With the lowlands shrouded in fog for the last few days I was excited to spend some time in the mountains, up above the ongoing inversion.
True to the forecast (how often does that happen?), we found cloudless blue skies at Steven's Pass all day long. Even more surprising is that this is the third time I've been here... and all three times have been picture perfect. :cool:
Rob and I met up in Monroe at the leisurely start time of 8:30am and enjoyed an uneventful ride up the mountain. Passed one slick section near a bridge and saw a disabled Chevy Colorado truck that didn't quite survive the short icy stretch.
Easily found parking (which we heard was a problem later in the day... word of warning to those of you looking to do a late-day ascent).
After only a few hundred feet of elevation gain we were above the thin fog that kept trying to blow through the pass. The continuing fog has given the tree tops a nice white dusting, but only the trees that are in the fog. It was a unique sight. You can see the white tree tops in the pic.
We took the direct route up the ridge while almost everyone else stuck to the road route. Circled around the lake and headed toward the lower peak. Found a quiet spot that was somewhat protected from the light winds to enjoy lunch and the scenery.
There seemed to be a pretty well established route up to the obvious peak, but we left that for the more adventurous visitors.
From our lunch spot we could gaze across to distant slopes with huge fracture lines from recent slides and also a slope which has clearly been pummelled by winds.
Met a few snowboarders who inquired about how to find the slopes they were looking for. We weren't sure but gave them a couple of suggestions and pointed to what we knew was where... and wished them a safe boarding experience.
The snow was well consolidated, but softened in the afternoon. Didn't seem very conducive to a good skiing or snowboarding ride, IMO.
On the descent, we took the short detour to the final communication tower and then headed toward the vehicle, with a couple nice butt glissades on the descent.
Returned to civilization (and fog) with a Starbucks run in Monroe, a quick touristy tour of Snohomish, a hair cut in Kirkland and then a nwhiker.net social in Kirkland.
All in all... it was a fantastic day from start to finish.
Here is my report from 1/27/2007 if you are interested.