Eagle Creek, Jan 30th, 2017

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Don Nelsen
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Eagle Creek, Jan 30th, 2017

Post by Don Nelsen » January 30th, 2017, 7:40 pm

I took a close look at the Eagle Creek trail on the 22nd and based on the weather this past week and what I saw that day came back today with what I thought I needed to get the job done: Mountaineering crampons, and an ice axe (Kelly suggested a death wish may have been one of the prerequisites but I always have hope!)

This has been a remarkable month for weather in the gorge and I've been fortunate to have been able to take full advantage of it. The ice has been very slowly melting off and the temperatures have been decidedly on the cool side with the cold air holding firm in the gorge. My prediction is that there will still be ice and snow in places well into the spring and in a few spots, perhaps even into late May or even June based on what I've seen in past years. Most of the lower elevation trails, though, will be fine in a month or two, IMO.

That being said, Eagle Creek is absolutely hammered for the time being:

We hiked just a little more that a half mile up the trail today when I realized I had left my GPS sitting on the bench at the TH and had to go back to get it before someone else found it. We felt lucky to have survived that first half mile of trail and did not to want to repeat it stretching our luck. Anyway, our main goal was accomplished so we were happy with what we managed to do. Only two or three sets of tracks above where we turned around.

A video:
https://youtu.be/9JhLpkkl4Is

A few photos:

The start of the trail:
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This is not a landslide, just a few inches of dirt and mud atop ice.
Image

This section was awkward:
Image

Kelly took it with aplomb:
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Even after the first cliffy section, it was not much easier:
Image

A fresh partial cliff collapse a few feet south of the first little bridge has exposed some new partially fossilized wood:
Image

Here's a close-up of some of it. Looks more charcoalized than fossilized though.
Image

The road is plowed but taped off 4/10 mile north of here. No appreciable melting in the past 8 days:
Image

Image

-Don
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Chip Down
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Re: Eagle Creek, Jan 30th, 2017

Post by Chip Down » January 30th, 2017, 10:19 pm

Yikes. Difficulty aside, that doesn't even look fun or interesting or rewarding. So what did you do with the rest of your day?

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kepPNW
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Re: Eagle Creek, Jan 30th, 2017

Post by kepPNW » January 31st, 2017, 6:37 am

Wow, so happy to hear that wasn't a landslide near the beginning there! In some photos I've seen, it had appeared the entire trail had slid into the creek. Still, as Guy pointed out elsewhere, this is going to put a serious crimp in their plans to get a new bridge in at Tish Creek by deadline. Thanks for the update!
Karl
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Eric Peterson
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Re: Eagle Creek, Jan 30th, 2017

Post by Eric Peterson » January 31st, 2017, 6:46 am

Awesome work Don, thanks for the update!

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drm
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Re: Eagle Creek, Jan 30th, 2017

Post by drm » January 31st, 2017, 8:15 am

I think the trails are going to need a little work this Spring.

pablo
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Re: Eagle Creek, Jan 30th, 2017

Post by pablo » January 31st, 2017, 8:44 am

Thx Don for the report. Crampons and ice ax for Eagle Creek; not for me. This low elevation ice and snow is going to take a while to melt out.

--Paul
The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

Don's Rabbit
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Re: Eagle Creek, Jan 30th, 2017

Post by Don's Rabbit » January 31st, 2017, 4:13 pm

Don - Thanks for a kick-ass day! - Kelly

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Eagle Creek, Jan 30th, 2017

Post by Don Nelsen » January 31st, 2017, 4:30 pm

Chip Down wrote:Yikes. Difficulty aside, that doesn't even look fun or interesting or rewarding. So what did you do with the rest of your day?
Hi chip,

I suppose that is a rhetorical question but I will answer it anyway. We went over to the Mt. Defiance TH and hiked up to Starvation Creek Falls and then hiked the new section of the trail towards Defiance as far as hole-in-the-wall falls. We were surprised there were so many tracks up the Defiance trail, too.

EC was really very interesting to both of us since we had hiked it so many times as the ice and snow built up earlier in the month. The transition from day to day as the icicles grew longer and longer was nice to see. The fun was in the challenge.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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DouggieFir
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Re: Eagle Creek, Jan 30th, 2017

Post by DouggieFir » January 31st, 2017, 9:05 pm

Oh wow! That trail is gone! Looks like it'll be a while before it's re-opened.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Eagle Creek, Jan 30th, 2017

Post by Don Nelsen » February 2nd, 2017, 6:36 pm

DouggieFir wrote:Oh wow! That trail is gone! Looks like it'll be a while before it's re-opened.
Well, it's still "open", just a bit more difficult than usual!

This is not an uncommon condition, though usually it's a few years between events of this magnitude. Here's a photo taken at the start of the trail Dec. 26th, of '08:

dn

Image
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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