2016/12/24 – Green Mountain IV / 綠山之四

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Summit ridge
Summit ridge

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Today we followed the 30% chance snow forecast to Middle Fork Snoqualmie River Valley. Second time driving on the new(ish)ly paved Middle Fork Road/NF-5600 and it was nice. Although weather didn’t look too promising the minute we arrived; I was close to turning the car around.

First winter ascent on this mountain, previous trip was year and half ago with just the yellow pup. As I might have mentioned in my previous report(s), bulk of the distance was spent on lower elevation to bottom of Green Mountain’s southeast-trending ridge, while bulk of the elevation gain took place in the last 1,800′ over one mile from there to summit.

The area looked to have gotten more snow since the previous party went up a week ago, as their tracks had been long gone. And I somehow seemed to forget every time just how long it usually took to get from car to end of road connecting with NF-9010-1. On top of that, new snow made the road walk seem like an eternity. The sun was out for about an hour just one switchback before the scramble until after we reentered the forest on the lower ridge.

Getting up to where it’d normally be a talus field was the first crux. Snow was thigh deep the minute we stepped off the road. Even with my snowshoes on, pup and I were still punching through on the talus field. Generally speaking, no consolidated snow in areas without tree coverage, so postholing was inevitable.

Shallower snow in the forest made for a much enjoyable traverse when it wasn’t steep. Steeper slopes above 4,000′ had a thin layer of soft snow over ice crust, which the crampon part of snowshoes had a hard time gripping onto. The last 800′ was pretty slow going because of this.

Zero views on the summit, the area was still socked in. We had just views of the viewable ridge line. Luckily wind was calm at the top since it was already below freezing point. Quickly took our photos and left the summit before it got dark.

Gear: snowshoes

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