Sam has been asking to see what I do with my weekends for awhile now, so I thought I would give her a good idea by taking her up Mount Pilchuck over the weekend. Based on trip reports, the snow didn’t seem too bad, and the day’s weather was shaping up to be perfect for a view. Unfortunately, I vastly underestimated (forgot) how much more difficult the climb can be when snow covered. The day started out excellent and, at least for the first mile, was completely snow free. It was after this that the snow began in earnest. It wouldn't have been awful save for the fact that it is an extremely popular hike and with all of the people packing it down, the trail was more ice than it was snow. I am glad that we started early so that we could take it slow.
Sam Checking Out The Short Scramble Section
The worst part of the day came at the point where the trail crosses from the north side of the mountain over to the west, during the summer there is switchbacks, and there was a sudden turn uphill where you had to grab roots just to pull yourself up. Sam has not had the experience outdoors that I have in life, and so, I was surprised when she said “let’s go for it”. If you are not experienced and meet the same conditions you may want to turn back, but she gave it her all and made it up without any issue (some assistance from me required). After this small scramble section the climb was really quite simple, just a hike through some very steep snow. Once at the top the lookout wasn’t open but it was free of snow and had an insanely good view of the North Cascades. I am extremely glad we took the trip, and very proud of her for making it, but once again if you are not experienced you may just want to wait for a time when the snow has melted back.