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JasonG

[TR] Big Snow! - Jefferson Smootship 10/31/2017

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Trip: Big Snow! - Jefferson Smootship

Trip Date: 10/31/2017

Trip Report:

 

Calling all Smooters!  You don't have to hide any longer, list motivated peak bagging is all the rage now.  Just look at those thousands of Bulgers out choss polishing each summer......and many of those peaks are pretty unpleasant and would hardly ever be climbed if it weren't for the hallowed list.  In contrast, Mr. Smoot has compiled a list based on nothing other than WA peak bagging for the sheer joy of it.  Such a good list, I might add, that I was more than halfway done with it before I'd even heard of "Climbing Washington's Mountains".

 

But even an ardent Smooter has their limits, this ain't the 50 Classics after all.   So, I typically pace myself,  ticking off a couple a year in the shoulder seasons when I am looking for straightforward, yet interesting, diversions among the lower elevation summits of our home ranges.  Which is why I found myself with Scott and Kit at the end of this past October hiking up the Dingford Creek Trail, en route to Snowflake Lake at the base of the north side of Big Snow. 

The gating of the Middle Fork at Dingford Creek has meant that the north side approach is the shortest route to the Big Snow summit these days.  While likely not as dramatic as the Hardscrabble climber's path, it is still more scenic than I would have thought.  I think it took us about 4-5 hours to camp or so, where we quickly set up camp at Snowflake Lake (where you can be yourself) and set off for the summit in the late afternoon.  A bit of brush wrangling just about the lakes (would be snow covered in early season) found us on a minor rib scrambling surprisingly decent rock upwards to the broad summit ridge, less than two hours from camp.

A quick check of our phones revealed that the indomitable Fred Beckey had passed away peacefully that morning while we were walking to camp.  Gazing out across the Middle Fork at the Snoqualmie Alps (Lemah, Chimney Rock, Summit Chief, etc.), we raised our flask to Fred and his incredible life.  We were all lucky enough to have run into him over the years and felt standing on a Cascadian summit was a fitting place to remember a legend.  After all,  the brown guide was what had gotten us to that very point.

 

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Crag on the NW side of Big Snow, I've heard someone has been up to this wall an climbed a bit:

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Kit on the interesting approach to Big Snow Lake:

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Scott surveys Big Snow Lake:

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Snoqualmonix!

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Gear Notes:
ice axe and crampons

Approach Notes:
Dingford Creek to Myrtle Lake. Leave trail and stay low until right below Big Snow Lake. Go up cool talus gully to lake and follow your nose to Snowflake Lake, where you can be your very own snowflake. Up and left from the lake to a minor rib then directly up mellow slopes to summit. Would be doable in day with longer days of early summer and more snow. Great relaxed fall trip.

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