Section K Washington

Washington Section K

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By: Eeyore
August 12th, 2014

A friend and I walked from Rainy Pass to Stevens Pass from August 2 through the 8th. The trail was generally easy to follow, and snow was not a problem with only a few patches in the high passes. The periodic brushy conditions between Stehekin and Red Pass were much more troublesome, sometimes being shoulder high on 6 foot men. There were also quite a few windfalls, up to 6 feet in diameter, with lots of water on, or crossing, the trail. All in all the wildflowers in full bloom and the amazing vistas made up for the trail conditions.

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

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By: Jes Shap
July 11th, 2014

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.

Glacier Peak Wilderness – horse issues

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By: Bob Woods
July 11th, 2014

From Stevens Pass, it is still recommended to trailer stock north to the Buck Creek Trailhead thus avoiding the Glacier Peak Wilderness. The area hasn’t seen maintenance in over a decade due to flooding and access issues. This will be a major focus area for maintenance in 2015 once access is restored.

Buck Creek Trail #1513 (9.5 miles) to Buck Creek Pass (where it becomes Buck Creek Pass Trail #789). The trail is in decent condition. Respect private property at Trinity by staying on the trail as you pass through.

Buck Creek Pass Trail #789 (5 miles) to the PCT. The trail is rough in places.

Work Closes Suiattle Road to Foot and Vehicle Traffic

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August 26th, 2013

Everett, Wash., Aug. 26, 2013—Heavy construction will close Suiattle River Road 11.5 miles east of Highway 530 Sept. 6 through Oct. 10 to pedestrians, equestrians, bicyclists and vehicles on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.  After Oct. 10 the road will reopen to foot traffic, but remain closed to vehicles.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/mbs

This closure blocks access to the Pacific Crest Trail from the Suiattle River Trail, Miners Ridge Trail to Image Lake and Downey Creek Trail. Check road and trail conditions or call Darrington Ranger District for more information at 360-436-1155.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mbs/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5150570

 

South Agnes Creek bridge closure

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By: Jack Haskel
January 18th, 2013

The foot-log across South Fork Agnes Creek, near Hemlock, is broken and closed. PCT travelers can ford the creek if conditions allow. During high water, travelers can detour around the ford by hiking the South Fork Agnes Trail to Suiattle Pass. If the creek is low enough, staying on the PCT is the best option. The South Fork Agnes Trail has rotten boardwalks that are OK for hikers but not safe for stock. Hikers report that this alternate trail is brushy, in disrepair and hazardous.  Stock users should use the ford next to the collapsed log and use the PCT if they can.

September 7, 2012

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By: Jon Smith

I hiked Stevens Pass to Suiattle Pass August 26-29, exiting over Cloudy Pass to Holden Village. Very minor nuisance snow patches north of Red Pass. North of Fire Creek Pass, unless it’s warm out and the snow is soft, you should go around the highest snowfield on the rocks to the left. A woman took a long slide here on 8/27 and may have broken her collarbone. Mica Lake was still basically frozen over. (Lake Sally Ann had entirely thawed.)

The trail up from Milk Creek was still very overgrown, but enough people had passed through by then that you really couldn’t lose the trail. Trail is in excellent condition from Vista Creek all the way to Suiattle Pass–especially the new trail leading to the new bridge.

August 20, 2012

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Left Stevens Pass on August 14th. Trail was cleared of trees until beyond Valhalla, then began to find some down, which continued for the remainder of the trip. There’s no way horses could complete Section K due to this.

Approaching Grizzly Peak, the wild flowers are out in full force! Water was not a problem on this whole trip, as nearly all streams are flowing well.

Lake Sally Ann was still partially frozen, but thawing very quickly.

White Pass was gorgeous with it’s flower show! There was still some snow to cross on the north side of Red Pass, but not a huge deal.

Fire Creek pass was also pretty snowy on the north side and route finding was required. An ice axe would have been nice, but not absolutely required on several sketchy & steep slopes. Just be sure to cross in the afternoon when the snow is soft. The basin below Fire Creek Pass was still snowed in. Mica Lake was nearly completely frozen over with only a slight amount of water showing around the edges.

The steep 2000′ climb just north of Milk Creek was a complete jungle!! I’ve never seen weeds so thick on the trail! Heck, we couldn’t even SEE the trail and most of the weeds were head high!

More BADLY overgrown trail descending down the switchbacks toward Vista Creek. WTA & Forest Service crews are tackling dozens of HUGE blowdowns along Vista Creek from about the 3500′ level, down to the new Suiattle Bridge trail. You’ll have to belly crawl under some if the crew hasn’t gotten to them yet. We had to bail on the 19th, at the Suiattle River, so no beta from there on north.

Bridge Creek

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August 15th, 2012

The bridge across Bridge Creek (~2 PCT miles south of Rainy Pass) is broken and closed. Fording Bridge Creek may be difficult and dangerous during periods of high water. PCT travelers should consider staying on the east side of Bridge Creek between Fireweed Camp and Highway 20.