December traditionally is the gloomiest time in Western Washington. The country is hit with powerful rain and wind storms and is often cloudy 25 to 30 days of the month. It is the second wettest month of the year and the sun is at its lowest angle of year. In other words if you come out to Western Washington in December than you then prepare to disappointed.
Well that was not the case in 2017. We had ten straight days of sun and because of multiple temperature inversion we had been peaks with south facing slope become very doable without any snowshoes in winter. Amongst the most popular summit of the eastern summit of Beckler Peak. Everyday on the WTA website there was another trip report on Beckler Peak and each one stated how easy the conditions were. I talked to Steve and Amanda and we decided that this would be a good peak to go for it. I was starting to come down with bronchitis but I really wanted to do this peak while the weather was there. Thankfully I did because I had a blast on this mountain.
Standing on the top rock
The Trip Up
Ok it is December so sunlight is limited. I also gave this hike a later start which at first I thought I was going to regret. But we were make it up all the way to trailhead having no issues whatsoever. The lower part of trail had ice on it so I put on my microspikes. But soon enough the trail would go back and forth between being icy and being plain dirty. On this trip yet again I was the slowest one. But even at my slower pace we were really kicking it into high gear. We continued through the forest at a brisk pace largely because there was very little snow and ice on the trail. We encountered a couple of blowdowns but they were not too much of a problem. As we approached the higher summit we hit more snow but the trail was vry beaten in by then and within an hour and forty minutes we were chillin on the summit. I wish I took a picture on the way up but we were booken it.
Glacier Peak and hundreds of mountains
The summit rewarded us with excellent views of Glacier Peak and hundreds of mountains to the north. It also rewarded us with hundreds of summits to the south as well. There was a brief temptation to tag the western summit of Beckler as well but without an ice axe and potentially a rope we knew our chances were extremely slim so we spent an hour and took in all of the stunning views. What a great peak which actually fairly easy. I will probably do it again as a morning hike.
Beckler Peak view
Beckler Peak looking northwest
My friends standing on the top area.
On the top rock
Heading Down and Final Notes
Time to head down
Heading down was more of the same. Put the microspikes on for ten minutes then take them off for ten minutes. Steve at one point stared at his temperature and it said that we were 60 degrees. That is extremely warm for December in the mountains of Washington. We got down in an hour and 30 minutes. With the short days and the evening avalanche safety classes that was for this day but it was an excellent day to get out.
Heading down the trail
As for the ten days of spring in December the very next day the weather started to make a change. Soon it began to snow again in the mountains and rain in Seattle. I then came down with a full bout of bronchitis which ended my hiking for the rest of the year. By Christmas Eve it was snowing in Seattle and for the first time in 9 years we had a complete White Christmas. We ended the December with above average rainfall and the snow came back to the mountains. Still it was an incredible trip and a great way to the end another year in the mountains.