Having not been out since Sunday, I needed to find a fairly mellow hike to keep things moving in preparation for my plans to summit Mount Saint Helens tomorrow. The forecast was for clear skies so I settled on Sasse Mountain near Salmon la Sac since I missed out on the views on my recent trip to nearby Hex Mountain.
At 730 I left the car and followed a solid trench up the old road just south of the Henderson Creek Trail. We stayed left when one path split off toward Hex Mountain then left the road just before Howson Creek, heading directly towards point 5159. Around 3000 feet the snow surface rapidly changed from solid cascade concrete to deep fluffy powder.
I believed 5159 to be the only sub peak of Sasse Mountain with more than 200 feet of prominence. More on that later. From the endpoint of a knife,edge ridge just below the summit I had a clear view from Mount Daniels to Thompson Mountain.
We gained and lost a few 100 feet while avoiding several sketchy looking cornices along the ridge to Sasse. Tahoma and Mount Stuart each appeared several times along the ridge walk but thick forest blacks any view from the main summit.
Frigid wind from the NW continued to blow and the sun was free of clouds all day. A small front of darkish clouds lingered along the Cascade Crest into late afternoon. We exited along the north face of the west ridge (it turns out that the first peak along this ridge and the only on in my path that I choose not to summit, known as Not so Sasse, has at least 208ft of prominence. Oh well, I'll be back with reinforcements!) and joined the Henderson Creek Trail just after crossing the creek of the same name.