Recent New and Latest Information

A pair of monsters and a whole mess of others

July 16, 2008

Alright, I'm about 1/3 done with adding in the information and pictures and write ups and such from the backlog. So far, I've added several falls from a couple runs down to the Columbia Gorge this spring, which includes documentation of the Middle and Upper mapped waterfalls along Ruckel Creek, the rarely seen Camp Benson Falls along Summit Creek, and better pictures of the falls along the Washougal River on the Washington side of the Columbia.

Also worth noting, I've added a whole bunch of pictures of Skookum and Snoquera Falls which were taken during the middle of May when Washington experienced the first 90 degree heat of 2008. The reason this was so noteworthy is up until that week, not a whole lot of snow had melted, so turning the oven on basically flash-melted several feet of this past winter's record snowpack in a matter of days. This resulted in flood-like behavior from virtually every seasonal waterfall in western Washington. Snoquera Falls, in particular, was absolutely spectacular, doing its best impression of something that belongs in Yosemite Valley.

Finally and probably most anticipated, I've been successful at bagging two of the biggest waterfalls in the frontcountry that had yet to be well documented, that being 588-foot Jordan Creek Falls near Marblemount and 221-foot tall, 267-foot wide Walupt Creek Falls south of Packwood. Both falls are absolutely immense, both made it onto the Top 10 list, cracking scores of 88 and 87 percent respectively, and best of all, both are easy enough to access that I don't have to be stingy and withhold detailed directions as a safety precaution.

One more quick note, I hiked up to Lake Ann in the Teanaway area on Monday and was treated to an absolutely epic sunset with a ridiculous carpet of shooting stars to go along with it, so it looks like wildflower season is quickly coming upon us. This means I'll be toning down the waterfall-bagging a bit to focus on the flowers (though I do try to plan hikes where I can get both photogenic scenery and waterfalls at this time of year). I'll be heading into the high country around Rainier, Baker, Cascade Pass and probably a little in the Alpine Lakes and maybe the Olympics even, so there's still plenty to come this year. I've got next week off and the last major targets on my 'during snowmelt' lists will be checked off, so keep your eyes glued to the news feed and check back often.

Bear with me during the catching-up

July 07, 2008

I've been polishing off some small finishing touches on the new site over the last several days. All the kinks should finally be worked out, and now that that's all out of the way, I'll be slowly adding new write ups and / or newly revised write ups and new pictures to about 75 more entries. This will probably take me the better part of the next two weeks, so please bear with me if you see a waterfall that has been flagged as Cataloged when there isn't any info or pictures. If you do, however, see any pictures missing, please let me know.

More Roads opening

July 07, 2008

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest has been slowly updating their Road Conditions page to reflect the state of the melt. Right now, it looks like FR 25 is still closed at Elk Pass, but FR 90 and FR 23 are open all the way through (though FR 23 is still closed south of Takhlakh Lake due to the washout from the 2006 floods. Also roads 21 and 2160 are clear as well, so Walupt Lake is open for business.

Why am I pointing out these specific roads? Two reasons: Snagtooth Falls and Walupt Creek Falls. Two of the biggest waterfalls in Southern Washington, both accessible now that the roads are clear and both should be running absolutely balls-to-the-wall right now. I'm hoping to get both of them bagged within the next two weeks.

I'm also trying to get a 3-4 day trip to the Cascade Lakes Loop area in Central Oregon planned. The Cascade Lakes Highway is open, but several sources still indicate there to be several feet of snow on the ground. Good for the streams, but bad for hiking and definitely not conditions I want to bag waterfalls in. We'll see if that even happens this year.

Access Reminder

July 04, 2008

Just a reminder to the summer waterfall hunters out there, there are still roads closed due to damage from the floods in 2006 and 2007. The North Fork Skykomish Road is closed 6 miles from Index and again between the Jacks Pass road and the Blanca Lake Trailhead. This renders Deer Falls, Bear Creek Falls, San Juan Falls and the many falls along the rotting Silver Creek trail, among others, largely inaccessible without bipedal means of transportation.

Down on the south side of Mount St. Helens, Forest Road 83, which accesses the trailheads for June Lake, Lava Canyon and Ape Canyon, is washed out at June Lake Creek. Repairs are certainly coming, but its not known when. The Sheep Canyon Road was severely damaged and will likely be permanently closed, making it necessary to hike in to the four waterfalls along Sheep Canyon Creek. Road 26 (Ryan Lake) on the north side of Mount St. Helens is closed 14 miles from its intersection of Road 25 by a landslide.

In the Mount Rainier area, the Carbon River Road remains closed and its looking more and more likely that the road may permanently close at the park entrance, which would render the many waterfalls around the Carbon Glacier much more difficult to access on a single day outing.

More content coming soon

July 04, 2008

I've been wrestling with this site for over 2 years now and my backlog of new waterfalls to post is more or less caught up...to this year at least. I've still got about 100 waterfalls I have to do write ups for and add in the pictures, so there will be lots and lots of new stuff added over the next couple of months (plus all the additional stuff I'll be bagging in the future, of course). Stay tuned.

Best Waterfall Season in a decade

July 04, 2008

Those of you paying attention, the Pacific Northwest recieved anywhere from 130 to 200% of normal snowfall this past winter, followed by an unusually cool spring. This has translated directly to tons of snow remaining in the mountains into July, and thus most of the streams and rivers in the Cascades are running ridiculously high right now.

Some of the higher backcountry roads are still thawing and aren't even accessible as of July 4th, which certainly doesn't help access issues for some of the higher elevation waterfalls, but most of the roads in the mountains are drivable now, so this is prime time to get out and see the insanity that some of these waterfalls are wreaking.

I recently spent a couple days around White Pass and Packwood and the flows I saw at locations like Clear Creek Falls and Thunder Falls were easily the higest I've ever seen. Going back to May when we had the first 90 degree days of the year, the falls along the Snoquera Palisades just north of the White River entrance to Mount Rainier National Park were running at absolutely staggering levels (check out Snoquera Falls for example).

These flows should continue well into August this year and I have a feeling that even the falls that exhibit largely seasonal behavior under typical conditions will probably be running strong through the whole summer. Don't let the high gas prices dissuade you, this is not the sort of conditions that happen frequently, so go see for yourself before all the water runs off.

The Northwest Waterfall Survey is LIVE!

June 25, 2008

Yes, its finally here. More than two years in the making, countless delays, unquantifiable levels of procrastination and tons and TONS of new content later, The Northwest Waterfall Survey is finally here. So you're probably asking yourself, "why the hell did it take so long for you to get this online?" The simple answer is, I've been too busy. Busy bagging waterfalls almost every weekend that the weather behaves (moreso after I finally replaced my aging Honda Prelude back in late '06), busy working, busy trying to build the site and not being satisfied with the design (which I'm sure I'll look at again and not be satisfied with it all over and start the whole vicious cycle again). Instead of dwelling on the production delays, focus on the good, the better and the awesome. The good is, lots of stuff is improved: bigger pictures, more waterfalls, easier to understand pages. The better is apparent with the inclusion of maps on each waterfall's page. Topo maps are not yet online, but they will be coming sooner rather than later. And of course, the awesome would be the addition of over 200 new waterfalls that I've been stockpiling since the last major update in 2006.

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