Snow report from a southbounder 6/31-7/8

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July 11th, 2014
By: Jes Shap

7/8/14 Stevens Pass
Everything within about 8 miles of the pass is snow free. Mosquitoes abound. Lake Janus thawed, trout are biting. Peach and Pear Lakes still snowed in. Trail easier to follow here.
7/7/14 Grizzly Peak area
Mostly snow, some sections very steep and difficult to cross in slick afternoon slush. Would recommend crossing in the morning with traction devices. That applies to most of this section. GPS required for navigation. Experienced my first fall-through since leaving Canada: fell six feet into a cavern made by a stream running under the snowfield that could not be seen from the surface. Not fun. I was not injured and none of my gear got wet, but that was just luck.
7/6 Red Pass to Pear Lake
Almost entirely under snow, steep and rocky. GPS and ice ax very helpful.
7/5/14 Kennedy Ridge to Red Pass
Snow free trail below 4,000′.
The climb up is long and all on snow. Tricky stream crossings where steep snow banks give way to wide streams. Staying on the trail is not really necessary once you’re above treeline if you can understand where the trail is taking you but otherwise will require good map reading skills or just GPS to follow.
The camp, toilet and bridge at Kennedy Hot Spring has been decimated. I was told today that it was wiped out by an avalanche. Additionally, the hot spring is small, mucky, and just lukewarm (maybe 90°F) so in essence it is unsoakable. Don’t go down here for a soak. The White Chuck Road is the better of the two routes if you do go, although the switchbacks at the bottom have fallen into the river. Look for the new route marked with pink flagging tape. The Kennedy Ridge Trail, north of here, also leads down to the Spring, but it’s rife with down trees.
7/4/14 Mica Lake/Kennedy Ridge Area. Fully on snow. Trail difficult to follow through sparse trees, GPS will greatly speed vegetation here.
7/3/14 Suiattle River to Dolly Vista Camp. Dry and well maintained trail until the last few miles before Dolly Vista. Stream crossings high, expect wet feet multiple times. Up to three miles between water sources
7/2/14 Sitting Bull to Suiattle River
Almost all snow. Keep your ice ax in hand. Traction devices helpful in the morning, gaiters in the afternoon when your steps will occasionally punch through the thinning snow or slush may fly up into your boots if you like to slide down the steeps like me.
7/2/14 Suiattle River
Vista Creek bridge is out, log crossing upstream. Watch out for rusty cable running through the bushes at waist height on the east side of Vista Creek if you cross the log to take the Old PCT shortcut.
The “Old PCT” near the Suiattle River is in decent condition with quite a few down trees. Will be passable for a couple more years at least. Log over Suiattle River is there but no trail for half a mile on either side.
7/1/14 High Bridge to Sitting Bull Basin
Snow starts at 4,000 before reaching the Basin. Basin snow is thinning and provides a fall-through hazard. GPS required when crossing broad open areas like these in order to find the trail on the other side.
6/31/14 Stehekin River and Agnes Creek
These river valleys are deep, low, drier and filled with mosquitoes. Up to three miles between water sources. Good trail, no snow, more people. Eat Koochen at the Stehekin Bakery, you will not regret it, and Friday is all you can eat bbq at The Ranch.