Forum Index > Trip Reports > Excelsior Peak (USGS Bearpaw) 2/10/19
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 4178 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
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Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostThu Feb 14, 2019 12:54 am 
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Date:  2/10/19
Destination: Excelsior Peak 5712 (USGS Bearpaw)
Party: Matt, Carla, Steph, Elle

Two years ago on Excelsior, we had bright blue skies, brilliant white trees, and wide views on top.  Today was more of a black and white trip, with clouds and snow moving in by the time we emerged from the forest.

It's been a strange weather week.  Departing my house in Shoreline there was a foot of snow on the ground.  When we picked up Steph in Bellingham, the ground was bare.  Hiking up there Excelsior trail, there was only a few inches for the first couple thousand feet.

Circa 3800 feet the snow depth started increasing quickly.  Fortunately, a large group from BC had plowed the trail ahead of us.  In a few places, their trench was almost hip deep.  Higher up, it was more wind-packed.

Snowshoe trench
Snowshoe trench
Summit blown almost bare
Summit blown almost bare

Bright jackets of snowshoers provided the only color on the summit.  The Canadian group said they had driven from Vancouver to the trailhead in just 1.5 hours.

Colorful Canadians
Colorful Canadians
Color printer cartridge on the summit – Magenta, Cyan & Yellow (aka Steph, Carla, and Elle)
Color printer cartridge on the summit – Magenta, Cyan & Yellow (aka Steph, Carla, and Elle)
My new red-and-black gloves to match the rest of my outfit
My new red-and-black gloves to match the rest of my outfit

Snow began falling as we descended.  At least the soft cushiony snow let us bypass several hundred feet of switchbacks on the way down.

Izzy watching hikers descending
Izzy watching hikers descending
Next snowfall beginning.
Next snowfall beginning.
Someone's happy today.
Someone's happy today.
Excelsior GPS track
Excelsior GPS track

Temperatures for the day:  17 degrees at my house, 16 degrees at the trailhead, 18 degrees on the summit.
Stats: 8.7 miles, 3870 gain , 6:25 hours.

The drive home became almost too interesting as we encountered increasingly heavy snow on the highway.  I-5 in Snohomish County felt more like driving over a mountain pass than driving through coastal lowlands.

Back at home, I found the neighbors having a party outside in the snow, with sledding, hot beverages, and a fire pit.

Neighbors having a party in the snow
Neighbors having a party in the snow
Snowing again at my house.
Snowing again at my house.

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 4070 | TRs
Location: Pittsburgh
GaliWalker
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Have camera will use
PostThu Feb 14, 2019 6:21 am 
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I like the B&Ws; they bring out the texture of snow on the trees quite nicely. The "Izzy watching hikers descending" shot is my favorite, because of Izzy's windswept B&W tail and neck fur, which complements the snowy trees. up.gif

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani/albums
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zephyr
aka friendly hiker



Joined: 21 Jun 2009
Posts: 1853 | TRs
Location: West Seattle
zephyr
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aka friendly hiker
PostThu Feb 14, 2019 4:28 pm 
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Matt wrote:
Izzy watching hikers descending
Izzy watching hikers descending

I love this photo.  The people are so tiny and Izzy gives the image a perspective and depth.  Very nice.  ~z


Edit:  Oh, I posted without having seen GaliWalker's comment.  haha  Great minds think alike. wink.gif
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Jeff
Ramen Elitist



Joined: 18 Aug 2008
Posts: 2845 | TRs
Location: Someone get me out of Everett, WA
Jeff
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Ramen Elitist
PostThu Feb 14, 2019 5:07 pm 
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I guess that guy that abandoned his snowmobile on the ridge figured out how to get it back safely.
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