Forum Index > Trip Reports > Poet ridge high route - 29 september 2019
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kitya
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PostMon Sep 30, 2019 2:26 pm 
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Poet ridge was all the rage here for the fall colors a week ago, so I decided to check it out this weekend. Great news is that it was definitely not crowded. When I arrived to the end of bumpy Little Wenatchee road (Little Wenatchee trailhead) was completely empty and it was snowing, though not yet hard enough to stick to the road.

We quickly made our way up snowy Poe Mountain trail up to Poe Mountain. It was snowing constantly, but despite that we had a tiny sun break and got to see Cougar creek valley still autumn-like down lower.


I've never been beyond Poe on the ridge before so I didn't know what to expect. Is the trail actually good? I couldn't really see trail most of the time and kept finding some little ledges on the snow and loosing them. The snow was very pretty, but extremely slippery, so it was like 1 step up, 10 feet down painful sliding on the rocks style movement.


First we failed to reach the summit of Longfellow. We went up slippery steep rock gully to the saddle between two sub-summits, but I was too scared to continue up on sleek snow covered rocks higher than that. It was crazy windy and cold too, so Cookie also was not in the mood of staying.

I heard Bryant was easier so I continued to Bryant. Sidehilling and slipping was really exhausting and took really long time. Finally Bryant was right there on the ridge. But it was yet another rocky outcrop and i couldn't find a safe way to go all the way up. Maybe I was too lazy or not persistent enough, but it was just too slick. I thought maybe the safer way up is from the other side and tried to follow the trail again sidehilling, only to drop a ton of elevation again. How do people walk up to Bryant, which side?

Anyway, after failing miserably with both Longfellow and Bryant the ridge after that becomes really pleasant and wide. No more sidehilling, I was so relieved. Crusty dry cold snow - Cookie was having a blast, rolling in snow and eating it too. Lots of frozen bluberries under snow and lots of grouse, we have seen at least a dozen sleeping in the snow.

Since it was snowing heavily all the time and my camera got completely wet, I don't have more pictures of it, but while there were no grand views, the view down to snowy meander meadows was breathtaking.

As a consolation me and Cookie quickly run up to Kodak summit (it was getting dark and super cold). At least Kodak was really easy and didn't involve any scrambling on slick rocks.

We went down to Meander Meadows and looped back to the trailhead along Little Wenatchee river. It got dark and with the snowfall sunset was not red, but weird color of purple. Having snow on both sides of the trail in the forest was very helpful in finding it. Suddenly it became clear with stars coming out.

It was a good nice loop, despite all the failures.

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Get Out and Go
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PostMon Sep 30, 2019 6:57 pm 
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That's an ankle-twisting, side-hilling, route-finding trip in the best of conditions...And a long day, at that.   dizzy.gif  up.gif

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"These are the places you will find me hiding'...These are the places I will always go."
(Down in the Valley by The Head and The Heart)
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Brushbuffalo
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PostMon Sep 30, 2019 6:58 pm 
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Nice! I enjoy your pictures of the early snowfall.
If there was ever a chance to let Cookie just run, this was it. But you are true to your values of never letting her off leash.
The grouse surely appreciated that!

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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Gwen
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PostMon Sep 30, 2019 8:04 pm 
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Way to take in the shoulder season! Beautiful day!

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JimK
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PostMon Sep 30, 2019 9:01 pm 
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That's a long day in summer on dry trail. Side hilling on slushy snow would be a pain. Good job getting all the way around the loop. Some very nice photos too.

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Backpacker Joe
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PostMon Sep 30, 2019 10:21 pm 
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Snow in September.  Hmm, seems like the climate is "Changing" in the opposite direction from current talk! LOL  Nice pics there.

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kitya
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PostTue Oct 01, 2019 8:23 am 
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
Snow in September.  Hmm, seems like the climate is "Changing" in the opposite direction from current talk! LOL  Nice pics there.


This is a photo from back in 2015 circumnavigating Daniel on September 6-7th 2015. I have another similar photo with snow from somewhere around hwy20 in the first days of october 2016. I don't think it is somewhat crazy unusual to have snow in Septmeber, but we had two years back to back with no snow until very late (like November) and it seems our perception of weather is like that of a gold fish.

https://xkcd.com/1321/

P.S. I feel better now to be not the only one to find this trail to be on the harder side!

P.P.S. Cookie sometimes runs on her fenced backyard, but wild animals always takes precedence even there, I only let her run when there are no squirrels, bunnies or birds who can be spooked by her. Obviously that means never running in the actual wilderness. I don't think she lacks exercise though - she is pretty fit with just walking!
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gb
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PostTue Oct 01, 2019 10:24 am 
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kitya wrote:
Backpacker Joe wrote:
Snow in September.  Hmm, seems like the climate is "Changing" in the opposite direction from current talk! LOL  Nice pics there.


This is a photo from back in 2015 circumnavigating Daniel on September 6-7th 2015. I have another similar photo with snow from somewhere around hwy20 in the first days of october 2016. I don't think it is somewhat crazy unusual to have snow in Septmeber, but we had two years back to back with no snow until very late (like November) and it seems our perception of weather is like that of a gold fish.

https://xkcd.com/1321/

P!


Snow happens even in August but it always above 5000-6000' or so. What is unusual is that it is still September, that snow east of the crest ranges to two feet or more, and that temperatures across the state for a period of several days have ranged with highs as low as the 20's and lows as low as the teens under cloudy skies. Snow in this storm fell all the way to valley floors in parts of Eastern Washington and the freezing level reached as low as 2000' ! That is more than unusual. Perception and observations are not the same thing.

But when it is cold like this (any time of year) it is because there is a weather pattern in which air from much farther north is brought to our latitude. This is merely indicative of a very abnormal for September very high amplitude ridge. To the east of the ridge of such amplitude the air is much colder than normal; meanwhile to the west of the ridge all the way to the Arctic ocean in central to eastern Alaska temperatures are bizarrely warm. This is a very unusual pattern for September, not so for January - February - though Alaska would probably still be cool.
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kitya
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PostTue Oct 01, 2019 11:48 am 
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gb wrote:
Snow happens even in August but it always above 5000-6000' or so. What is unusual is that it is still September, that snow east of the crest ranges to two feet or more, and that temperatures across the state for a period of several days have ranged with highs as low as the 20's and lows as low as the teens under cloudy skies. Snow in this storm fell all the way to valley floors in parts of Eastern Washington and the freezing level reached as low as 2000' ! That is more than unusual. Perception and observations are not the same thing.

But when it is cold like this (any time of year) it is because there is a weather pattern in which air from much farther north is brought to our latitude. This is merely indicative of a very abnormal for September very high amplitude ridge. To the east of the ridge of such amplitude the air is much colder than normal; meanwhile to the west of the ridge all the way to the Arctic ocean in central to eastern Alaska temperatures are bizarrely warm. This is a very unusual pattern for September, not so for January - February - though Alaska would probably still be cool.

Well, yeah you are right, however for example my 2015 snow picture is somewhere from Lake Vincente trail, i don't remember exactly where, but but based on the location elevation should be between 4500 and 5000 feet, and right now snow line in Cascades is around 4500 feet, so it doesn't look like based on snow line level situation in Cascades is anywhere unusual. Probably you are right and Eastern Washington situation is more unusual, but I also don't really hike in Eastern Washington, so I don't have a personal baseline of what usual and unusual there. I remember it is always way colder in winter there anyway.

Also remember - this 'somewhat unusual' snow and cold is only a 3 days. I will be very surprised if it actually makes any difference and not completely melts out in a week with return of rain and warmth again.
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gb
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PostTue Oct 01, 2019 6:49 pm 
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kitya wrote:
I remember it is always way colder in winter there anyway.

Also remember - this 'somewhat unusual' snow and cold is only a 3 days. I will be very surprised if it actually makes any difference and not completely melts out in a week with return of rain and warmth again.

Yes, but it is not winter; it is September, the beginning of fall. Snow on the west side is melting and was not deep below 6000', but Eastern Washington is a much different story. And snow levels there fell to 2400' or lower (Cashmere). You will be surprised. Though Wednesday and half of Thursday is warm, it is cool with moderate snow levels through about Saturday. It could get warm for 2-3 days after that, but the GFS then shows a very cold air mass aloft mid-week next week with the potential for a lot of snow. Now snow is much more common by about October 15th to 20th, I've considered (until lately) that the earliest sticking snow at Stevens and Snoqualmie is in that time frame. And in that time frame I've seen snowstorms and temperatures similar to the last one a couple-three times in the Enchantments - but that is three weeks later than this. During those years I would climb Prussik in mid-October. But those are just observations. In fact I have a weather compilation for ski trips I made from the mid-60's until about 1980 (as I recall).

Weather data for September 29th at Wenatchee was 28 degrees below normal (high) - but that is an observation.
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