Big Snow Mountain

Carlos and I parked at the Dingford Creek trailhead and headed up the Myrtle/Hester Lakes trail. At the intersection we went east on the trail to Hester Lake, the trail was its usual swampy, slippery self, also very pretty with all its old-growth cedar. We passed through a meadow (often so marshy people have to detour around it) and then crossed a permanent stream, soon after that (around 3,360') we turned off the trail to head east up a gentle, brushy basin.

At around 4,000' elevation in the basin we turned north and headed up the west side of a large avalanche chute. At 4,920' elevation we entered a meadow that shows clearly on USGS as a level area. From the meadow we headed east to a nearby ridge and from the ridge wended our way north through increasingly beautiful alpine meadows and granite to the summit.

The summit had a cairn made of quartz with a summit register dating back to 1995 underneath. Nude hiking was a recurring theme in the register, I guess Big Snow is the place to do it. The views from the summit were great, Mount Baker and Glacier Peak prominent in the north, the upper Middle Fork peaks dominated the nearby scene (most prominently Lemah Mountain, Overcoat Peak, and Chimney Rock), and Mount Rainier and Mount Adams visible to the south.

We made our camp near the summit on the SE ridge, Carlos in his tent and I in my bivy sack. After 3,800' in the basin there was no water on our route, so I was glad we had each brought up a gallon.

The next day we descended the same way until we got to the basin, here in an attempt to avoid the brush, I led us down the north side of the basin, where we met with thick, wet, persistent brush that didn't let up until we hit the trail. So much for that.

Copyright © 2004 Gabriel Deal.