2017/12/9 – Sorcery Mountain / 巫術山

Horseshoe Lake
Horseshoe Lake

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Thanks to a recent report from NorthBen of this place I’ve been wanting to visit, but unsure of road conditions and accessibility during this time of the year. A couple of deep dips in the road that I was able to (very slowly) get through in a low-clearance vehicle and that’s about it. Three cars in the lot when we arrived in late morning. Our second time on the Dingford Creek Trail, first being last year en route to Mount Price.

Snow and ice appeared shortly after crossing the waterfall gully. Just past Goat Creek, we followed presumably NorthBen’s days old boot tracks and stayed east of the creek to Horseshoe Lake. Surprisingly the hikers trail was visible past the initial brush and snow, we followed it until it dwindled under massive down trees.

Big Snow Mountain
Big Snow Mountain

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Microspikes came in handy in shallow yet slippery snow; I switched to snowshoes at 3,600′ when postholing became a chore. Still a bit brushy in places due to the lack of snow coverage, although not as annoying as it would’ve been without any at all.

The frozen Horseshoe Lake was solid and it provided a direct approach to the peninsula. Carefully working our way up to the west ridge, we occasionally crossed paths with the old snowshoe tracks left days before. Several rock bands along the ridge were negotiated via the snowy north slopes. We managed to get atop a couple seemingly impassable outcrops through hidden ledges and veggie belay.

Big Snow Mountain
Up, close, and personal

Photos from this trip can be found here.

From southwest corner of the summit ridge, true summit on the northeast end was only about 100′ away. To get there, it required a 15-20′ descent and fighting through shrubs before we were able to climb up the boulders. Big Snow Mountain was virtually in our faces the minute we stepped onto the summit–perhaps the closest we had been near it.

Another great vantage point to be surrounded by views of big mountains and the numerous lakes nestled in the basins below. Lots of familiar high points in the southern horizon, including Thomson, Red, Lundin, Snoqualmie, Bryant, Chair, Kaleetan, Roosevelt, Caroline, and Preacher…oh my! Even Mount Rainier and Glacier Peak joined the lineup on this crisp and clear day.

Familiar peaks
Familiar peaks

Photos from this trip can be found here.

Temperatures in the high 50s and windless, warmer and calmer than forecasted. We enjoyed a nice and long stay before retracing our steps back down to the lake, the trail, and out to the car.

Access: Dingford Creek Trailhead
Gear: snowshoes, microspikes

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