Breakfast at Welldiggers
Map of the Route
Before I start with the trip report I had a hard time trying to put an appropriate title to this trip report. Writing a trip report on a peak name Welldiggers Ass and having the title be appropriate was quiet a challenge. If your mind can sink low you can come up with some interesting titles. But for me SummitPost is responsible site and so I thought this title would be most appropriate for this trip.
Well it was another winter wet weekend in Washington and it did not look so good for a hike. All week they were calling for cloudy and rainy skies and things did not look so good. I invited a number of my friends on a hike on the weekend and most were not interested. But then I noticed a minor hole in the weather and after talking with my friend Gabe we decided to do a peak that was located right off of Stevens Pass called Welldiggers Ass. I had to be at work rather early so we had to leave early in the morning. Our final decision to go up to Welldiggers Ass was at 4 am and by 5 am we were on the road.
Gabe did most of the driving while I did most of the sleeping on the way up. Just as the weather man said there was a break in the weather and Gabe and I didn't run into any bad weather on the way up. If fact Gabe only encountered some fog on the way up. The roads were clear and were quickly at the trailhead and ready to climb.
On the way Up
Once we left the trailhead by the Stevens Pass Ski Area overflow lot we on our way up the hard crusty snow. This snow was very compact and at times around 4000 feet and it was nearly ice in some spots. For the past two weeks the weather was mixed will snow and higher elevation rain in the higher altitude that week which a very solid layer below. I put on my microspikes on the snow while Gabe who did not traction devices put on his snowshoes. For me there was little in the way of post-holing until we hit the ridge-line at 5000 feet making great speed while doing it.
Once I started to post-hole I decided to take off my microspikes and put on the snowshoes. Gabe from here to the summit did what little trail breaking there was to get to the summit of Welldiggers Ass. On the way up to the summit we encountered plenty of fine views. But the best view was from the saddle between a sub-summit to the west and Welldiggers Ass. We continued up the ridge of Welldiggers Ass to the true summit passing the recently burnt out area on the way up. From there it was just a nice gentle rise to the true summit.
Though the true summit barely had views through the forest the view just 100 yards to the east toward Middle Chiwaukum and Arrowhead was excellent. Gabe and I stopped at the viewpoint to enjoy our breakfast on the summit. It was cloudy so I am sure the views are better when it is clear but we knew we hit perfect with the weather because this views was far better than what we expected below.
Racing On Down
We spent about an hour on the summit but then had to head back in a hurry. I had work in just a couple of hours and it was full speed back down the mountain. The weather was beginning to change as we were heading back and started to become very windy. There were also some flurries on the way back which really raised concerned. I definitely was feeling the pressure to head back as soon as I could! He made really good time though heading down and were back at the car in an hour when I then realized we were going to be at least two hours early.
The weather had held of just long enough for us to make it back to the trailhead and head on back. Just as Gabe made it over the pass we noticed the clouds quickly moving in. We knew we made it to the summit and back just in time. On the way down it started to rain heavy below. We knew that meant snow for Stevens Pass but luckily now we did not have to worry about. Also Gabe and I did make it back easily for me to be two hours early to work!!
I want to thank Gabe for making it on the trip, driving and breaking the trail when it needed to be broken. All the marathon running he did in the past really made him strong on this trip. As for Welldiggers Ass, I think this is the best mountain to go up if the conditions are questionable. There is very little in the way of avalanche by the route and the views are very good. I also think a first time snowshoer would enjoy this mountain very much! Expect me to bring BearQueen hear next time I go this peak.