Dirtyface LO (May 19, 2018)

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dirtyface_lo_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: ice axe, microspikes
Map: USGS Lake Wenatchee
Area: Lake Wenatchee
Reference: Day Hiking Central Cascades
Stats: 7.78mi, 3891' gain (round trip)

I was wanting to continue my trend of getting some bigger elevation gain trips done. Early in the week and even into late week the forecast was looking good. Then, late on Friday, the forecast changed. Instead of partly cloudy...a 40% chance of precipitation...and clouds. Hmmm...I looked more into the details and it didn't look like really anything measurable so we decided to give it a go.

I had been talking to Dani about getting out for a morel trip. She saw me ask about interest in Dirtyface and said she wanted to join. Steve or course was game. I had contacted Suzanne and she and Barry would join. Suzanne contacted others and Elle (+ Izzy) and David were going to join us. It would be like the good ole days...

We pushed the start time back from 9am at the TH (2072') to 9:30am which turned out to be a great choice. Our car was the last one to pull in and it was only the 4th car. We geared up and headed up the trail. This trail doesn't waste any time heading uphill. I think of steep being an trip that averages 1000' gain per mile. This trip would be more than that.

Down low it was misty and the trail brush was wet. The flowers were out (paintbrush, lupine, mariposa lilies, balsamroot). At a.94mi (2081') we crossed Fall Creek and the trail continued uphill. At 1.66mi (3699') at a swtichback in the trail, the trail joined up with an old road which we followed for about 1/2 mile. There are lots of downed trees along the trail. Most of the time they are just large stepovers, but many times they require a limbo move, a straddle, or a route around the at time very large trees. There was one stretch of the old road where it was an actual obstacle course with us stepping over or around tree after tree after tree.

After the trail leaves the old road the steepness increases and really just doesn't let up. Lots and lots of little switchbacks. Last time I was up here (nearly the same time of year) we hit snow at about 4450'. Today it was bare at the same level which was surprising given the heavy snowfall this past winter. We finally hit consistent snow about 5000' which actually worked out well because the rotten snow that kept us off the trail 4 years ago left bare trail this time (I'd rather walk dirt trail than try to navigate rotten snow).

There is still a few feet of snow on the last bit of ridge to the summit but it won't be there long if the warm temps continue. Steve and I finally arrived about 10-15 minutes after the fast crew. The summit wasn't exactly socked in but low clouds obscured most of the views. We stopped for a nice lunch and lots of photos and just as we were leaving we were treated with clearing skies. We actually saw blue sky poking through! So much for the rain that was forecasted...

The way down was made easier because the snow had softened.

Note: The mozies are out and getting hungry. All of us were really surprised how thick the mozies were this early in the season.
Dirtyface LO Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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