We saw some craters in the snow on the ground from big snow bombs and some limbs down.
No more Squilchuck Trail, but stunning backcountry snowscapes.
No more Squilchuck Trail, but stunning backcountry snowscapes.
My best guess is that the powder layer slid away from the snow slab edge above.
My best guess is that the powder layer slid away from the snow slab edge above.
Wenatchee and the Columbia River 5000' below.
Wenatchee and the Columbia River 5000' below.
It peak
It peak
Looking across the wind blown / blowing snow on 5740' with East Wenatchee in the distance below.
Looking across the wind blown / blowing snow on 5740' with East Wenatchee in the distance below.
Bee Hive
Bee Hive
Stormy looking cold and maybe stormy.
Stormy looking cold and maybe stormy.
Steve descending from 5740 towards the ridge leading to the Squilchuck trail.
Steve descending from 5740 towards the ridge leading to the Squilchuck trail.
Pristine !
Pristine !
Back on the forested plateau.
Back on the forested plateau.
Avalanche
Avalanche

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RichP
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Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 4543 | TRs
Location: Moscow, Id.
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PostThu Jan 21, 2016 4:28 pm 
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I saw this thread from TAY talking about similar avalanche activity on Mission Ridge. 
http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=35505.0

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Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
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wildernessed
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 9224 | TRs
Location: Wenatchee
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PostThu Jan 21, 2016 4:57 pm 
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up.gif A lot of snow, you can move much quicker on ski's vs. hiking in snowshoes. Many trails are cut into the sides of slopes and completely buried. If you follow the trail you are cutting unstable slopes. I heard there could be another foot of snow this far East which will be problematic. Most people around here will stop at Clara Lake. The snow depth is impressive.

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HitTheTrail
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PostThu Jan 21, 2016 8:38 pm 
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Holy Crap! Even though it looks rather benign that could have turned into a  serious situation. You guys be careful out there. I was up at Mission skiing today. They basically left most of the hill un-groomed so the local powder hounds could play. It was fun at first but became work after getting all chopped up because it was almost as heavy as typical Stevens Pass snow. We pulled the plug around 11:30 am.
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mbravenboer
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PostFri Jan 22, 2016 9:32 am 
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Great photos! Hope the snow will be safer soon.
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