Forum Index > Trip Reports > Easter Peak failure - March 27, 2021
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
kitya
Fortune Cookie



Joined: 15 Mar 2010
Posts: 725 | TRs
Location: Duvall, WA
kitya
  Top

Fortune Cookie
PostSun Mar 28, 2021 7:59 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Well, for a short hike that was a disaster smile.gif

I had Easter Peak in my plans forever since raising3hikers mentioned it to me after Cookie and I went to Lennox (http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8023844) back in 2017. It was in my backburner forever. Since Lennox, Cookie and I also scrambled Temple and Cleveland (http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8031485), Bing (http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8031084) and Palmer (http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8028921), but I must say Easter Peak somehow kicked me the most. Maybe I'm getting old. Maybe this is because I didn't sleep the night before.

But it is also definitely because very difficult snow conditions. To my surprise the area currently has more snow than on any of my previous trips. In fact Miller Creek road is still covered in snow despite low elevation. Thankfully someone plowed the first few miles of it until the little turn around that becomes the parking spot for snowmobilers. I parked next to two trucks with snowmobile trailers (but no people) and put snowshoes right away upon exiting the car, that was nice.

I like cascade concrete for snowshoes. But I also like deep winter powder. First one is easy to walk with traction. Second one feels like swimming. But even early in the morning snow felt like cascade silly putty. It was super soft, super wet and super sticky. Every step was a struggle, the snowshoe was just sinking in and hard to get out from the heavy snow. Every step snow was sliding under me. It is like the whole area is rapidly melting.

Nwac avy forecast was low under the tree line and moderate above, but it felt nothing like low. Snow rollers and loose wet avalanches were everywhere. Sometimes even on very benign looking slopes my snowshoe step released down blocks of snow the size of car. It was like I couldn't step anywhere without triggering at least a small loose wet slide. Nothing fell stable, so I tried to stick to the trees. Trees - well they tree bombed me and Cookie non-stop. And to make things worse twice I could hear giant natural avalanches from nearby slopes, they sounded like someone exploded a bomb!

Finally, after lots of struggles we reached the final ridge. I was right next to the summit, less than 100 feet away. Unfortunately this last step is super steep. I took of my snowshoes and took out the ice axe. Well, the ice axe immediately sunk all the way into soft snow like a dead whale, shaft and all. That was not super helpful. As I kicked my very first step, it released a block of snow that slid down under me and quickly grown into a larger avalanche that broke some tree branches down below. Also, the snow broke one of my black diamond poles in half frown.gif Crap. That looked like a good sign to give up.

Serves me right! I went a week before Easter and only almost got to the Easter peak. I should have gone on Easter and it would have worked. Wrong timing.

Cookie's Easter toys and the view of Lennox was nice though.


Speaking of timing, coming down I decided it would be a smart idea to try and find new way down to the road, because my way up was unpleasantly steep and involved lots of veggie belays. I tried keeping on the ridge and to the west of it, instead of east side we took on the way up. Well, it got dark. There are lots of giant blowdowns. We got cliffed out twice and had to backtrack. Finally, we got right next to the road. The next problem turned out to be that the road was cut into the slope and has steep rocky cliffs right above it. Traversing over exposed cliffs on soft sliding snow at night was painful. Finally I gave up and just jumped the last 10 feet of rock from a tree down to the snowy road. Thankfully snow was soft enough to make it possible. Next I dragged the poor Cookie down and caught her in the air. She doesn't like jumping.

On a happier note we saw a couple of very fresh cougar tracks in the snow.

Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Roly Poly
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Jan 2013
Posts: 564 | TRs

Roly Poly
  Top

Member
PostSun Mar 28, 2021 11:15 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Your trips are all very inspiring.  I hope you donít mind me asking but do you prefer solo trips? Every time I read one I think you are incredibly experienced and knowledgeable and and the places you go are so beautiful and I wonder if the solitude is a big part of your trip selection?
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
kitya
Fortune Cookie



Joined: 15 Mar 2010
Posts: 725 | TRs
Location: Duvall, WA
kitya
  Top

Fortune Cookie
PostSun Mar 28, 2021 12:27 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Roly Poly wrote:
Your trips are all very inspiring.  I hope you donít mind me asking but do you prefer solo trips? Every time I read one I think you are incredibly experienced and knowledgeable and and the places you go are so beautiful and I wonder if the solitude is a big part of your trip selection?

Thank you for the kind words. I don't think I'm very experienced and certainly no match to some of the really cool climbers and hikers on this site. I'm also almost never solo. I'm always with Cookie!

I am certainly not against people, but me and Cookie hike for 10+ years now usually at least ever weekend if not more and I like going to new places, so we never go to the same mountain twice. I actually did Mailbox peak and Mount Si together in one day as my very first ever hike after moving to the state smile.gif I also really like snowshoe, I like breaking my own trail and experience of going on untouched snow and I don't like busy trails (not sure if anyone likes them). It is also much easier to hike with the dog than with people: I don't have to wait or hurry up, she doesn't need to plan or pack, no complex organizing of times and carpools and I cannot get coivd from her either! And if she gets stuck or tired, I can just carry her on my back. Cookie is the best hiking companion I could have ever imagined.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Type E
Member
Member


Joined: 19 Aug 2006
Posts: 1364 | TRs

Type E
  Top

Member
PostSun Mar 28, 2021 4:50 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
And another one I didnít finish;)

Eric

--------------
Please follow me at: http://alpinelakesaficionado.blogspot.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
KascadeFlat
Member
Member


Joined: 06 Jul 2020
Posts: 79 | TRs
Location: Eating peanut M&Ms under my blue tarp
KascadeFlat
  Top

Member
PostSun Mar 28, 2021 6:44 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Welcome back to posting trip reports! I missed your almost weekly updates on cool tucked away outings. Sorry to hear about the snow conditions. Spring is a harsh mistress in the NW but I'm glad that you and Cookie got some time in the woods regardless and got out unharmed. I definitely would have turned around at the first "car sized avalanche". lol.gif

--------------
For a good time call: 1-800-SLD-ALDR.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Anne Elk
BrontosaurusTheorist



Joined: 07 Sep 2018
Posts: 1372 | TRs
Location: Seattle
Anne Elk
  Top

BrontosaurusTheorist
PostSun Mar 28, 2021 8:43 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Very nice photos once again, Kitya.  Love seeing Cookie in her element.  Do you ever put booties on her?  Seems like it could be rough on her puppy pads.  I think this is your best shot of the set; love the lighting and composition - a calendar shot, for sure!

kitya wrote:


--------------
"There are yahoos out there.  Itís why we canít have nice things."  - Tom Mahood
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
kitya
Fortune Cookie



Joined: 15 Mar 2010
Posts: 725 | TRs
Location: Duvall, WA
kitya
  Top

Fortune Cookie
PostSun Mar 28, 2021 9:06 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Type E wrote:
And another one I didnít finish;)

Me neither Eric smile.gif It is a tough one!

KascadeFlat wrote:
Welcome back to posting trip reports! I missed your almost weekly updates on cool tucked away outings. Sorry to hear about the snow conditions. Spring is a harsh mistress in the NW but I'm glad that you and Cookie got some time in the woods regardless and got out unharmed. I definitely would have turned around at the first "car sized avalanche". lol.gif

Thank you! I'm happy to be back posting trip reports! Will try to convince myself to do it more regularly. I hope you to do the same. Trip reports are great for planning and inspiration!

Anne Elk wrote:
Very nice photos once again, Kitya.  Love seeing Cookie in her element.  Do you ever put booties on her?  Seems like it could be rough on her puppy pads.  I think this is your best shot of the set; love the lighting and composition - a calendar shot, for sure!

You are very kind! Cookie is supposedly a snow dog! I never had any booties for her and never used things like paw wax. She is natural smile.gif I read some people do that, but Cookie never seem to have any complaints about snow, in fact she loves it most, it is much harder for her in summer, when it is hot and snow is rare.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6837 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
  Top

Mid Fork Rocks
PostSun Mar 28, 2021 9:26 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
kitya wrote:

Easter, 2010 + 6 days
Easter, 2010 + 6 days

Maybe the key is to try is AFTER Easter! You said "Well, for a short hike that was a disaster" and I agree this is not a long route but I still think of it as one of the harder ones in that area. I remember slogging up behind Martin Shetter and deciding he had elf blood in him because I seemed to be breaking trail just as much as he did in the lead. I didn't remember the steep section just before the summit, but I took a photo and labeled it as steep, so I guess I wanted to forget it.

Eric negotiates the step just below the summit.
Eric negotiates the step just below the summit.

--------------
Mid Fork Rocks ē flickr
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
kitya
Fortune Cookie



Joined: 15 Mar 2010
Posts: 725 | TRs
Location: Duvall, WA
kitya
  Top

Fortune Cookie
PostSun Mar 28, 2021 11:55 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
puzzlr wrote:
Maybe the key is to try is AFTER Easter! You said "Well, for a short hike that was a disaster" and I agree this is not a long route but I still think of it as one of the harder ones in that area. I remember slogging up behind Martin Shetter and deciding he had elf blood in him because I seemed to be breaking trail just as much as he did in the lead. I didn't remember the steep section just before the summit, but I took a photo an labeled it as steep, so I guess I wanted to forget it.

I'm happy to see Easter peak didn't change much in 11 years smile.gif And yes, I agree. On paper Easter peak looks easy and short. But it is steep and short. Compared to other peaks in the area, this was the hardest for me. I think Lennox is actually the best for effort to reward ratio. It is longer, but elevation is more spread out and I don't remember too steep parts. In fact upper slopes are so mellow and snowy on Lennox, it is just a pleasure to walk them. Cookie doesn't really like to break trail, so I had to break trail up and it felt like down too. With soft snow my trail didn't hold much at all!

The last steep part on your photo - i went like 80% of it, I could see and almost touch the final summit area, but with my step a whole big part of the slope to the left slid down, quickly became bigger and broke tree branches you see below. I decided I don't want to continue at that point smile.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
   All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Easter Peak failure - March 27, 2021
  Happy Birthday Tall Hiker Man!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy