June 6, 2009, Ruth Mt./Hannegan Pass, Trip abort

WA Cascades West Slopes North (Mt Baker)
Posted by qanuk on 6/7/09 1:42am
Four of us thought we'd give Ruth a try Saturday. Had heard various conflicting reports on road conditions. Here is what we found.

Hannigan pass road is open and easily drivable to about mile 4, just short of the parking lot.

From the parking lot over the next two miles there are at least a dozen massive avy debris fans completely covering the road/path. Very tedious and time consuming. Also amazing, some of the avy's are still 10 yds deep over the road.

As the weather was marginal, raining lightly. There was zero vis - we were in the cloud. And we only made two miles in the first 1.5 hrs. We bailed and walked back out. It was the most tedious ski/walk since Downey Creek on the Ptarmigan.

Thanks for the report.  Sorry you had to waste the time.

So just to clarify the road is passable to almost the end of the road? Which is not what the NFS site says. Sorry you had to abort.

Was in there yesterday 6/7 messing around.   The valley is absolutely hammered with avi debris!  I've never seen anything like it.  Sometime over the winter every single avi path on the north side of the valley must have ripped with 100+ year force ripping out old growth trees from waaay up the sides of some of avi paths. 

As stated the last mile of road is buried in logs, debris and snow up to 30' deep the trail is not much different.

Well worth checking out if you've got the time.   Road is closing at the highway for improvements in mid-june and supposedly won't open until mid-august.  It's going to take a serious effort to clean up that mess.

I'm guessing the south side of Ruth Creek is melted out and full of slide alder, so not apt for cross country travel?  Too bad about Ruth.  It's got to have one of the best view:climb ratios of anywhere in the Cascades.

Lots of big avys on south side too.

Seemed like Mordor to me.

author=qanuk link=topic=13569.msg56617#msg56617 date=1244392972">

The slide in this picture looks similar to one that our party crossed in Indian Creek (southeast of Glacier Peak) a week ago (click thumbnail below).

I'm guessing that these slides came down during the big rain event in January, the one that caused the landslide at Hyak. I suspect that we've only begun to discover the wreckage that occurred last winter. It seems like access in the Cascades is degrading faster than we can keep up with it.

We hiked into to Ruth the weekend before on May 30th.  We reached the summit in about 4 1/2 hours from the car. Most of that time was crossing avy debris or re-finding the trail after crossing debris.   We switched from running shoes to skis just below Hannegan pass.  The ski down was great corn.  We skied down into the head of the valley and traversed back up to our running shoes. 

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2009-06-07 08:42:52