Last weekend, Sean, Charlie, Michele, and I climbed to the top of Mount Snoqualmie. I carried Zombie Dice up, and we played a quick “sudden death” round of Zombie Dice at the top. The hike was very difficult and as Michele and I started to get to the end of our strength on the way up, she invented a hiking game for us to play along the way.
We started at the Alpental parking lot at Snoqualmie Pass, at an elevation of around 3,010 feet, I think it was. We then climbed to 6,280 feet over a distance of about 3 miles. The trail for Mount Snoqualmie and Guye Peak is an unofficial trial that starts near the Snow Lake trail.
Sean climbed Mount Snoqualmie more than 11 years ago with his mom and brother and has been wanting to climb to the top with me ever since. We tried about five years ago, but we started too late in the morning and had to turn around when we were fairly close to the top because darkness was coming. Earlier this summer, I promised Sean that we would go, and we set a date in mid September. Charlie and Michele decided to go along with us, although I think they might not have gone if they had realized how painful and strenuous it would be.
The trail starts off in a field and quickly turns into a very rocky trail where you have to climb over rocks of all sizes, often using both your feet and also your hands to pull yourself up the trail. At least parts of the trail are called “scrambling” because they require both hands and feet. At first, it’s difficult to get warmed up and comfortable with scrambling because we had just been sitting in the car for an hour and were suddenly working hard physically.
We each had a fairly heavy backpack with water and food and emergency supplies just in case anything went wrong, since this trail is not heavily used and we didn’t expect to encounter many other people.
The trail is not well marked, but Sean knew the way pretty well, and we had a GPS, so we weren’t too worried about getting lost. The only sign along the trail was this easy to miss sign nailed to a tree that points out where people should split off for Guye Peak vs. Mt Snoqualmie.
Mount Snoqualmie is a higher elevation than Guye Peak, but Guye Peak is more technically difficult to climb to the summit (more like exposed and dangerous rock climbing).
One nice thing about the Snoqualmie trail is that there are pretty amazing views almost the entire way. Here are some of the views we got to see, even though there was also a lot of fog that prevented us from getting much of a view at the very top.
The trail up seemed to go on for a very long time. It also rained pretty hard for parts of the hike up. Here are some photos of us making our way up the trail:
As Michele and I started to lose steam and lag behind a little in the last 1,000 feet or so, she told me that we were going to play a game. (She knows I love games!) She said she would choose something up ahead, and we had to hike to it and could then stop and pick another object to hike to.
That “game” definitely helped me get up the mountain, because it gave us many small chunks to accomplish instead of looking up and getting overwhelmed by the summit that seemed to be constantly moving farther away instead of getting closer.
At one point, I chose a “poking up sticky thing” ahead as our next marker (I was not very articulate at that point). Charlie was a little ahead of us and noticed that the object I had picked was actually a light piece of wood, so as a little prank, he picked it up and carried it farther along the trail. Michele and I were so tired and out of it that we didn’t even notice for a while! But we did figure out that the sticky thing seemed way too far ahead!
Not too long after that, we reached the top.
It was very windy and cold up there! I think it was close to snowing temperatures, and the rain that was coming down on us actually seemed almost like snowy rain–you could tell it wouldn’t have taken much of a temperature change for it to be actual snow. We had a chilly picnic up there anyway.
There was another party at the top with us–a group of about five men. They were having a picnic and drinking wine. They told us that the place we were having our picnic was not the true summit and that the true summit was actually a short distance away.
So after the picnic, we packed up and hiked a few minutes more to the true summit. That part of the hike was not difficult but was a little scary because there were huge dropoffs a few feet past the trail we were hiking on.
When we got to the true summit, I pulled out Zombie Dice and we played a quick “sudden death” round because we were too cold to play a full game. Sean won the round with 2 brains.
The crazy part was that we were all quite tired already after four hours of such strenuous hiking, and then we had to hike back! And going downhill was actually a lot harder because it was harder to maintain balance, and the impact on our knees and ankles became painful.
Unfortunately, I twisted my ankle just as we started going down. But the pain in that ankle was soon masked by the massive all over pain throughout my body as we continued down.
This was the most difficult hike I have ever done, and I wasn’t especially fit before doing it, which made it harder. My body got so exhausted on the way down that I was shaky and kept falling down. It seemed like forever to get back down to the car!
The entire trip took us almost 8 hours, and we were all incredibly sore for days afterward. It was a big achievement, and I’m glad we managed to incorporate a least a couple of “games” into what was a somewhat agonizing day for me!