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Jan 03 2017
keepmoving
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 Guides 34
 Routes 249
 Photos 2,196
 Triplogs 591

35 male
 Joined Aug 16 2006
 Portland, OR
Larch Mountain from Multnomah Falls Loop TrailNorth Central, OR
North Central, OR
Hiking avatar Jan 03 2017
keepmoving
Hiking11.13 Miles 3,699 AEG
Hiking11.13 Miles   7 Hrs   5 Mns   1.57 mph
3,699 ft AEG20 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Decided to usher in the new year with an epic hike up to Larch Mountain. Long trail, good amount of elevation gain, temperature in the mid 20s, and a good amount of fresh powder and black ice. It was the perfect combination for a very memorable hike.

While we had initially planned to start from Multnomah Falls for a shorter approach, the forest service had closed the gate at the bottom due to trail conditions. So a last minute change of plans forced us to divert to the Wahkeena Falls trailhead. The forecast for the day was temps in the 20s and clear skies. The start of the hike was a bit breezy, but once we gained some elevation and began to enter the forest the wind died down and it was quite pleasant. After scouting the area a couple weeks ago and seeing how slick the ice was, we all made sure we were prepared for the conditions with Kahtoola MICROspikes (worth their weight in gold, I will never hike in snow or ice without them). We were able to make it up the first section of trail in just our boots, but shortly after passing Lemmon's viewpoint we decided it was time to chain up. As we followed Wahkeena Creek uphill we entered a beautiful winter wonderland, the patchy snow and ice turned into a solid sheet of white above 800' and only got deeper the further we climbed.

Three miles into the hike we turned right onto Larch Mountain trail and began to gain elevation in earnest. While I was completely sure we would be the only hikers foolhardy enough to attempt to hike to Larch Mountain in the snow, I was pleasantly surprised to follow the prints of several previous hikers, making route finding much easier. It was slow going as we plowed our way through the snow- on average we were probably hiking in about a foot of snow, but some of the larger drifts were 2 to 3' deep. As we ascended our water bottles slowly froze and our clothing iced over. We had to strike a delicate balance with our pace- if we moved too slowly we would tire ourselves out and get cold. But if we moved to fast we would get too hot, sweat, and then freeze. We also had to limit our breaks, since standing still for more than a couple minutes would result in us becoming cold.

We stopped briefly for a break about a 1/4 mile shy of the upper Franklin Ridge Trail junction, just over 2 miles from the top. After a brief discussion, we decided we were all exhausted and it was probably best to head back down and save the summit for another day. We enjoyed some hot chocolate and Kaloola and then turned around and headed back down.

On the way down we encountered 2 older Russian men who were making their way up the trail. Both were wearing blue jeans, and only 1 was carrying a backpack. We chatted with them for a bit and learned they were on their way to Larch Mountain. I was a bit surprised by this- it was almost 2:30 pm, and its completely dark by 5pm this time of year. The guys still had a solid 5 miles and almost 2,500' of climbing to reach the summit, then another 7 miles to get back to the parking lot. There was no way they were making it down before dark, and highly unlikely they would make it to the top before dark. I voiced my skepticism and confirmed that they knew what they were getting into, they said they had been to the top before and that they had flashlights, but it really didn't seem to be a smart move given the circumstances... :-k

The rest of the hike down was fairly uneventful. We decided to follow the Multnomah Falls trail to the highway, then take the return trail to Wahkeena. While Multnomah Falls is technically closed- we were doing the falls from the top down and we encountered no signs warning us to stay off the trail, and we were armed with microspikes. I also figured that we were fatigued enough and running out of daylight, that saving an extra mile and a half to descend Multnomah falls was worth the risk. I also speculated that descending Multnomah would be no worse than heading down Wahkeena.

As we worked our way down trail, we passed a growing number of tourists who were all slipping and sliding in the ice. And by the time we reached the Benson Bridge, the trail was completely covered in the normal number of tourists- all of whom had walked past the clearly marked "TRAIL CLOSED" sign at the bottom of the falls. I feel like a hypocrite for criticizing their actions, since we were walking on the same trail, but in my defense- we came prepared for the conditions and knew what we were getting into. The tourists walking up the trail were slipping and sliding on solid sheets of black ice as they shuffled along like penguins. The part that angered me the most were the number of families with small children!!! The parents were trying to drag their children along the ice or carrying them on their shoulders as they slid along the path. It's one thing to endanger yourself, but to risk your child like that, I just don't how people can be that oblivious to the dangers and so selfish. ](*,)
Meteorology
Meteorology
Snow
_____________________
May 24 2016
keepmoving
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 Guides 34
 Routes 249
 Photos 2,196
 Triplogs 591

35 male
 Joined Aug 16 2006
 Portland, OR
Larch Mountain from Multnomah Falls Loop TrailNorth Central, OR
North Central, OR
Run/Jog avatar May 24 2016
keepmoving
Run/Jog16.14 Miles 4,258 AEG
Run/Jog16.14 Miles   4 Hrs   44 Mns   30 Secs3.40 mph
4,258 ft AEG12 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
60 degrees out. Mostly Cloudy. Moderate trail traffic. Ground slick from recent rain.

First trip up to Larch Mountain since last year. Set out to beat last years time and absolutely crushed it!!!! :y: New PR by 59 minutes! Usually I can look back at a hike or run and critique where I got complacent and could have pushed myself harder, but not today! I did the uphill as fast as I possibly could- running anything that was even remotely close to flat and power hiking the steep sections. I managed to jog or run a solid 95% of the downhill.

I made it to the top at Sherrard Point in 2:10. I took a quick 5 minute break to rearrange my water bottles and grab snacks before zipping downhill again. Larch Mountain Rd must still be closed- there were just a couple of cyclists in the parking lot.

I took the long way down using Multnomah Creek Way. I ran out of water on the way downhill and waited until the last bridge before Larch Mountain to refill. Probably not the best idea- but I was too focused on setting a PR to want to stop.

Back on Larch Mtn Trail by the High-Water Bypass I encountered 2 hikers that I had passed earlier in the day shortly before Larch Mountain. They had gotten ahead of me on the way down since I took the route that's 2 miles longer. After jogging past them, I turned around and saw them sprinting to catch up with me. I wasn't going to let that happen- even with tired and cramping legs I pushed on and soon lost sight of them. Finishing the trail in 4:44:30. I waited at the base of the falls for 10 minutes while I drank water to see how much of a lead I had on them- but they never arrived. Guess I won that race :DANCE:

I did have some cramping in my legs on the way back, but nothing nearly as extreme as I have encountered on recent hikes. The extra pre-hydration is working!
Culture
Culture
HAZ - Selfie
_____________________
Jun 10 2015
keepmoving
avatar

 Guides 34
 Routes 249
 Photos 2,196
 Triplogs 591

35 male
 Joined Aug 16 2006
 Portland, OR
Larch Mountain from Multnomah Falls Loop TrailNorth Central, OR
North Central, OR
Hiking avatar Jun 10 2015
keepmoving
Hiking16.22 Miles 4,290 AEG
Hiking16.22 Miles   5 Hrs   43 Mns   2.84 mph
4,290 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The weather was beautiful in the lower 80s today so I decided it was finally time to hike to Larch Mtn from Multnomah Falls. Having never even driven up the mountain, I really didn't know what to expect.

As usual, the hike to the top of Multnomah Falls was crowded. But once past the top it thinned dramatically, and after passing Weisendanger Falls I only encountered 2 other people on the trail.

I used Trail #444 to a clockwise loop to Sherrard Point, then came back down using #441. Although I am normally a fan of loop hikes since I hate walking the same trail twice, #444 was pretty boring and the extra 2 miles it added onto the climb to the top made it feel exceptionally long. And walking the 1/4 mile up the paved road from #444 kinda takes away from the nature experience.
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average hiking speed 2.2 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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