We knew it was going to be a late night from the beginning. Heck, we weren't leaving for the Pass until 8pm. Five of us (me, Jeremy, Ross, Tokul, and Chase) left the trailhead at about 8:45 after a stop at the local gas station. Jeremy filled us in on the some of the stranger aspects of the mini mart.
By the cash register was a box of socks. Socks? They sell two boxes a week. No matter the season everyone comes down from the mountains with wet feet. "DRY SOCKS! YEAH!" The underwear didn't sell so well. Probably because nobody would say, "DRY UNDERWEAR! YEAH!" In fact the store is full of weird items. Check it out next time you pass Truck Town.
Ah, but the hike. We started without snowshoes because the snow was completely consolidated from the storms early in December. The trail has been well loved and a trench extends way up the hill. We all had sleds (I had my pulk) and intended to ride the trench all the way to the bottom.
At about 3,800 feet we switched from boots to snowshoes to put an end to the postholing. The tracks led to the the saddle at 4,250 so we had unbroken snow for the last little bit of gain to the overlook.
Had the sky been clear and the moon out we'd have had a great view south to Rainier. However, we had views only of occasional flurries, a bit of the road at Snoqualmie Pass itself, and none of the mountains around us.
With little to look at we ate cookies and headed down. At the saddle we dropped snowshoes with the intention of riding the sleds down, but found the going really difficult. The slope wasn't quite steep enough and the snow a little too hard. Ross lost a dollar to Jeremy on a bet that he couldn't ride the sled standing up for 20 feet and shortly thereafter we were booting back down the hill postholing all the time.
The rest of the route down was a mix of postholing, trying to sled, and more postholing.
When we finally did get a good run in it was brutal. The previous footprints were rock hard in the snow so we were beaten badly. Both the saucers Jeremy and Ross brought actually broke. The pulk did great, though it was too wide to take advantage of one of the best slopes due to the depth of the trench.
However, I had some very fast runs toward the end. After each I'd lie back and look at the stars while Tokul caught up. Good times.
Back at the truck we found that the lock was frozen. (It was about 26F.) Lighters didn't help, but leftover cocoa did the trick. We got home about 2am. Ugh.
Seven miles, 2,000 feet of gain.