Well guys, I did it. And I have so much stuff to share, I spent a couple hours getting everything together here. Don’t worry, I’ll be light on words this time, I know I can go on and on about “Muh scenic beauty and the beautiful outdoors”.
I woke up super early (8:00 AM) and got ready. I spent about an hour trying to figure out what to take with me and ended up with a super heavy pack. After a final reconfiguration, I was shooting out the door. I was paranoid that the trailhead would be packed, and I still had to go get gas and sunglasses (snow is bright, who knew). I paid my respects to our oily overlords, and hit the road. As I drove up I-90 I saw Mount Si looming in the distance. I’d be lying if I said wasn’t a little nervous, all I saw was the harsh rocky outcropping of the top and steep snow chutes flowing down the face, I was worried the trail would intersect avalanche-prone areas.
“What the hell am I doing” I said out-loud, which was a serious offense to the awesome music I had in the background. I shut up and resumed my immaculate singing.
When I got to the trailhead, it was pretty much empty. One row was full of cars, but that was about it. I threw my pack out of my car and emptied more stuff out “windpants or snowpants.. windpants or snowpants… eh, windpants are lighter”.
So I hit the trail. About thirty minutes in I hit the first good cluster of snow and decided to throw on my flashy new crampons (which I love, I love them so much. I felt superhuman walking around in those things) and pressed on. As the snow got deeper, my smile widened quite a bit. I forgot how much I missed snow, we don’t get it at all down where I live. It can be kinda sad after a childhood full of mounds of snow in the front yard.
People on the trail were awesome. They were all super happy and courteous, following the obvious rules of the trail sans one guy who kept blocking people, but he seemed green when it came to hiking so I didn’t get all pissed off (I usually wouldn’t have been anyways). I often yeilded to people coming downhill because they didn’t bring any kind of gear for snowhiking. Probably about 80% of the time while I was waiting for people to pass, one of them would fall on their ass and slide down the hill a bit. Definitely bring traction equipment with you, or at least trekking poles. The snow has been packed down pretty well and left in the sun, it’s a little slippery.
Kahtoola K10’s, worth the weight (I am not an affiliate, blah blah)
I persisted my superhuman jaunt up the mountain, sticking to the snow and occasionally post-holing as I maneuvered around people. I kept wondering how high up I was. I’d been at this for about two and a half hours and figured I’d at least catch a view of the valley at some point, but the canopy is pretty thick. And just like that, I turn a corner and catch a glimpse. I sat there for a few minutes feeling absolutely speechless. I settled for “I could just die up here”.
I turned around and saw a friendly face.
And continued through the droopy trees.
When I first broke through the treeline, the ‘summit’ was pretty crowded. I opted to go up a little further towards Haystack something or another (the thing people scramble up. I’m not even going to pretend to be informative here). The first little ascent was kind of sketchy, it was pretty iced over and my crampons were even having a hard time with it. I made sure to kick it down a bit and make sure my footing was secure before I pushed up. Once I made it over that it was posthole central, which was absolutely hilarious.
Me and one other guy sat up at the upper summit and took in the view. We talked a bit, he left, and I stole his prime estate on the higher part and got an even better view. Rainier was obscured by clouds that didn’t seem to want to move, so I missed out on that, but I’ve seen Rainier more times than I can count so I wasn’t totally crushed. Still though..
I moved up to Haystack-scramble-whatever-it’s-called-rock with the intention of climbing it. When I broke through the tree-line I decided that would be a really shitty idea, it’s a bit out of my technical range. Still fun to look at though.
I went back to my spot and watched the ant-people of North Bend drive along the freeway and ate my burrito. A bird swooped down and took a big chunk out of it and a feeding frenzy ensued. People have definitely been feeding these guys, because they were absolute bastards. I huddled around my prized food and gobbled it down along with the possibility of some bird disease.
Still cute though
This was pretty tiring. Initially I thought I was out of shape (Me? Out of shape? NAH. Really though, I need to work out more), but I later learned that I gained 3,150ft over four miles. With that in mind, I felt alright about it.
Content face is content
Here’s a montage of my hike up there with swanky music. Excuse some of the shakes, I had my fancy setup good to go when I started, but my tripod snapped. RIP that tripod.
Hiking in the snow is my new favorite thing. It’s amazing what happens when you go out and do something you don’t feel like doing. Honestly, I absolutely did not want to go out today. I barely slept at all and wanted to just stay at home in my warm bed. I’m glad I did this.
I really like the way I documented this trip with more specific pictures and a fun video. Expect more of that in the future, I had a great time putting it all together.