It rained at the car.
It rained at the creek.
It rained at the saddle.
It snowed at the summit.
But, oh, what a lovely hike. Thanks to EWB who did the hard work of getting lost on Tuesday and showing us where not to go we were able to pretty efficiently get to the saddle between Guye Peak and Cave Ridge in under an hour and a half. Sure, we'd lost one hiker along the way, but you kind of expect that on a night like this.
The snow was sloppy from the "parking lot." Six of us started out on the brutal climb to the trailhead where we marveled at the new bathrooms. The usually claustrophobic tunnel of brush was a wide-open thoroughfare courtesy of all the snow still sticking around. Everything was strange and unfamiliar.
The new bridge across Commonwealth Creek was a bit tricky to get on and off with snowshoes, but nobody fell, much to the chagrin of photographers ready to capture a soaking. We were cautious of thinning snow bridges and creek cornices as we made our way.
The winter route is much more direct than the summer trail and seemed somehow shorter. We snowshoed until we had to traverse below some cliffs. The hard snow made boots a far better choice for most. A few steep climbs and we were at the saddle where it continued to rain.
Left for Guye, Right for Cave Ridge. Just watch out for the caves. It wouldn't do to fall into one. We opted for a very direct climb to the top following a set of old boot tracks/bear prints. Which were they? You decide, but since the resident TNAB joker claims they are bear might be cause to doubt.
The summit was windy and cold with big flakes falling. The views were limited, but the wine was good. You just need to look out for the bears. RAWR!
Back the way we came, we made great time with a few bumpy glissades. Snowshoes remained stowed and the bridge was easier to cross. Our missing hiker's car was gone so either he's still out there and somebody stole his car (talk about bad luck) or he made it back. We'll find out next week.
Totals: 5.2 miles and 2,224 feet.