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Monday, July 18, 2016

Another big two-summit loop: Catherine & Silver, Snoqualmie Pass, WA on 2016.07.14

A very different hike on Thursday than last week's Davis Peak, as the topo shows. Up to Snoqualmie Pass and south beyond the ski slopes to the Cold Creek trailhead. Twin Lakes are at the bottom of a bowl that I looped around counterclockwise, with side trips to summit Mt. Catherine then Silver Peak, and including a few miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. About 12 miles roundtrip and 3900 feet of climbing altogether. Lots of storm-downed trees on the Mt. Catherine trail which is little-maintained, some 4 and 5 feet in diameter that were a considerable challenge to get past. This hike has a lot of everything: old forest, lakes and streams and waterfalls, enormous views, tortured mountain landscapes, deep shade and bright sunlight. Highly recommended.

The wind really blows up here sometimes.

Upon Mt. Catherine's summit, formerly the site of an aircraft navigation beacon for Snoqualmie Pass over the Cascades. The guy cables and front panel of an equipment box are about all that remain.

From Mt. Catherine, looking across the Cold Creek basin around which I walked. My next destination was Silver Peak, on the right. Abiel is the next peak, then Tinkham, with Rainier in the background.

Lake Keechelus and off into eastern Washington.

 The Pacific Crest Trail at Windy Pass.

In Ollalie Meadow, one of my favorite alpine lakes.

After side-hilling through the forest beneath Silver on the PCT, a first glimpse of the southern ridge I'll eventually climb.

From the Tinkham/Abiel/Silver saddle, looking north at Silver.

Felsenmeer. This is really steep, and a lot of the stones move at least a little when trod upon. 

Up up up.

From Silver Peak, looking back at Mt. Catherine.

This is a really pointy summit.

And down down down again.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

So many mountains! Davis Peak, Snoqualmie Pass region, Washington Cascades

Over Snoqualmie Pass yesterday onto the dry eastern slopes of the Cascades, to Cle Elum, Roslyn, Salmon La Sac, and after a couple hours of driving arrived at the Davis Peak trailhead at 7:00. This hike is about 11 miles roundtrip and 4000 feet of climbing up to 6490 ft, about a thousand feet higher than I'd climbed yet this season. As the topo map shows, this is a trail of relentless switchbacks heading due north up the mountain. Deep forest eventually gives way to an old burn zone and flower-filled alpine meadows and finally to naked rock. The named summit is the site of an old fire lookout of which nothing remains but some desultory bits of lumber and ironmongery, and a pile of stone remade as a hiker's shelter. The true summit is another half-mile along a narrow ridge. There is very little real estate at the top, but the views! Mountains, mountains, mountains.

The trail first descends to Paris Creek then plunges into the forest and shortly after the switchbacks begin.

The trail begins at about the elevation of Lake Cle Elum and ascends this far before a view opens.

A false summit. The trail swings around to the right across a bowl.

The ruined tower.

On to the true summit.

Up on top, barely enough room to turn around. Lake Cle Elum again, and volcano Rainier in the center.

A shallow tarn directly below, then Opal Lake, and Terrence Lake in the distance.

From the true summit looking back toward the lookout site at the end of the ridge.

And down again.

The Cascades' ridgeline, holding back the marine layer on the west side.

Paris Creek.