Mt Angeles (Mar 30, 2013)

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mt_angeles_coverConditions: Snowshoe
Gear: Snowshoes
Map: USGS Mount Rainier East
Area: Paradise, Mount Rainier National Park
Reference: Snowshoe Routes Washington
Stats: 6.13mi, 2294' gain (round trip)

Maybe the fourth time will be a charm...

I tried this trip years ago with the Mountaineers. Fail. Avalanche danger. I tried again last February. Failed. Too tired to make it up the final gully. The weather was looking good this time. Yeah...late season...low snow year. I guess I didn't mind too much. Gwen was interested in an easy car camp so we spent the night at Dungeness. Then...not getting as early a start as we should have...

I'm getting ahead of myself again.

We got up, probably should have been an earlier start. I wanted to run the ridge from Hurricane Ridge VC (unlike last years trip). I just love ridge walks or in this case...snowshoes. We started out to the right of the tow rope area following the summer trail. In snow conditions the route is right along the ridge. In the summer, the trail is more direct avoiding all the ups and downs of the ridge. So up a bit we went, then down, then up, then down, then up, then....well you get the picture.

Lots of great views along the way. One not so great view was the enormous snowskate group that came up behind us on the ridge. We stepped aside for them figuring it would only be a few in the party. Gwen counts nearly silently...1...2...3...15...16...17...25...26...27... When one skater with a boom box blaring passed us I mentioned to the next guy..."nice conga line you got going there". He responded to my comment and Gwen's question with "I think there are 47 in our group". We seemed to be about in the middle of the "line" so it's hard to say if 47 was accurate. It's definitely more than the 12 called out as the limit on the ONP website. To be honest, it wasn't all that difficult to find the information on the ONP site. I muttered to myself "where's a ranger when you need one". With such a large group seemingly oblivious to anyone else...stepping aside was never going to get us moving along the ridge. People in the party stopping along the ridge, oblivious to the idea that others wanted to keep moving. With a small break in the convoy I stepped in, Gwen followed....and finally, we had the group behind us still with their radio blaring.

Lots more ups and downs along the ridge. Mt Angeles coming in and out of view. We stopped at the last low point below the final up the basin below the peak and had lunch. was warm. It's been a while since I've hiked in the radiant heat of snow. After the break, the final up to the basin, the long rising traverse to the NW gully (stay low below the rock band) and then looking at the watch. We set a turn around time of 3pm. Tween season hike...low snow year...nearly 3pm...we talked and decided to call it a day. No use going too much higher. We'd never make it to the top before 3pm. The peak will always be there for another day.

We followed our tracks down cutting a few of the longer switchbacks in the snow.
Mt Angeles Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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