Diamond Head (Jan 12, 2019)

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diamond_head_coverConditions: Snowshoe
Gear: Snowshoes
Map: USGS Blewett Pass
Area: Blewett Pass
Reference: n/a
Stats: 8.05mi, 2317' gain (round trip)


Last time Jim and I did Diamond Head as a snowshoe we left right from Blewett Pass. The problem with that route is we stay mainly on the groomed snowmobile route and the noise and choking smoke isn't pleasant. Jim suggested an alternate route leaving from Pipe Creek Sno-Park which meant much less groomed (snowmobile) traffic so I was game.

We met in Bothell at 7am and carpooled out to Blewett Pass from there arriving at the Pipe Creek Sno-Park  (2371') around 9am. I was surprised to see we were the only car. We geared up and headed out along the ungroomed (non-mechanized roads/trails).  The snow was pretty firm and with temps near freezing we strapped out snowshoes onto our packs and used microspikes for the first .78mi (elev 3778). Then, starting to posthole, we switched out to snowshoes.

We continued up the road to the gate. I didn't mark the location of the gate but Jim said it's about a mile from the car. It looked like others had snowshoed up the road in the last day or so but everyone, EVERYONE, stopped right at the gate and turned around. We walked around the gate, continuing up the roads, until 1.81mi (4146') where we did a shortcut that first followed a small drainage and then went up through the trees to an upper spur road (groomed, 2.19mi, 4545'). It was easy heading uphill, we just tried to stay off the steeper terrain nearest the creek.

Once back on the groomed road (watch out for the snowmobiles) we followed it for less than a 1/2 mi until we saw another spur road heading off on the left (2.59mi, 4670'). We followed the spur road at first and then very near the end of that road we headed right uphill. We found lots of downed trees from the last fire and there was barely enough snow to cover them so we were a bit careful to watch out for holes. We were back on the main road (groomed again) at 3.34mi (5507'). The freezing fog in the forecast we out. Wispy cold clouds kept moving through the trees.

We followed this main road for about 1/4mi until we reached a spider junction of roads due south of Diamond Head (3.59mi, 5605'). Now it was time to find a good route through the lightly snow-covered downed trees and then we were at the top at about 12:45pm (4.04mi, 5892'). It was a bit windy so we stayed close to the west side of high point and tucked ourselves into some trees and enjoyed lunch and the views. There was a stagnant low layer of clouds below us that hid much of the lower elevations (the highway) leaving just the higher points (Teanaway Ridge nearest to us, Mt Stuart and the Enchantments to our right, and Mt Rainier to the south). The clouds made the views spectacular.

Fingers started to get cold and not wanting to get out too late we decided to head down about 1:15pm. To avoid the snowmobile traffic we followed out route up all the way back down to the car.
 
Diamond Head Slideshow

diamond_head_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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