Tye Peak (Jan 25, 2015)

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tye_peak_coverConditions: Snowshoe
Gear: Snowshoes
Map: USGS Labyrinth Mountain
Area: Stevens Pass
Reference: n/a
Stats: 5.19mi, 2219' gain (round trip)

I've been hankering to get back to Tye Peak to try it again. I'd tried it almost exactly 4 years ago but it was too soon after the knee surgery. Knees still weren't liking steep. Today the issue wasn't the knees...it was the June conditions. There is just so little snow up at the pass that it is ridiculous.

I emailed the group mid week to see if there was interest in a trip. Suzanne said she and Barry were interested. She suggested some of the same ideas I was looking at. We pondered Lichtenberg for a bit but give the lack of snow and the warm conditions, decided to head over to Tye Peak. Suzanne suggested an early start so that we would be heading down before the snow got too soft. Great suggestion since temps at the pass were expected to reach mid 50's.

I pulled into the Stevens Pass parking lot on the north side of the road. Surprised to see so many skiers out given the conditions. Barry and Suzanne had arrived a few minutes before me. We did a final pack of gear, donned the microspikes (the parking area was a solid sheet of ice), and headed up the road and route up to Skyline Lake about 8:30am. The snow was crusty everywhere, on the road, on the trail, in the trees, in the sun... We got to the lake about 9:20am to find it looking a little less than solid ice. There was a good packed down route up to Skyline Ridge so we followed that uphill. On the other side it looked like most people were heading to the bump at the county boundary. There looked to be some old ski tracks heading downhill towards Nason Creek but no snowshoe tracks. Interesting that up to now, we didn't have snowshoes on. Knowing we'd have to cut a track in we stopped to put the snowshoes on and then Barry graciously broke trail all the way to our destination.

We dropped about 400' into the basin, more than I've done in the past but a good choice for today to avoid the boulder field. After we crossed the main boulder field we then headed uphill to the saddle on the south ridge of Tye Peak (Pt 5476). From the saddle we headed directly up the ridge. There were a couple of steepish sections and a spot in the trees were the snow was pretty thin but other than this, the hike up was just a grunt. I reached the top, bringing up the rear, about 10:45am. We dropped our packs, at some lunch, took some photos, and watched as a couple of skiers who had arrived just after us took off downhill.

We wanted to avoid really soft snow on the decent so we didn't linger too long (a half hour or so) before heading downhill. Amazing how 30 minutes in the full (and warm) sun softened up the snow. The steepest part of the trip is right before the saddle but thankfully is was an easy trip down. Then...we followed our tracks back over to Skyline Ridge and out. There were probably a hundred or so snowshoers and skiers on the trail from the lake back down to the parking area. Lots of people out enjoying the sun.
Tye Peak Slideshow


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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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