2015/12/26 – Snow Lake Trail II / 雪湖小道之二

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Mount Rainier in the distant south
Mount Rainier in the distant south

Judging by other reports, my guess is that no one actually made it to the lake today. I was shocked by the amount of snow we’ve received so far compared with a year ago. The trailhead had long been buried under the new snow, and I had to look closely to find a small opening in the snowplowed wall alongside the access road to get into the meadow. The area was still cloudy/foggy when I left.

Three groups were ahead of me when I started hiking at 10 AM. As soon as I crawled through the wall opening immediately put on snowshoes. Even with three groups totaling eight people in front of me, the snow was still not very packed and I was postholing a few inches in the meadow. Assuming it was the group of snowboarders/skiers who broke trail today, they sure weren’t heading for Snow Lake. The snow trail shot straight up the slopes shortly after entering the forest.

With the amount of fresh snow received in the past few days, summer trail was nowhere to be seen. Since I had already broken trails in the last couple of days, I wasn’t motivated enough to break trail again today, so I followed the tracks of the groups before me. Two groups turned around before getting out of the tree line, and I eventually caught up to the first group just above the trees on Snoqualmie Mountain’s southwest face. Glad the cloudy weather at the pass was just a marine layer, once I was out of the trees, views were to be had everywhere.

Rather than continuing to follow the snowboarders tracks, I started heading west toward the base of Snoqualmie Mountain’s west shoulder at around 5280’ and made it my stopping point. I traversed a few hundred more feet down the west ridge to get some photos of the nearby peaks. The ridge was very woodsy, couldn’t imagine what it’s like to traverse without the snow.

Rainier was fully visible when I first got up. An hour and a half later as I was leaving, the high clouds had moved lower and only bottom 1/3 of the volcano was visible.

Access: Snow Lake Trailhead
Gear: snowshoes, ice axe

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