Despite our many overcast and rainy days during winter months in the northwest, we do have sunny days too. I am blessed to have the scheduling flexibility to take advantage when the sun shines, so off to Suntop I went this past Monday. For those not familiar, Suntop is an old fire lookout located east of Greenwater. The trailhead is located at a Sno Park maintained by the U.S. Forest Service and you will need a special Sno Park Pass to park here. You can purchase them at Wapiti Woolies in Greenwater on your way up. Put on your snowshoes. 5 1/2 miles and 3,050 feet of elevation gain will get you to the top (11 miles roundtrip). Lot's of snow this year.
Virtually all signs of people activity on the way up are in the first 1 to 2 miles. After that, you may find yourself needing to break trail. You can see my trail in the above photo as I neared the lookout. This makes it quite a workout. You also need to exercise caution and stay away from cornices that build up like the one you see above. These are what start avalanches on steep slopes.
Normally you have to climb up stairs to the lookout, but not now. As always, I found the views to be spectacular, particularly at sunset.
The cornice in this photo was pretty crusty and wind blown. At this time of year, the sun sets fairly close to the mountain and you can capture both in one shot using a 24mm lens. Later in the summer, you will need to stich several photos together providing a panorama.
So many neat views. The photo that follows is my favorite from this trip.
One challenge, though, if you want to take sunset pics up here is that after the sun sets, it get's dark and you will need a headlamp to find your way down. I did hear some Fox or Wolf sounds - a little spooky but no worries. To find the trailhead, take Highway 410 east of Enumclaw past Greenwater. Look for a sign for FS Road 73 on your right. Turn here and cross the bridge. Continue along and you will run into the Sno Park. The logging road gate is locked and this is where you begin. Follow the road/trail to the left up FS 7315 and this will lead you to Suntop. Snow all the way.