August 10, 2012

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8/12/12 Did a trail run from top of Chinook to Cougar Lake and back. PCT clear all the way w/ some minor patches of snow & mud. Trail to Cougar Lake was a bit overgrown and muddy w/ 1 blow down. Not many bugs out.

August 8, 2012

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We left Rainy Pass July 23. Spent the night at an unofficial camp site above Porcupine Creek. Climbed through minor snow to Cutthroat Pass the next day. Had to turn back about 500 yards short of Granite Pass.

I met a retired park ranger the next day. He said that Granite was one of the most snowed-in passes in the North Cascades and should not be tried this time of year without an ice ax.

August 7, 2012

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I hiked WA section I from 1-6 Aug 2012. Trail mostly clear and, in most places, good to excellent condition. A few snow patches at higher elevations between White Pass and Chinook Pass, and approaching Snoqualmie Pass, but nothing I found difficult or dangerous. Some downfall in places, but only a couple that were slightly difficult to cross.

August 6, 2012

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Snow/Ice covering certain parts of Chikamin Ridge; got through without crampons and ice picks, but wished we had them. These sections should soon melt, due to the high temperatures we encountered upon trip.

August 5, 2012

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I hiked from Snoqualmie Pass to Stevens Pass from 7/29 to 8/4.

There are still some snow patches at higher elevations. There are still some steep snow patches near Chikamin Pass and above Spectacle Lake that I needed an ice axe to cut steps to get over safely.

A few overgrown areas, not many down trees.

I avoided the ford of the creek that drains the Mt Daniel glacier by hiking down to Cle Elem. A ranger I saw on the trail said that the ford was chest deep.

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.

July 30, 2012

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White pass to chinook pass: much more snow than we expected! Snow on all north facing slopes and in all lake basins. No visable trail for many miles, map and or GPS required. The sun was melting away any footprints within hours. Dangerous steep snow chutes the last mile into chinook pass; microspikes and poles were helpful and saved us from nasty falls twice! Lots of water in this area. There is some melted out camping on Dewey lake at the far north end, but most lake areas are snow or mud covered. Mosquitos were vicious through here and didn’t respond to deet. Lastly, when you get to the shelter (which has 6-12″ of water in it) you should continue to the right around the lake! There is yellow ribbon marking the WRONG trail off the left through the snow! It’ll save you a lot of time if you don’t go the wrong way:)

Chinook pass to Stampede Pass: snow free! Even above 6500ft! Watch your water supply, there is no water from saddle gap for about 11 miles and in other stetches in this area. We were caught off guard since the water had been so plentiful before Chinook. The off trail water sources indicated on our gps, postholer maps, and halfmiles app were all well marked and running stong. We did run into some bright orange arrows along the trail an some junctions, we’re not sure what they were for but didnt follow them as our maps said it wasn’t the PCT!

The outhouse under the powerlines is still there but VERY full and splashing is possible! Also the toilet seat is not attached, don’t fall in!!

We were passed by 4 Southbound and 5 northbound thru hikers, including Mouse, Dwayne, and Alex