2021 Snow Level

General discussions on hiking in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest
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Chip Down
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Re: 2021 Snow Level

Post by Chip Down » February 24th, 2021, 8:16 pm

Today's adventure wasn't particularly interesting or unique, so not really worthy of a TR. However, snow was the highlight of the day, and after the big storm I know some of you are wondering how things are out there, so this is an unusually detailed snow report.

Gate to Hamilton Mountain trailhead was open, and road was bare to the TH (400').

Curiosity satisfied, I went over to Equestrian Trailhead, where the gate was locked. Dammit. And parking is scarce. Found a way to park, and headed up the snowy road.

Fresh snow was at 1350', very abrupt. Nice scenery, but I knew it would be dripping on me later.

I followed Equestrian Trail to Hamilton Saddle, where the snow was a bit wind scoured and easy to walk in, maybe about an inch of pure virgin snow. I've been there many times, in all seasons, but today was about as good as it gets. Lovely weather. I wanted to linger, but Phlox Point was calling.

I dropped down Don's Cutoff (I didn't ask his permission, but it seems to be public access) and headed toward Phlox Point. I gave up. The deep snow I could handle. But melt drainages on the trailbed created voids, and I was punching through. And it was getting warm. I was sweating, and slushbombs were falling. It was miserable. I've been to Phlox Point several times, in all conditions. There was no motivation to see it again, so I bailed.

Coming back down towards Equestrian Trailhead, I was amazed at how fast the snow was melting. It is February, right?

BTW, I scraped ice off my windshield in Portland, but it was well above freezing at Beacon Rock at sunrise.
Attachments
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am vs pm
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This pic is a little misleading. It's snowy above and below.
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Equestrian Trail at 2000', approaching Don's Cutoff
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This does count as a hike, as this beast was pushed most of the way up. I was legal, except Don's Cutoff, but since I was on foot, I think my sin is venial.
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The Saddle on Hamilton Mountain, looking south.
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Looking east from The Saddle.
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Dammit, left one in the car. (Yes, I'm an idiot.)

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drm
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Re: 2021 Snow Level

Post by drm » March 1st, 2021, 8:22 am

On Herman Creek, near continuous snow started around Casey Camp. There were some thick patches before that, mostly on the north-facing side of ravines. I made it a little over a mile past Casey Camp and snow was consistent at about 4 inches there. There were also a lot of new trees down. Farther up, some require detours into the brush to get around.
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No tracks up this far

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Chip Down
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Re: 2021 Snow Level

Post by Chip Down » March 1st, 2021, 5:14 pm

I returned to Hardy Ridge today, and continued to Phlox Point (3000'). Melting fast.

Trail was semi packed, but even off trail it wasn't too hard to walk in.
Attachments
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Hamilton Mountain down there.
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Looking east up the gorge. Table Mountain on the left.
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A mini cornice trying to form on the east side of Hardy Ridge.
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Had to ditch the bike here, but carried a smaller one with me.
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I was pleased to see these. You know how easy it is to get lost on a trail that follows a well-defined ridgecrest.

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Don Nelsen
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Re: 2021 Snow Level

Post by Don Nelsen » March 1st, 2021, 8:03 pm

A great day in the gorge on this first of March! Kel and I went up the 400 to Gorton from the east and in almost 6 miles saw absolutely no one.

The snow started at 1,600' on the Gorton Creek Trail and there was no more than a few small patches and none that one had to step on until then.

Here's the view where the continuous snow started: A very abrupt transition.
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A couple hundred feet more and it looked like this only four days ago:
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Today, the same spot looked like this:
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We only went a little farther, and turned around at 1800': This was at the third set of switchbacks.
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I think I'll do this hike again on Wednesday, but go all the way up to the ridge past Deadwood.

dn
Last edited by Don Nelsen on March 3rd, 2021, 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Chip Down
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Re: 2021 Snow Level

Post by Chip Down » March 1st, 2021, 8:52 pm

Don Nelsen wrote:
March 1st, 2021, 8:03 pm
I think I'll do this hike again on Wednesday, but go all the way up to the ridge past Deadwood.
If I knew for sure you'd be the one to find them, I'd leave some balloons for you. :D

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Don Nelsen
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Re: 2021 Snow Level

Post by Don Nelsen » March 1st, 2021, 10:02 pm

Chip Down wrote:
March 1st, 2021, 8:52 pm
Don Nelsen wrote:
March 1st, 2021, 8:03 pm
I think I'll do this hike again on Wednesday, but go all the way up to the ridge past Deadwood.
If I knew for sure you'd be the one to find them, I'd leave some balloons for you. :D
Chip, go for it! Likely no one else will be up there.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

leiavoia
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Re: 2021 Snow Level

Post by leiavoia » March 3rd, 2021, 11:54 am

Would the Gorton Creek Trail to Green Point be navigable this time of year in normal foot ware? I have a week off starting March 15 and am considering a 3-4 backpack trip around the area. I have not been to Herman Creek area since the fire. I do not have special snow traction and am wondering if snow levels are low enough that I would not need it. Thanks

bushwhacker
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Re: 2021 Snow Level

Post by bushwhacker » March 3rd, 2021, 5:14 pm

leiavoia wrote:
March 3rd, 2021, 11:54 am
Would the Gorton Creek Trail to Green Point be navigable this time of year in normal foot ware? I have a week off starting March 15 and am considering a 3-4 backpack trip around the area. I have not been to Herman Creek area since the fire. I do not have special snow traction and am wondering if snow levels are low enough that I would not need it. Thanks
Gorton Creek hasn't been maintained in years and even without snow it's very difficult to follow any more once you get beyond where the old Deadwood Camp spot was. Best bet for Green Point would be the Herman Creek to Cedar Swamp to Green Point. But most of that is buried in snow right now.

You can check out the snow levels here: https://adamschneider.net/hiking/snow_depth.html, select USGS topo on the upper right and you can drill down to see the snow depth for an area you are interested in.

Deschutes River area might be a better bet. You can search around on this site and find multiple trip reports for that area.

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drm
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Re: 2021 Snow Level

Post by drm » March 3rd, 2021, 7:08 pm

Right, Green Point wouldn't normally be accessible snow free until June, or at least late May, if that's what you mean. If the snow is soft you could make it up without traction before that assuming you can navigate. In the final weeks before it melts there would be a track, but I doubt it in mid March. The little flat vista point right at Green Point makes a decent camping place, I've camped there a couple times - I wonder if it melts out early given the open exposure?
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Camp right at Green Point, 8-3-2013, looking down on Rainy Lake

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OneSpeed
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Re: 2021 Snow Level

Post by OneSpeed » March 5th, 2021, 8:59 am

Attempted a Multnomah-Wahkeena loop on March 4 and decided to turn around just above the bridge on Larch Mountain Trail. Dealing with icy snow in that canyon was bad enough, but when we imagined the descent through the Wahkeena switchbacks, we decided it was a good day for Hamilton instead.

This is just above the bridge:
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On the other hand, how often do you see Multnomah Falls look like this? This is from 8 a.m. Thursday.
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Hamilton was snow-free and not even very muddy to Little Hamilton.

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