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Showing posts with label Snowshoeing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snowshoeing. Show all posts

When The Ski Season Is Over : 8 Snow Activities To Do At Your Local Ski Area

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Just because the lifts stopped running, doesn't mean the snow season is over. Well into the spring, there is still plenty of snow in the mountains, crowds are gone, and the weather and the snow conditions are sometimes better than during the winter months.

Below are 8 snow activities that you can do at your local ski area :

Learn Backcountry Basics At Alpental, WA For Free

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If you are an avid backcountry traveller, you know that you must have "the standard " avalanche gear: beacon, probe and a shovel. But unfortunately, there are lots of people who think that having the right gear is all they need to venture beyond ski area boundaries. But just like the great American writer Mark Twain once said, "Knowledge without experience is just information".

Snowshoe Routes Washington

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In my opinion snowshoeing is not rocket science. It's one of those outdoor sports/activities that doesn't require special training or great physical shape. Just put on your snowshoes and go. But where to ?

The biggest challenge with snowshoeing is not the activity itself, but finding the right destination. Where to go, how to find the trailhead, the distance, average time, steepness,landscape...

That's why Snowshoe Routes Washington is the must-have guide for beginners and advanced winter hikers who will appreciate the detailed trail descriptions, photos, and personal narratives. When it is raining during the Seattle winter - grab your shoes, this book and head out. Your are sure to find deep powder and a great trail.

Remember, don't solely rely on the book. I know people who use guide books as "the maps". Wherever you go, don't forget to bring a topo map of the region, check the avalanche conditions before heading out, let somebody know where you are going, check in with a ranger at the station ( if there is one), leave a note in your car with the details of your trip and expected return time ( did I forget 10 essentials ?).

The outings described in the book are for all skill levels, from beginner to experienced mountaineer. Many are within easy driving distance from metropolitan regions including Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellingham, Olympia, and Yakima. Most trips start from Sno-Park areas for easy access.

Snowshoeing Alpental Backcountry - Snow Lake

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Snowshoeing in Washington state

I almost gave up on snowshoeing this year. After my first "backcountry ski" trip to Mt Margaret this winter, I thought it would be boring going back to snowshoeing. I am glad I kept my snowshoes.

It doesn't matter if you prefer snowshoes or touring skis, there is no substitute for getting out in the backcountry when it is snowed over. But keep in mind that backcountry can be a very dangerous place in winter.

7 Reasons To Try Snowshoeing This Winter

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If you’re looking for something different and a bit quirky to adopt as this winter’s outdoor activity, consider taking up snowshoeing.

Mellower than sledding and less painful than snowball fighting, snowshoeing may be the perfect way for you to get outside and enjoy the crisp air of the winter months. You won’t have to deal with lift-lines and screaming tourist children.

Here are 7 more reasons to try out snowshoeing this winter:

1. See your favorite nature spot in all its wintry glory.

There’s nothing like rediscovering your favorite hike from a winter perspective. Everything is calm and quietly blanketed in snow, and snowshoes enable you to hike off-trail and into densely-wooded terrain you wouldn’t reach otherwise. Be prepared to feel slightly God-like. Photo by a4gpa

2. It’s a great workout.

Feeling fatty after all that delicious holiday food? According to Calorie Counter, snowshoeing can burn up to 330 calories in 30 minutes. That’s all the calories in a Burger King Whopper Jr. or one sip of Grandma’s eggnog. Snowshoeing is also better on your body’s joints than walking or running, since the snow cushions the impact.

 3. You’d have to be an idiot to get lost.

Just follow your tracks back to the car. Unless it snows over the trail. Then you’re just plain screwed. (Or you’ve properly prepared for a winter outing with map, compass (and / or GPS), extra food, clothing, and emergency shelter).

4. Snowshoeing is exponentially cheaper than skiing or snowboarding.

With average lift ticket prices creeping past $79 (and don’t forget to add in equipment costs), you’ve got to have money just to get on the mountain. At around $20 for an all-day rental, you can’t beat snowshoeing for getting the most bang out of your buck. And for less than $100, you can get a pair of brand new snowshoes ! Like this Atlas Unisex Snowshoe

 5. If you can walk, you can snowshoe.

It might feel a bit funny at first, but just put one foot in front of the other and voilà! You’re snowshoeing, baby! Snowshoeing’s simplicity makes it an ideal family sport, as everyone from little Bobby to weird old Aunt Esther can probably manage.

 6. Snowshoeing is gentle on the environment.

In the same way that snowshoeing is kinder on your joints, it’s also less detrimental to the environment. The snow buffers the earth against the impact of hikers and campers, cutting back on trail erosion and other effects of heavy use.

 7. It just sounds cool! 

“What did you do today, Mick?” “Oh, you know, I went snowshoeing.” Right on!

Credit : This blog post is courtesy of Matador Network.

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Hive Snowshoes Combine Snowshoeing And Skiing

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If you're new to snowshoeing and are ready to buy your first pair, you might get overwhelmed by all the brands, types, and styles. When I got introduced to this popular winter activity 4 years ago, and figured out what had worked for me, I tried to make it easier for my readers to make a choice by writing a short post on how to chose your snowshoes.

During my last snowshoe outing with EverGreen Escapes I used a pair of MSR Evo Snowshoes

Light, durable, and unisex,they also have good cleats that are equally suited to backcountry travel and groomed trails. Climbing the somewhat steep slopes of the Paradise Valley was easy and enjoyable. But on the way down I really envied skiers and snowboarders blasting past us on their split boards and BC skis.

Recently, I read about one German company that had designed a unique pair of snowshoes that double as a sort of short ski or glider.
This product is a new type of winter sports products - a reinterpretation and development of the traditional snowshoe.It combines hiking on a mountain with the subsequent “drive-down” in one product. Link
While this snowshoes won't exactly tackle the same range of terrain that a pair of big mountain skis would, they will allow you to hike uphill and then glide back down rather than stumbling your way down step by step.

Cross Country Skiing And Snowshoeing MTTA ( Mt Tahoma Trails Association )

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Below is the most detailed, first hand, personally provided information on xc ( cross country ) skiing and snowshoeing MTTA in South District to High Hut, Yurt and Bruni's Snow Bowl Hut.

Hut-to-hut skiing is extremely popular in Europe. The most spectacular of hut-to-hut trails, the Haute Route through the French and Swiss Alps, is also spectacularly crowded: Cross-country pilgrims share the circuit with about 200 other skiers each day, then bunk with them at night in huge dorms festooned with sopping garments.

North America has built its own portfolio of equally impressive hut-to-huts in the years since WWII, when at least one veteran who had served as a special ski trooper in Europe returned home and later re-created the famous Alps circuits in his own backyard.

Hut-to-hut backcountry skiing has been on my Bucket List since I found out you don't need to go to Europe to have this unique experience.

A series of snow huts south of Mount Rainier near Ashford offer this amazing adventure. The Mount Tahoma trail and hut system has about 50 miles of trail (20 of it groomed), three huts and a yurt.

My plan was to spend a night at High Hut, and to wake up the next morning to have my breakfast with the view of Mt Rainier ! But unfortunately, due to its popularity, the huts were booked quickly that weekend , so instead, I had one of my epic mini/day adventures.

Here are a few tips I wish I knew before going to MTTA:

  • Do stop at the MTTA office in Ashford to get the latest info on road conditions, and directions to the Snow Park.
Look for 29815 Washington 706, Ashford, WA 98304  The address is for Ashford Fire Station, and MTTA office is located BEHIND it ( there was no sign, and was confusing to find ).

  • MOST IPORTANT -  don't forget to bring BOTH - Discover Pass AND Snow Park permit ( you can also buy both at nearby Whittaker Mountaineering store ( $22 for a day/$42 for annual Snow Park permit ). The MTTA patrollers are Nazis when it comes to writing out tickets for not having either one of the permits.

Directions to the Snow park :
  • Chances are, at MTTA office you'll be given a crappy, confusing map to the snow park. Here is an easier way : when you turn right on Kernahan Road, look for Paradise Estate on your right, stop, and look closely for the sign to the snow park (SF 85). If you continue on HWY 52/Skate Creek Rd, you'll end up on a snowmobile/snowshoeing one way trail ( me and another idiot actually drove our cars on that trail until we realized we were lost ).

The drive to the Snow Park :
  • Honestly, unless you drive 4x4 or you have faith in your vehicle, I wouldn't drive there in winter.
The road is a narrow, two way dirt road that is dotted with potholes. The few days before my visit the area had experienced a heavy snow storm which turned the road to the snow park into a one way, poorly plowed, rails-free death track. Even if you have 4x4, make sure you carry chains at all times as the weather at Mt Rainier is very unpredictable.

All three huts (High Hut, Yurt and Bruni's Snow Bowl Hut) are located in South District, and share the same Snow Park/trail (to certain extent).

The Trail:
  • The first ~1.5 mile the trail is gradually climbing up to the junction. This is the portion of the trail that is wide, groomed and well packed. 
  • This portion of the trail is so packed, that, honestly, you wouldn't even need skis or snowshoes. You can just hike ! It will keep you light and fast ! ( as you can see from the picture on top ).
Also, this portion of the trail is groom and very hard packed, but... there are NO broken tracks for xc (cross country) skiers ( which makes it hard to ski), and because it's hard pack, it really doesn't make sense to use your snowshoes.

The Junction:

  • Here the trail breaks into two directions : to High Hut (on your right), and to Yurt and Bruni's on your left.

From Junction To High Hut:

  • This portion of the trail is "poorly groomed". The tracks for snowshoers are narrow and barely broken. Once again, no tracks for skiers. I ended up hiking this part of the trail also.

The Hut:

  • Honestly I imagined it to be a bit ... roomier. Depending on occupancy, the hut can get pretty crowded. There are a couple of bunk beds on the "first floor", and more floor space on the "second level".

 Snowshoeing/Skiing With Dogs ?

  • Dogs are allowed on MTTA trails, BUT... NOT in the huts.... Also, if you're traveling with your dog(s), PLEASE KEEP THEM ON THE LEASH !

The Atmosphere:

  • Are you a social butterfly ? Do you like spending your nights in the company of complete strangers ? How about listening to their boring pathetic life stories ? Personally, I lasted about 15 minutes before getting the hell out of there, and I was glad I didn't reserve the night in the hut.

But if you're an introvert like me, and do decide to spend a night at the hut, and have your morning breakfast with the killer view of Mt Rainier, consider brining some booze, ear plugs, and your favorite book to survive the night.

Want to get into cross country skiing ?
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Snowshoeing Mt Rainier With EverGreen Escapes

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Snowshoeing at Mt Rainier is #1 on the list of "10 Ways To Experience Mt. Rainier This Winter" suggested by the official website for Mt. Rainier travel and vacations.

With more than 16 trails of various length and difficulty, it might be a bit overwhelming to decide where to go, especially if you're new to the area ( or snowshoeing in general ).

After my last snowshoe trip , I finally decided to pull the plug on this hobby, sold my snowshoes, and was getting ready to switch to ski touring. Skiing up to Camp Muir and then down to Paradise has been on my Bucket List for a while. But after our "failed" attempt to reach Paradise in December, I was a bit freaked out to drive there and almost gave up to ever see Mt Rainier in winter.

Before, I mentioned that there were a few ways to visit the park...but mostly in summer. If you're visiting our state ( or like me, hate driving ) in winter you're pretty much limited to : driving with a friend, renting a car, or joining EverGreen Escapes on their Full-Day Mt. Rainier Snowshoe Tour

Unlike big tour buses, their small (but luxury ) Mercedes van provides intimate atmosphere and a chance to get to know people you're traveling with. We made our first stop at Kautz Creek trail head to stretch our legs, get a cup of coffee with some pastries, and to snap a "preview of the Mountain".

At Paradise, we strapped on our snowshoes, and after a short briefing were on our way to explore the park's winter trails.

Another thing I loved about the tour was "the freedom to roam". Unlike many "organized trips" I've been on before, the atmosphere during this trip was very casual.

Though, you are expected to stay with the group, you can still keep up your own pace. If during the summer months you would have to stick to the trail, in winter you can chose to use the existing trails, or feel free to forge your own path !

My only concern was about a few people, who might have underestimated "the Mountain". I can't stress enough the importance of being prepared in the outdoors, and especially in the mountains.
Weather in the park is notoriously quick to change, and sudden storms can appear with little or no warning...
Though it was a picture perfect bluebird day, the wind was reaching 25-30 MPH with the temperatures in the low 30's. A couple people were not wearing any headgear, gloves, another person was wearing very light hiking shoes...Our guide mentioned that a week before they had to hike in complete white-out conditions.

Remember, surviving in the mountains is not just challenging, it's also expensive :

Lost Mt. Rainier Snowshoer Burned Money to Stay Alive

Skiing Mt St Helens !

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Last year I wrote about Matt Bedrin and his dream to ski all 40 of Cascadia’s tallest volcanoes in one year...Pretty ambitious...Just before writing this post I checked back on his progress...looks like after volcano #10 ( Mt Scott ) he gave up on his dream...

Well, I didn't !

My dream wasn't that big. Inspired by his video, all I wanted to do was to go back to Mt St Helens ( I hiked the volcano in the summer time two years ago ) to see the volcano under a blanket of snow, which, as we know, makes everything more beautiful ( honestly, summer hike didn't impress me at all ). Another reason was to test my "new backcountry ski gear".

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/089886884X/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=089886884X&link_code=as3&tag=paulslinks-20Snowshoe Routes Washington ( my trusted snowshoe guide ) describes "Mt St Helens Summit" as:

Rating: Backcountry
Round trip: 8 miles
Hiking time : 9 hours
Best season: late December through early February

First of all, I wouldn't call it "Backcountry" , as it doesn't require any navigation/path finding skills, and avalanche danger ( comparing to Alpental or any other "true" backcoutry ) is minimum to non-existing. That's why, this trip is perfect for novice snowshoers who are looking for a challenge, minus all the danger associated with backcounty travel.

When it comes to "best season", immediately after watching the video ( beginning of February 2010 ) I made my first trip to Mt St Helens. The weather was horrible, and the road to Marble Mountain Sno-Park parking lot was closed. That's why this time, I had to to keep a close eye on the weather and snow conditions.

Thanks to La Nina, this year, we've had lots of snow in the mountains. Though it was in the middle of the spring, with more daylight, warm weather, lot's of sun and plenty of snow, the conditions were perfect for this epic trip !
On this climb up Mt St Helens, snowshoers can simply walk straight up the deep snow piled on the flanks of the big volcano, taking a direct approach to the rim of the massive crater.
That's pretty much the whole description of the route. Before you leave treeline, you follow xc ski trail # 244 which is perfectly marked. So, chances to get lot are slim to none.

Regardless of whether you want to snowshoe or ski Mt St Helens, this trip is VERY DOABLE FOR ANYBODY IN GOOD PHYSICAL SHAPE.
I got to share the mountain with a great group of people who call themselves " Wednesday Grandmas", whose oldest member was...58 !

So, if you proudly call yourself "outdoorsy", visiting Mt St Helens in winter is a must.

Next year goal : " Running to the top of Mt St Helens ...barefoot "

Skiing/snowshoeing Mount Margaret

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One of my Bucket List adventures for this year was to venture into backcountry, skiing or snowshoeing. AT/Telemark ski gear and backcountry essentials ( beacon/shovel/probe ) might be quite expensive, so I decided to use my cross country skis for some "ski touring".

Since there is no avalanche danger, snowshowing/skiing Mount Margaret is safe and is great for beginners, but at the same time it gives you that feeling of "exploring the backcountry".

That was my first time at Mt Margaret, and I absolutely loved it !

Though, in winter it's a very popular snowshoe route, I'd personally recommend to use skis. Believe me, you'll get a greater workout, and the way down will be a breeze. Classic/touring skis will work just fine, and you won't even need the skins. At Summit East ( formally known as Hayk ) you can rent a pair of skis for the day.

Even if you choose to stick to your snowshoes, make the trip down fun !

Use an airboard, snowbike, or a snowskate

I'm not giving the description of the trail, since you can easily find it either on WTA web site or in Snowshoe Routes Washington book.

How to choose your first pair of snowshoes

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Recently, I stumbled upon an article on the Olympian.com where the author ( not sure who that was ) tried to give "professional advice" on how to choose a pair of snowshoes to a person who had absolutely no idea about snowshoeing.

In my post " Choosing snowshoes is rocket science ", I might have exaggerated a bit, and may be, even confused somebody.

Here, I will try to simplify it even more.

Basically, it comes to just two things : snowshoes size and price.

Most snowshoes nowadays come with numbers on them like 22, 25, 30, 36, which stand for recommended weight they will support:

22 - for user 75 - 140 lbs
25 - for user 140 - 180 lbs
30 - for user 160 - 220 lbs
36 - for over 200 lbs

That's all you need to know. But even for that there is an exception. Buying one size up/down won't really matter, because, chances are, as a beginner you'll be traveling on well groomed/used trails ( and not in the backcountry).

As for "suggested (by author) prices ", he's freaking insane ( $140-200 for snowshoes ? unless you are loaded with money, or one of those compulsive buyers, go for it).

For your very first pair of snowshoes, check out local Craigslist ( "sporting goods" for sale section), where you can buy lightly used ( or sometimes brand new ! ) for as little as $50 ( depending on the brand , of course ). Brands like MSR, Readfeather, and Tubbs tend to be a bit more expensive. But even for those brands, you can pay just $ 80-100 in average.

Another great place to buy locally is Costco. The popular ( for the past two years) Yukon Charlie's Pro-Guide Aluminum Snowshoe Kit ( snowshoes+poles+bag) goes for $ 79.99 ( size 30 ; size 25 I saw for $ 69.99).

Next, check out Amazon. What I call "off brand" ( aka, not popular with "cool kids snowshoers") Alps All Terrian Snowshoes 25" ( + pair Arakan antishock adjustable snowshoeing poles+ tote bag !) go for as little as $59.99 ( plus , of course, $ 16.85 for shipping ). And believe me, I tried them before, they "work" just as fine as MSR or Tubbs.

If anybody still buys anything from eBay, they have pretty much the same deals as Amazon on snowshoes ( especially on Alps), PLUS free shipping ( well, sometimes/most of the time ).

The bottom line is that if you are just thinking about "getting into snowshoeing", don't worry about "details". Right size+right price= all you need to know about snowshoeing.

Better worry about where to go. In this case check out Snowshoe Routes Washington. Or even cheaper, find the right snowshoe trails for FREE on WTA.org or join the Seattle Snowshoeing Meetup Group ( also free).

Basic avalanche rescue techniques videos.

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Have you ever learned anything from Youtube ? I don't know about you, but I think it's a great social and educational tool. And if you are not a big fan of reading, you can always find " visual " information on any topic that interests you.

Recently, I posted an article about a class I attended ( Proper beacon, probe and shovel usage class). While it's one thing to read about " proper use of a probe /shovel " , another thing is actually see how it's done.

Backcountry Access ( the “knowledge leaders” in backcountry safety, education and products ) posted three great videos on Youtube about Beacon Searching, Probing/Pinpointing, and Strategic Shoveling

Guided snowshoe walks at Mt St Helens

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Last year I wrote a post about guided snowshoe trips at Snoqualmie with Forest Service rangers. Along with guided snowshoe trips at the Mount Rainier National Park, these two are the most popular ( and I'd have to add - cheapest !) snowshoe tours in our state. But not many people know that the Mount St. Helens Institute offers five guided hikes as part of its winter Sunday Snowshoe Adventures.

Institute staff members and volunteers will lead participants through the winter wilderness on a snowshoe tour and provide interpretive information along the way. This will be a chance to explore the trails of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, stay fit through the winter and maybe meet new friends, organizers said in a news release.

No experience is necessary. Most of the adventures are family friendly. All participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Each trip is limited to 20 people.

Unlike the Snoqualmie trips, here, you are given more choices :

Jan. 24: June Lake. Length: 5 miles. Difficulty: Easy. Follow snow covered lava flows to a cascading waterfall and a towering white volcano, ending up at June Lake.

Feb. 7: Red Rock Pass. Length: 5 miles. Difficulty: Easy. This groomed road meanders through green forests and 1980 mudflows. There are great views of Mount St. Helens.

Feb. 21: Ape Cave. Length: 3.5 miles and cave walking. Difficulty: Moderate. Meander from the Trail of Two Forests to the Ape Cave exploring the forest. Bring a flashlight for a trip into the cave.

March 7: Oldman Pass. Length: 5.7 miles. Difficulty: Moderate. This is a trail for the more experienced snowshoer. It meanders through forest, meadows and features views of Mount Adams.

March 21: Trapper Creek Length: 5.6 miles. Difficulty: Difficult. Climb up through an ancient Douglas fir and hemlock forest. The reward at the top is a view of Mount Adams.

Each snowshoe trip costs $10 per person. One disadvantage - snowshoes are NOT PROVIDED.

For details and online registration, visit http://www.mshinstitute.org/.

Choosing snowshoes is rocket science

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Since I started selling snowshoes on my other site, I keep being asked the same questions : " What size are the snowshoes you are selling ?"

"Do you want the dimensions ? " That's not how you choose your snowshoes.

In my opinion the most important factors you need to take into consideration are the weight that your snowshoes will be supporting and the snow conditions. Though ,every snowshoe manufacturer has a recommended weight range for each model of snowshoes, the common sizes are :
22 - for user 75 - 140 lbs
25 - for user 140 - 180 lbs
30 - for user 160 - 220 lbs
36 - for over 200 lbs

Also, don't forget the gear you'll be carrying ( if any). The more you and your gear weigh the bigger the snowshoe you'll need.

When it come to snow conditions, dry, powdery snow requires more flotation, and thus larger snowshoes, than firm or packed down snow.

So, basically, the rule of thumb is the larger a snowshoe's dimensions (length and width), the greater the amount of surface area underfoot, which is the key to not sinking into the snow. The more surface area your snowshoes have, the more flotation you have.

On the other hand the bigger the snowshoes the heavier and less maneuverable they are for hiking through trees or running.

Which bring us to another important factor - the type of snowshoeing you'll be doing.

The manufacturers design the snowshoes based on what level of activity and type of terrain you'll be tackling most of the time :

The final factors that you will need to consider before buying the snowshoes are :

Bindings- the bindings should be easy to use so you can get snowshoes on and off without having to remove gloves or mittens in the cold. Most bindings will work with a wide variety of footwear, however some are designed specifically for larger mountaineering or ski boots, or to snugly fit running shoes. So make sure the bindings will work with your preferred footwear.

Crampons (traction bars, cleats)- heel and toe crampons underfoot allow you to climb or descend steeper slopes by biting into the snow and ice. Mountaineering snowshoes , with traction bars on the underside of the snowshoe decking, offer the most aggressive traction of all ( but, do you really need those ?).

Snowshoeing Snoqualmie Commonwealth basin

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Backcountry skiers are passing the creek

Beautiful view of Guye Peak
Commonwealth Basin- a good turn around point

Sunny view of the Commonwealth basin

Follow the Pacific Crest trail

Unmarked "trail" for CB

Another beginning of the trail - right under the bridge.

Unfortunately for me, this winter,I wasn't' able to do as many winter activities as I wanted. Being busy with teaching kids skiing , I got away with only a couple outings.

I decided to finish this winter with a short snowshoe trip. My work place ( Alpental ) was my first choice. Forest Service interpretive snowshoe walks on Snoqualmie Pass offer a chance to experience winter's beauty while learning about snowshoeing and winter ecology.

They offer 3 programs. The first , a moderately paced interpretive walk that generally last 90 min. The second a half day outing to Commonwealth Basin (CB)- requires a higher level of fitness and winter preparedness.Group size -8 people. Leave at 9:15 am - come back around 3pm. Third program-" Kids in the snow " will include an introduction to winter exploration and some snow play time. Forest Service provides snowshoes for all of their walks.Donations for 90 min walks- $ 10, for the half day- $ 20. Reservations are required , please call 425-434-6111 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              425-434-6111      end_of_the_skype_highlighting (Thur-Sun 9am-3pm).

If you ,do, decide to go on your own, couple things to keep in mind: there is no official trailhead ( look at the pic above ), several switchbacks ( map is not necessary, but helpful. Otherwise fallow alongside the banks of Commonwealth Creak), avalanche danger. As for the trail itself- not marked, but well used (just fallow the wide path ); not scenic, but on a good sunny winter day-very pleasant ;not challenging , but great for beginners, or a pleasant walk in the morning. I couldn't find any information about snowshoeing at the Summit (google or the summit's web page). The best way- is call them and see for yourself, if you'd like it.

Snowshoeing( snowcamping) Hex Mountain

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On top of Hex mountain

Base camp

The view from the top of H Mountain

On the way to the top

We decided to finish this year with the grand finale-snowshoeing/snow camping trip in the Snoqualmie area(Roslin/Cle Elum). We snowshoed to the top of the mountain and pitched a camp.

Some of us even decided to spent the night in a snow cave.