Ascent of Thomas Mountain on 2014-02-22

Climber: Chad Straub

Others in Party:Colin
Automahn (k9)
Date:Saturday, February 22, 2014
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Thomas Mountain
    Elevation:4240 ft / 1292 m

Ascent Trip Report

We initially planned to snowshoe up the Alpine Lookout near Lake Wenatchee, but after checking the cameras at Stevens Pass we chose to find something to do along Snoqualmie Pass instead. I can usually count on some sunshine Easton area when precipitation is scattered throughout the Cascades. This time we were merely taunted by the sun which remained hidden behind a high overcast layer despite making dozens of appearances. Several feet of fresh snow meant we were working for every single step. Thanks to heavy snowmobile traffic we were able to boot the first 3/4 mile, but the next stretch was the slowest I have ever moved over flat ground. This was the first time I have utilized the 6" extensions for my snowshoes, which seemed to make little difference. We finally reached the trailhead after an hour and a half, where we took the first break to refuel by the dam on Silver Creek.

Once we began to truly ascend it became clear that we had already found our max speed. Each step up was rewarded by half a step back down as our snowshoes sunk deep into the powder. We were able to follow the trail for the most part until about 200' below the first junction on the west end of Easton Ridge. We reached the signed junction nearly 5 hours after leaving the truck. It was becoming clear that we wouldn't be reaching our destination by our predetermined turn-around point. We took a break and decided to continue on our planned route up the Domerie Divide Trail and hopefully reach Para Point before retreating.

We stayed close to the edge of the trees, being careful to avoid the exposed cliffs to the west. Throughout the day we heard at least 5 separate short whoosh and booms which we assumed to be small avalanches in the Silver Creek Valley. Dozens of small cornices littered the mostly flat, wind swept forest. Most of the larger tree trunks were plastered with triangular prisms of snow on the windward side. A group of four appeared below us around 3400'. They thanked us for breaking trail and we let them pass while we sat down on a mellow sloped ledge to take a break.

Easton Ridge was barely visible through the falling snow, which was building in size and momentum by the minute. The descent was quick and pleasant. We were surprised to find that some of the barely hour-old tracks had been completely covered by fresh wind-blown powder. I noticed a small memorial to Richard Woodworth on a tree west of the Easton Ridge/Domerie Divide junction.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2140 ft / 652 m
    Extra Gain:50 ft / 15 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Trailhead:Kachess Dam Road  2200 ft / 670 m
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Snowing, Cold, Windy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Time:8 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Chad Straub
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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