Saturday, October 06, 2007

Dave Climbs Mountain, Summits

One of my best friends from high school came to visit me in Seattle. I had long planned to take him on a hike of Mount Pilchuck, a favorite of mine since moving here in 2004. Our other option was Mount Rainier, however a quick check of their website noted snow conditions on the roads and trails so we went with the safer bet. Plus, Pilchuck, in my opinion, offers some of the best views of the North Cascades and the Puget Sound of any hike--and it's fairly low effort. I'd never hiked Pilchuck in the fall, only the summer, so we ran into a few (slightly) unexpected weather-related issues.

The Mount Pilchuck trail is 6 miles round trip with a 2166 ft elevation gain.

The trail starts out below the alpine line with small stream crossings and lush vegetation.

After much debate, we decided to ford the river
(ferries were not within site).

We were probably 0.5 miles into the trail when we began hiking through
low clouds (fog). It created great ambience but I knew at a cost of
seeing the great views Pilchuck had to offer.

The first signs of snow... little did we know...

Dave is holding up pretty well at the 1.0 mile mark.

Snow accumulation continues to increase as we climb.

Some breaks in the clouds allow us to see a partial view of the valley.

The Pilchuck trail can be somewhat strenuous because
of its constant elevation gain.

Another break in the clouds allows us to see what we're up against.

Starting to tire, probably about 3/4ths of the way there (though
admittedly I had been telling Dave that for the past 40 minutes of
the hike to motivate him).

Dave's a trooper hiking through 1.5 feet of slightly packed snow
with only tennis shoes. At this elevation, it was snowing.

After about 2.5 hours of hiking, we made it to the top.

As you can see, the clouds were dense obscuring the 360 degree
panoramic view that typically includes Mount Rainier,
the Puget Sound, and the North Cascades.

I had Dave take this picture because those rocks behind me are the
same ones I am standing on in the picture below
(which I hiked with Danyel in August of 2006).

This picture was taken during my first Mount Pilchuck hike in
August of 2006. More pictures from that hike

We summited Mount Pilchuck.

A manly handshake at the trailhead sign after the hike.

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