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March 16, 2003, Hex redux

Posted by Jim Oker on 3/16/03 8:21am
Somehow I let Yanna and Skip convince me to head over to Hex instead of stopping at the pass. It is amazing how much snow can melt in one week. Instead of skiing from the road, we walked up almost to where the road meets trail on the ridge. There was a small bit of dirt to ski here and there until we were a fair ways up on the ridge. The upper ridge is full of beautiful old growth - just past the "Entering the National Forest" sign. we had the summit to ourselves, with sun and views out to the desert, Stuart and the Enchantments, some of the Snoqualmie peaks (not quite sure which as they danced in and out of clouds and snow squalls), and watched the weather come toward us. The subsequent sun flurries on the summit with the bright view on one side and dark on the other were amazing.

A pit below the summit revealed 2.5 ft of pretty soft wet snow with three ice layers sandwiching soft snow in the bottom foot, all on top of a super hard ice crust. Nothing slid above or on the ice layers, but isolated columns sheared pretty easily on the hard crust. A hotter or wetter day could be a bit spooky up there, but it seemed safe today.

The ridge run down was mostly in decent corn, with lots of trees for gates. Skis stayed on top, sometimes sinking up o 6" in softer patches. Better than I expected. Hiking the dirt road out in plastic boots solidified the sense of silliness of the day, but while we were skiing on the ridge life was pretty darned good!
Oh - and the dogs loved the day. The travel was mostly quite good for them, and in the bare patches lower down there were lots of rodents to keep them perked up.

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Jim Oker
2003-03-16 16:21:49