Mission Accomplished on Evergreen Mountain: Wallet Found
The Mission Defined: Looking for My Friend's Missing Wallet
Well it had been a month since I did a new summit and I was really getting new summit fever. In November I had done at least one hike a week but they were all mountains and hills that I had done before and I really wanted to get out and try some new summits. Last week I heard that one of my friends had lost their wallet on Evergreen Mountain so I decided that wanted I wanted to make that mountain my next destination.
Talking it over from some of my old friends Mike, Josh and Bad Dog and her dog Holly from NwHikers.net I decided to take a shot Saturday and head up to the summit of Evergreen Mountain. I thought that it would be a perfect warm up for my New Years Day potential plans. With 4400 of elevation gain and about 11 miles I knew this was going to be the perfect wake up call to get me out of my little new summit slump.
The forecast though throughout the week was for cold temperatures and potential snow. I kept that in mind for this trip up Evergreen. During the week Seattle was unusually dry and cold (sunny and temps in the 20’s) and it looked as if it would only warm up slightly on Saturday. But the forecast improved this Friday night and the trip was a go.
The Trip Up The Nasty Bootpath to the Snow
We started this hike around 9 am in the morning. The beginning of the route was snow free but it was a very steep bootpath with poor footing. It was a really butt kicker but this is what I was looking for. It was cold but going up a very steep path you learn to appreciate the cold here. Whoever left the tape on the trees was awesome though and I have to thank them for that because there were some parts of the uphill that we could not figure out where the trail was here. The route up here kept getting even steeper the higher we went and the footing here was a nightmare at time. Luckily there are no severe drop-offs on this bootpath.
Once we an eroded former logging road the trip became a little easier. We soon hit snow and the uphill was not nearly as bad. We followed a number of other boot-prints up the mountain as it crossed a number of other logging roads on the way up to Evergreen. We were taking a slower pace from being a little tired from the beginning. Views broke out at the 4000-foot point and soon we were discovering why Evergreen Mountain is such a great winter destination.
The Crux of the Trip: The Snowclimb
At the crux of the trip a 35 degree, 500 foot snow-climb up to the ridge of Evergreen we pulled out our axes and many of the others put on there crampons. I decided to stay with the Kotula Microspikes here and give it a shot since the snow was in good conditions and not very icy. We took it slow up this crux but it actually was not that bad at all. The snow held firm here but the traction was very good up to the ridge. I though was glad to bring my axe since a fall here would require a self-arrest.
Up at the ridge we followed the boot-prints as it went over a short hump to the final section of Evergreen Mountain. There we went up another 30 degree set up to the summit ridge. Though ten feet wide in places this section did require some care and I was thankful again for the axe. Views were amazing though going up this section. Once on the ridge it was just a matter of was wooded travel and staying on the ridge to the lookout. Again I was thankful for the ice axe here as some of this section had side traverses.
Mission Accompished: Wallet Found At The Lookout
Once at the lookout, it was time to check for the wallet. In a matter of two minutes I found the wallet. It looked like it had not been touched at all. I have since notified the person and hopefully he will come soon to get it. He is willing to give me a reward but I doubt I will take it because the guy is struggling himself and need all the money he can get. After finding the wallet, we all sat on the summit for a quick snack and enjoyed the wonderful views from this summit. Rainier, Three Fingers, Kyes Peak, Columbia Peak and literally hundreds of others can be seen from this amazing viewpoint. The viewpoint literally made you feel as if you were in the middle of the Cascades. Well worth the effort here for this amazing view. The view was yet another reminder why I love climbing and hiking here in the Cascades.
The Trip Down
It was 1:30 pm though and we had to head on down. We knew there was a possibility that we might have to headlamp the last steep poorly footed section to the car so we wanted to get down the snow section as quickly as possible. We headed back down at a good clip through the snow section. Caution was used here but the snow held well and we made it down both snow slopes at a safe yet good clip. On the way down I took a number of pictures to help document those sections of the trip. We could see that evening was coming around the corner so our pace down was much quicker. Going down the snow made for good footing and we were able to following the ribbons down to the bootpath section.
We made good enough time though that there was a possibility that we were not going to have to break out the headlamp. Once we hit the poorly footed bootpath though it was slow going. There were a couple places where I trip and felt while other places I was laying on my butt. For 1000 feet of elevation this trip was no fun. Once though we past the worst of it we though speed up. Darkness was approaching fast but the road was approaching faster. We kept or pace fast but would it be fast enough??
Then we saw the road at 4:00 pm and knew we were going to make it in time. At about 4:10 we approached the car. It was just 2 minutes later that we were approached by a park ranger who just wanted to make sure we would be down before dark. He seemed like a nice guy and after a brief conversation headed up to check on some others. Judging by the sunlight if we were just 15 minutes later we would have been forced to use headlamps (we all had one and I always carry two). That would have not been fun on the nasty bootpath.
It was a great trip in every respect. The most important thing was that I found my friends wallet. We all enjoyed terrific views and had a great time on this trip. The trip was a great success and I hope to do many more with this crew. Awesome job by everyone today.