This is always a special time of year when the North Cascades Highway opens. Skiers will flock to Washington Pass for easy access to some spectacular terrain, bikers can ride along 5' tall snowbanks, alpine climbing can be combined with ski descents, and the local hiking and climbing in Mazama is ready. Here are the latest conditions:
- Highway 20 will open Friday April 22 at 11am to both east and west bound traffic.
- Skiers will find lots of snow above 4000'. No parking lots will be plowed yet so be prepared to line up along the snowbanks for the Birthday Tour. Access to Silverstar from Silverstar Creek may include a bit of dirt but mostly skinable to the summit.
- Alpine climbers can find great ski access to the Early Winter Spires. There is nothing better than skiing back to your car after climbing the South Arete on South Early Winter Spire!
- Mazama crags like Fun Rock, The Matrix, Goat Wall are mostly dry and ready for climbers. Prospector crag has a few seeps and Restless Natives will stay wet for a while longer.
- Hikers will need to stay low but they will be rewarded with Spring Beauties and Balsam Root flowers. Dry hikes include Cedar Creek to the falls, Monument Creek, West Fork of Methow (for first couple miles), Spokane Gulch, Community Trail, and, of course, trails down valley like Pipestone Canyon, Lewis Butte, Patterson Mountain, etc... Hikes that are NOT accessible include Goat Peak, PCT, Maple Pass, Cutthroat, and other trails above 4000'.
- Mountain Bikers will find dry single track at Riser Lake, Sun Mountain, and most of Rendezvous Basin. Buck Mountain is too wet to ride.
- Hart's Pass is has 87" of snow according to the Snotel Site. The gate to Harts Pass is closed at the trailer turn-around 10 miles below the pass. However campers will find dry spots at River Bend and Ballard campgrounds.
The Goat's Beard will be open daily from 9-5 and we have a great selection of new gear, footwear, and clothing for Spring. Stop by for any questions or just to visit after the long winter away!
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