Snowmageddon round two is supposed to deliver a heavy dump of snow Friday afternoon through Saturday. We should see some blue sky on Sunday, so time for the annual snowshoe trip to Pratt Mountain!
Join the waitlist and I will add you to the confirmed group once you answer the question and meet the requirements.
Winter hiking experience required - snow, ice and steep hiking conditions.
Nestled in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of Washington State, near I-90 & Snoqualmie Pass, the area around Pratt Mountain is no stranger to visitors. However, with no clear "trail" to the mountaintop, and with definitive trails going to surrounding lakes and mountains, few people actually attempt to summit the peak itself. In summer, the route is rocky and brushy. In winter, it's prime snowshoe territory.
This is a long route, covering several miles before we start the climb to the peak. Usually the first couple of miles is pretty packed down by foot traffic, and goes quickly. Once we cross 3000 feet of elevation, we'll likely encounter a foot or more of softer snow. From here, we'll need to work as a group to break trail. We will be moving at a fast rate and will stay together for the whole trip. You must be a strong and fast hiker with excellent stamina to join this group.
From the trailhead, hike along the wide Pratt Lake Trail (#1007), crossing several streams fed by snowbanks high up on the flanks of Granite Mountain. In winter, these streams may be frozen solid, so use care when crossing.
Three miles in, you’ll come to a junction. The left-hand fork leads to the Ollalie Lake Trail in just 0.2 miles, but Pratt Mountain is found by taking the right-hand fork, which traverses the hillside and then begins climbing to a junction with the Island Lake/Mount Defiance Trail (#1009) after 1.2 miles. Just before this junction, you’ll reach a clear spot in the trail, where Ollalie Lake lies still and green (or white and frozen, whatever) in the valley below you, and Rainier hovers straight ahead.
From the junction, follow Trail #1009 to the left. The trail continues to bend around the north side of Olallie Lake, while the southern ridge connecting to Pratt Mountain rises to the right, curving northwest to north. Stay on the ridge and follow it as it snakes north to the summit. The ridge is heavily forested in spots, and rocky with open slopes in others. Careful route selection is required through here. One short section traverses a steep, slippery side slope before regaining the ridge. Ice axe is often required to safely cross this.
What to Bring:
Required: Snowshoes, ice axe, traction devices (microspikes)
Ten essentials, food (lunch + snacks), 2-3 liters water, tasty beverage to toast with at the summit, waterproof hiking boots, gaiters, hiking poles, pack, layers to keep warm/cool, wind/rain shell, sun protection (glasses, sunscreen), camera, headlamp or flashlight, a keen sense of adventure.
Weather forecast for Sunday calls for morning clouds giving way to sun, with light winds and well-below-freezing temperatures throughout the route. Double-check the weather forecast and dress appropriately for winter adventuring!
Starting Elevation: 1800 feet
Summit Elevation: 5099 feet
Total Gain: 3350 feet
Round Trip Distance: 9-10 miles
Expect an all-day adventure, returning late afternoon / early evening.
Trailhead Driving Directions:
Take I-90 east to exit 47, then turn left (north) to cross over the freeway. In 0.2 miles, at a T intersection take another left. The parking lot is just around the corner.
Northwest Forest Pass required to park at the trailhead.