Multnomah Falls snow conditions 2022/12/27

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Joined: May 11th, 2015, 8:41 pm
Location: Troutdale

Multnomah Falls snow conditions 2022/12/27

Post by squidvicious » December 27th, 2022, 3:02 pm

When I saw there was going to be a relative break in the rain this morning I decided to try to hit up multnomah falls. I was hoping to check what damage recent storms had wrought, but I had also seen snow conditions were pretty bad, so I wasn't sure how far I'd get. Figured I'd probably get turned back at the Wiesendanger switchbacks, but that's OK.

Snow really was quite bad! That's the first time I can ever remember having to duck to get under the railroad bridge. Up to the Benson bridge it was pretty typical winter snowy conditions: snow/ice-turning-to-slush on the viewing platform and walkways, then the big steep bank of snow that always blocks the walkway shortly before the bridge. Fine with microspikes.

What did surprise me a bit was that the big steep banks of snow continued to cover the majority of the trail all the way up the paved section. I drove out on Christmas day (stymied by flooding) and don't remember the hillside looking like it even had enough snow on it for that.

More sketchy snow crossings on Larch until I made it to Wiesendanger. I didn't try to go on, but what I could see actually looked better than I expected. But I'd burned a lot of time by then and the harder rain was kicking in. Some of the snow was already pretty soft. It's one thing to be able to kick steps in those banks and trust your spikes will grip, but that doesn't help if the whole surface sloughs off under your weight.

All in all, even properly equipped, experienced hiking there in those conditions, and prepared to turn back when necessary, it was still pretty sketchy. So it was absolutely INSANE the number of people I saw with nothing on but tennis shoes. One guy was picking his way across the snow before the Benson bridge (which mind you was higher than the wall there, so there's nothing to catch you). His feet shot out from under him and he's in the air in a superman pose with nothing holding him there besides his fingers clutching the debris fence. Does it dawn on him this is a bad idea? No, he scrambled back up and repeated exactly the same thing again. I passed two girls on the first switchback that I have no idea how they even got that far. Hopefully they figured it out before they tried to go much farther, because there was 0% chance of getting through and not landing on the highway below. But, Disneyland! They wouldn't let us come here if it was dangerous! (which is exactly what I'm afraid of).


Interested to hear updates on conditions or reports of what things look like farther on, if anyone's out that way.

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