Two tries at Mount Seymour in the same day
Iíve been wanting to get out and find a pocket of decent weather lately to get out for a hikeÖ I thought I could find some decent weather to hike down by Greendrop and Radium Wednesday, I even camped out at Pierce Lake Trailhead, but it just poured all night and didnít look good later on. Drove out to Skagit Valley Road to Eaton Trailhead...clouds still didnít look to good, tried heading up to Yale, and then another dump of rain...so I headed home. Today looked sunny so I thought Iíd give a shot at heading out to Mount Seymour and possibly Mount Elsay too.
Started at Seymour parking lot closest to the trails and Mystery Chair. No snow around there, but the snow starts basically right where the Dog Mountain heads left. Just wore my trail runners up to Elsay Lake Splitoff. Looks like no one has gone down there in awhile, definitely needs snowshoes from that junction if you were going to Mount Elsay. I went toward Seymour, a couple minutes from First pump the snow gets real deep. Just past the first pump, the cloud made it hard to see where I was going or what to look out for. Snow came down heavier and added a mix of hail in as well.
I hiked through that space between first pump and the second peak and postholing happened more and more often, I had snowshoes but I just didnít want to throw them on. Going up the gulley, valley, whatever up to Second Peak, it looked like no one had been up there in a couple weeks, at one point I couldnít tell which direction the trail went and then just stared at the snow coming down, even harder. Not expecting much snow up there and definitely not expecting it to snow and be that dark, it became really discouraging. Iíve never been up to Mount Seymour peak, so I wasnít sure what to expect on this trail. In that gulley, I probably stared at the snow coming down for 5-10 minutes then made the tough decision to turn back. Stood in a small set of trees to block me from the snow for another 5-10 minutes not believing that Iím turning back. I got back to First pump when the sun came out just to give some light and another hiker came up and told me he was heading up Mt Seymour...Game on. Told me the other 6 or 7 in his group all bailed just after first pump.
Heading up the gulley to Second Peak, it got pretty tricky to navigate. On the back side of Second Peak, you would need to have your snowshoes off to do the Traverse or else you could be sent for a good drop. So much bursting through the ground beneath us from there up to the peak of Semyour Mountain, wearing shorts it was really starting to hurt but didnít feel like putting on the gaiters either, just put the Yaktrax on. Finally made it to that summit though, realizing I balanced on the luck side of being able to complete that hike!
Doing hikes solo is really tough mentally, Iíve been fortunate enough to not have any physical doubts ever on my hikes, but that loneliness in the cold really does it to me. This one, summitting up Mt Macfarlane in the morning, and going up the wrong route while rock climbing up Superstition mountain in Arizona and where the temperature dropped suddenly that high in January. The amount of energy mentally to hike solo sometimes can be overwhelming when not in ideal conditions. I got lucky on this one to be able to finish it otherwise I wouldnít have been back until May.