Washington

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.

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By: Jack Haskel

Packers in the Goat Rocks area report that a section of the tread north of Old Snowy (both hiker and equestrian routes) are too hazardous to support equestrian traffic. The conditions are a combination of landslides and trail slump, which leaves little to no surface in several locations. For folks not familiar with section, there are 1000 foot drops on both side of this ridge. GPS coordinates for the southern limit of this area:

N46 30.862 W121 27.651 (sign and junction of stock route and hiker route at Old Snowy.

There is no reasonable detour in this landscape; the best advice is to plan on shuttling around to White Pass to continue northern travel or return to the south on the PCT to Elk Pass, which is the northern limit of this dangerous section.

Hikers are able to negotiate the poor trail conditions.

August 28, 2012

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By: Linda Sheehan

We did the section from Snoq Pass to Stevens Pass from 8/20-8/23. It was in fine shape except for brush in a few places (above Waptus Lk)where I did take a spill! Lemah Crk was no problem to cross. The stream (can we please get a name for this one?)that pours out of Daniel was horendous to look at, but in the morning it was pretty easy to cross (we had a dog and waited until it dropped).

It got cold two nights, which helped for the bugs. Water was ok and plentiful in places but will be harder in a few weeks esp. from Lemah Crk to Waptus River. This section is so scenic, we were glad for the folks from out of town that they could see and appreciate the beauty of these mountains and the flowers.

Two friends tried the alternate rte. from Snow Lk through the Middle Fork Snoqualmie to Dutch Miller Gap. Absolutely not recommended. Trail in very poor shape, brushy and buggy.

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 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.

August 13, 2012

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I hiked Washington section J during 8-13 Aug 2012, taking the Waptus River / Hyus Lake alternate route

I experienced no major problems. A few easily-crossed patches of snow the first ~15 miles north of Snoqualmie Pass. Some blowdown in places, but only a few that were somewhat difficult. Trail severely overgrown with brush in places, most notably coming down ridge before Walpus River – need to take care there not to slip off trail and down steep slope while avoiding brush.