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WA in Feb

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WA in Feb

Postby labgloves » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:57 pm

Howdy,

Looks like work will take me to Seattle in mid-February. I will have between 1-3 days to myself to get outdoors . . . I've never been to the Pacific Northwest and am starting to plan with a blank slate. I'm a very fit hiker, a lousy climber, and have a great love of winter.

Where would you go if you had a day or three?

Any can't miss books (literature or guide) that I should read?

Thanks!
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Re: WA in Feb

Postby nhluhr » Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:39 pm

labgloves wrote:Howdy,

Looks like work will take me to Seattle in mid-February. I will have between 1-3 days to myself to get outdoors . . . I've never been to the Pacific Northwest and am starting to plan with a blank slate. I'm a very fit hiker, a lousy climber, and have a great love of winter.

Where would you go if you had a day or three?

Any can't miss books (literature or guide) that I should read?

Thanks!
start with wta.org for a list of documented hikes in the region. Keep in mind, road closures affect a large portion of higher elevation trailheads in winter so check the appropriate DOT, National Forest, or National Park website for latest info.
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Postby jordansahls » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:50 pm

Lots of good options in the I-90 corridor just outside of Seattle. Granite mountain comes to mind as a good option. Its snowy, steep, and has great views of Rainier on a clear day. However, the popular route sits in an avalanche path, so you have to be careful this time of year. You can bypass most of the dangerous terrain by sticking in the trees just left of the prominent gully in the picture below and hitting the ridge. The ridge is very windswept.

Image

Other easier options are Mailbox and Big Si. Both gain around 4k in about 3 miles (mailbox is steeper than Si) but both are on trails and require no special skills.

I'm not to sure on what your looking for. If you give me some specifics (ie how far you are willing to drive, ect.) I might be able to give you a better idea of your options.
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Postby labgloves » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:43 am

Thanks both of you! The state has so much to offer that I am overwhelmed.

Granite seems like a nice option as do several of the snowshoes mentioned on the wta.org page.

I'm imagining a series of solo day-hikes with car-camping in between. If I end up with a full 3 days to explore I'd be willing to drive pretty far (up to ~4-5 h (each way))? If I only end up with a day, I'd prefer to spend less time in the car. I'd fly up ax, pons, and shoeshoes, using whatever was appropriate on the day.

Steep snow is great! (condition dependent) Spicy scrambling is 'fun', as are horrible death marches. But, mellow hikes are cool too.
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Postby Mark Straub » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:15 am

McClellan Butte North Couloir is in great shape right now. It's an awesome steep snow climb, you'll love it!

-Mark
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Postby Snidely Whiplash » Fri Feb 05, 2010 10:15 pm

If you're looking to hike, I'd start out with Mt. Si. It's close to Seattle (exit 36 off I-90 if I remember correctly), and it's open year-round, regardless of the weather. It's about 4 miles each way with a 3,400 foot elevation gain, so it's a nice work out.

BTW, we are experiencing one of the warmest winters on record here in the PNW. Snowpack in the mountains is well below normal and the snow levels are much higher than normal. A hike up Si should be entirely snow-free right now. It should also be possible to drive down to Mt. Rainier, and from Paradise at 5400 feet, have a fun hike (on snowshoes) up to Panorama Point and beyond. Leavenworth is a fun destination east of Seattle, and there are some great hikes out of there. In this year's dry conditions, you may be able to hike quite a ways up the Icicle Creek Ridge Trail.

Of course, this could all change in the next couple weeks if we get hit with some good storms. Right now, the long-range forecast doesn't see any major storms coming, and a continuation of the status quo seems to be the most likely situation until late February.
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