Hex Mountain (Jan 28, 2017)

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hex_mtn_coverConditions: snowshoe
Gear: snowshoes
Map: USGS Cle Elum Lake
Area: Roslyn, WA
Reference: Snowshoe Routes Washington
Stats: 7.69mi, 2795' gain (round trip)

Three day weekends are great. Three days of getting out. Yesterday and 27 mile bike ride. Today a snowshoe trip. Tomorrow...hopefully another ride.

Last minute I checked with JimK and he was available. Steve and I met up with him at the SE 8th P&R and then we headed over. We arrived at the trailhead (really just a plowed wide spot in the road just before Newport Creek along the Salmon la Sac Road) just after 9am. After sorting out gear we walked the 1/4mi to the "trailhead". It's really just a road. Normally drivable in the summer to the real trailhead higher up. In winter there is more road walking to do.

There is logging going on in the area so the road is plowed (closed to normal traffic though). The route up follows the road in a fairly direct line up the SW ridge to the summit of Hex. About half on roads, the other half on trail. We headed up the road which was a bit icy (not enough for microspikes) for 1.16mi from Salmon La Sac Road (2874') to a junction in the road. The plowed road heads left. A snow covered road partially obscured by a snow berm heads right. We headed left. I had seem some foot traffic heading up and over the road edge up the unplowed road. The road system up here gets more confusing each year with the new roads that seem to appear each year. After heading left a few minutes at the bend in the road we checked the map. Yep, we were off route. We should have bailed on the plowed road and headed up the snowy road. No problem, snowshoes went on and we hiked up and over the small ridge to get back over to the road we wanted to be on.

We followed that road to 3469' (2mi from Salmon La Sac Rd) to the summer trailhead (marked obviously with the Hex Mountain trailhead sign). The trees here were covered in really long frost spikes. I'd never seem frost get this "long". It was really cool... We followed the "summer trail" as it heads up the ridge. It's a pretty steady climb the whole way and it was in the fog nearly the whole way. We skirted the high point just NW of Hex Mtn (3.5 miles from Salmon La Sac Rd, 4912') and the route then followed the ridgeline to the top of Hex at 5005' (3.77mi from Salmon La Sac Road).

Some years the last 20-30' to the summit gets really deep and steep snow. This year, not so much. We had taken ice axes but didn't need them. Just below the summit we popped up our of the fog layer into blue skies and sun...and warm temps. Looks like we had a bit of an inversion today. Nice. Lots of people on the summit. We spent about 45 minutes enjoying the views before descending back into the fog.
Hex Mountain Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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