Smithbrook Road (Feb 10, 2018)

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smithbrook_rd_coverConditions: Snowshoe
Gear: Snowshoes
Map: USGS Labyrinth Mountain
Area: Stevens Pass, WA
Reference: n/a
Stats: 6.75mi, 1145' gain (round trip)


Under construction...Nasty snow conditions. What else is there to say. It's been cold, some rain, some melt, then freezing. The crust out there is thick, hard, nearly unbreakable. Doesn't exactly make for the most pleasent of travel conditions.

The goal was to try to find a snowshoe trip off the Mtn Loop Hwy but with so little snow falling, we headed up to Steven's Pass. We arrived late so we continued up over the pass and decided to head up Smithbrook Rd and head over to Lk Valhalla. We arrived at the parking area (elev 3154') along Hwy 2 and sorted out gear and then walked the .4 mile to the start of Smithbrook Rd (3196').

We followed the road to the 1st switchback (2.11mi, 3769') and cut it...saves a bit of boring road walking. We were carrying snowshoes up to this point but when we cut the switchback, it was time to finally use them. We regained the road a bit higher up and then headed up to the next switchback on the road (2.96mi, 4007') where we headed "off trail" towards the lake. Our late start finally was catching up with us, at about 3.39mi (4299') it was iust getting too late to continue to the lake. We could have made it but it would have mean hiking out in the dark...so we called it quits. I figure it was another .9 mi and 727' gain just to get to the lake. Oh well...it was still fun to finally get out after being stuck working house projects for the past few months.

This stick crust out there is going to be a real avalanche problem for likely the rest of the season. The crust is very think and I suspect it may persist and cause an issue for any new snow that falls onto it. Could mean picking very conservative trips for the rest of the season when travelling on snow. Be careful out there...
 
Smithbrook Road Slideshow

smithbrook_rd_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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