SECTION H WASHINGTON

August 24, 2012

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By: Kaffe and Kuchen

Trail conditions fabulous, 8/7-8/18, 2012. Peak wildflowers, mountain goat herd near Cispus Pass, swimmable lakes. A few snow patches on Round-the-Mountain Trail on Mt. Adams at about 6,000 feet. Goat Rocks snow free except for snowfield up to Cispus Pass and crossing the glacier on Old Snowy.

August 1, 2012

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FYI on the detour around Snag Creek, the tributary to Rock Creek referenced in the post below. It failed its USFS safety inspection and needs to be replaced, even though the rot may not be readily visible. The detour is something the USFS needs to put in place for liability’s sake when there is an unsafe bridge. However, Snag Creek may be easy to skip across for those who choose to do so.

Dana Hendricks, PCTA Regional Rep.

July 31, 2012

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I hiked all of section H between 21 and 31 July 2012. PCT mile numbers (2212, for example), in what follows below, are from Halfmile’s great maps.

Trail was snow-free and in good, if not excellent, condition from Bridge of the Gods to north side of Berry Mountain (2212). But I did/do not understand need for detour that was advertised to take around Rock Creek (~2174). I got there late in evening and, needing place to camp, decided to go on down to Rock Creek campsite – retracing my steps next day if need be, or crossing creek on rocks. But l could see no damage whatsoever to bridge at Rock Creek, and crossed it. A little ways farther there was some damage to sides of planks on bridge crossing a tributary of Rock Creek, but I could see no damage to its main structure. At any rate, both streams could easily have been crossed on rocks without getting feet wet. So I don’t understand reason for detour (needed for equestrians?). Maybe someone knowing more than me about this could comment.

North of Berry Mountain to Mt Adams area just before Horseshoe Meadow (~2242) there were only patches of easily-crossed snow drifts and some easily-crossed blowdown. Two young men from the Forest Service were clearing the trail in that area.

Lots of snow going around Mt Adams, from ~2242 to ~2254. Not difficult to cross, but I needed GPS to find way. A thru hiker without GPS had turned around because he couldn’t find his way through, but then joined me going through with GPS.

No snow at Lava Springs (2258) and not again until ~2266, but some easily-crossed downfall. Lots of snow and good bit of downfall in marshy valley ~2269-2273. Easily crossed, but I needed GPS to stay on trail. Mosquitoes bad here (but not bad, if at all, other places)

Encountered snow chutes at ~2279, but could be crossed with care. Major snow field on relatively steep slope going up to Cispus Pass (2280). I felt much safer having ice axe (for self-arrest if I had slipped) but, with care, secure steps could be kicked in snow. I crossed mid-day when snow had softened.

No snow from Cispus Pass north to ~2283 (Snowgrass Flat), then pretty solid snow cover, but easily-crossed, all way up to junction with stock PCT. I took hiker PCT, which had a couple of patches of easily crossed snow. (The lower stock PCT looked completely snow covered and, to me, more dangerous than the higher hiker PCT.

No snow on trail from high point on shoulder of Old Snowy Mt until descent off ridge of Goat Rocks. Then some easily crossed patches all way out to highway 12 at White Pass. At one point, about halfway down from Goat Rocks ridge, there was a patch of snow that required my using GPS to stay on trail.

May 31, 2012

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The PCT is currently closed with a signed detour around a failed bridge at Snag Creek, just east (trail north) of the 2000 road (Red Bluff Road).

http://www.pcta.org/planning/during_trip/trail-closures.php

May 14, 2012

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Snowmelt in Northern OR and Southern WA is progressing much more swiftly than it has in the past couple of years. If the warm weather pattern continues, we expect melt-out at the 5000-foot level by early to mid-July, and at the 6000 foot level by late July to early August. Of course, there will always be pockets on north-facing slopes and under dense canopy that hold snow longer. Please be prepared with navigational tools to find your way in case the trail is obscured.

August 9, 2011

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We attempted to go trhough Goat Rocks from Walupt lake to white pass. Starting at the lake, we took Walupt lake trail that goes east and then meets with PCT across from the Nannie peak. Start looked good and free of snow and major obstacles. Mosquitos, however, were a problem.

First snow was encountered near PCT, once we got little higher, and it was not a huge issue. Trail was always visible, or easy to spot when occasionally it was covered with a foot or so of snow. Blow downs were not that bad either. It stayed this way much of the way when we went north on PCT. On approach to Walupt creek, though, snow became more of a problem. ~5 feet of snow was not uncommon. The creek itself had snow banks on both sides, which made it quite dangerous to cross: we basically had to walk on a little patch of snow over the creek that formed a bridge. And this piece will be gone soon, which is going to be even more problematic to cross.

After that, snow became almost constant companion. 5-10 or more feet of snow, often on the trail. Steep side slopes, and constant up-and-downs make a hike quite a challenge. Many blowdowns, and lots of places where you can’t see where snow cover ends and trail continues. We had to use GPS quite often.

We made it all the way to the approach to Cispus pass. Eastern exposure ensured that the whole stretch is covered with snow, and it’s quite a steep side slope. Since we did not have ice axes or crampons – we decided to turn around, and hike back.

In contrast to the other reviewer, we found plenty of water. There hasn’t been a mile of trail where we wouldn’t see a creek of some sorts.

July 25, 2011

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7/15/11 to 7/20/11 My girlfriend and I hiked from Bridge of the Gods to Road 60. The trail was nearly perfect. The trail has been recently maintained with only a few blowdowns left to cross. However, we also attempted to enter the Indian Heavens at road 60. Not the best idea. Immediately the trail went from snow patches to 3 to +5 feet of complete snow coverage. We managed to hike to Green Lake, but decided it was best to turn around. If you plan on doing this section be prepared for the snow, but most importantly bring maps, compass, and GPS. The trail really isn’t marked well enough to follow in the deep snow. In addition, we met a few other hikers who also stopped at Rd 60 and they said that the Stabler’s Store off Wind River Road is now closed, but the neighbors were holding all the mailed packages.

July 20, 2011

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7/16/2011 Hiked from Cascade Locks (2155 mi NB) to Rd#23 (2240 mi NB) Hitched out to Trout Lake. Snow cover still heavy above 4,500ft within trees. Did not attempt trail beyond Rd#23 since elevation increases sharply to approximately 6,000 ft and heavy snow completely covers the trail.

Photo by: Nathaniel Middleton