Route Name: South Face/South Ridge
Snow Level: 5200 ft
Elevation Gain: 3400 ft
Total Miles: 8.00 mi
Gear: Ice Axes
Weather: High Cloud Ceiling, dry and cool - perfect
Climbers: Cac Kamak, Rob Smith, Kate Smith, Hazel Smith, Charlie the Dog
Photo Credit: Cac
Lovely day for a hike up Green Mtn! Also, a great time to try out the sweet backpack that Don and Karen lent us for Hazel... thanks! The weather in the lowlands was looking a bit marginal and we were anticipating some precipitation for the day, though the weather did look to be improving over the course of the afternoon. We had a casual start and left Mt Vernon around 8am.
Long drive up the Suiattle River Road-- about 1.25 hours total from the turnoff of Hwy 530. The paved road turned to fairly potholed dirt around the 10 mile mark which made for some slow going for the final 15 miles. There was one other car at the trailhead.
The trail made a modest, steady climb through mixed hemlock and douglas fir for about an hour until breaking out into open "meadows" I say meadows like that because they are really a lush, bursting hillside filled with thick green growth and wildflowers -- lupine, various paintbrushes, cow parsnip, huckleberry blossoms, columbine, valerian (?) to name a few.
The trail was cruiser up to about the 5200ft level, when we hit snow and left the summer trail to contour around a shoulder. A bit of tricky sidehilling in the snow through thick tress and over brush -- maybe it was having our baby on my back that made me a bit more cautious than normal? The snow was softening up and made kicking steps fairly straightforward, but still...
After about a 1/2 mile and passing a melting out small lake, we made it into the basin below the summit of Green. We decided on a lunch break in a wind protected pocket and watched a black bear ambling slowly through the adjacent meadow across the creek.
The summit itself was shrouded in cloud, and you could only see the snowfields leading up toward the summit which disappeared into the mist, making the whole peak a lot more foreboding than it turned out to be. The wind picked up a bit and the temperature was dropping, as well.
We switched to axes and started up the steep snow, looking to hop-scotch "islands" of rock and alpine vegetation. Hazel decided it was time for her to stop and so she and I found a cozy spot to hang out while Cac and Kate made a run up toward the ridge and onto the summit. After about 45 minutes, Cac and Kate returned and we traded off while I headed up to the summit while they began the slow descent with baby Hazel in tow. A quick tag of the summit and the lookout and I hustled down the ridge to meet up with them for a smooth descent through snow, meadows and forest down to the trailhead.