Monthly Archives: January 2013

Pratt River Bar trail proposal

Pratt River bar trail stream crossing

Precarious crossing to Pratt River bar trail

The Forest Service has proposed improved access to the Pratt river bar, including a new bridge across a creek and a toilet. Currently the trail to the river bar requires negotiating a few carefully balanced steps on logs spanning a small creek, then deciding which of several gravelly paths to follow to reach the river.
In their words this project will “provide safe access to the Pratt Bar, by converting 1,100 ft. of closed non-system road to a USFS system trail. A 35-40 foot bridge would be constructed over a creek and a toilet and trailhead sign would be installed in the existing parking lot.” The comment period ends in March, 2013. Funding for this work is pending approval of a package of enhancements associated with the FHWA paving project.

photo by Mark Griffith

New toilet facilities along the Middle Fork road are always welcome. This old model near the bar follows the privacy-by-obscurity model — good luck finding it!
Pratt Valley view

Pratt Valley view from the bar

Pratt bar campsite

Dispersed campsite by the river bar

Based on the number of fire pits, this is a popular area for dispersed camping and for good reason — the views on both sides of the river are outstanding. During low water periods, it’s also a short-cut to the Pratt River valley if you’re willing to ford the river.

Pratt River bar trail proposal map

Note: The Google satellite imagery has an offset error for most of the Pratt River valley and some outside of it. That’s why the annotations on this map are off. The line for the road and other items are correct, the satellite imagery is shifted north.
View Pratt River Bar trail in a larger map

Download 94062_FSPLT2_375332.pdf
PDF archive of the Forest Service proposal

Wing suit jumper missing

On January 3, 2013 Kurt Ruppert, a Florida wing suit enthusiast, jumped out of a chartered helicopter hovering over Mt Si at 6500′ to begin another of his over 1000 thrilling jumps. It was the last time anyone ever saw him. Two companions jumped just before him and were waiting in the landing zone, but did not see him jump, or see his chute deploy. The Mount Si trailheads were closed to function as a base for Search and Rescue operations. About 145 searchers covered a 9 square mile area on the flanks and cliffs of Mount Si for 4 days before concluding that it was unlikely Kurt had survived, given the cold conditions and lack of contact from him. The story drew national coverage because of the sensational nature of the sport and the suspense over whether Kurt had survived. Messages of grief and condolence convey the tragedy of this accident.
Kurt Rupport Jr

Kurt Ruppert Jr

SMR Mt Si search

Mt Si search below west side cliffs – photo by SMR

SMR Mt Si search

Mt Si search – photo by SMR

SMR Mt Si search

Mt Si search, behind the haystack – photo by SMR

Related coverage

  • 2013/01/04 Searchers comb Mount Si for missing skydiver
  • 2013/01/04 Missing Skydiver Identified
  • 2013/01/04 Missing skydiver had made more than 1,000 jumps
  • 2013/01/05 Crews Continue To Look For Skydiver In Washington
  • 2013/01/04 Search for missing Lake City skydiver resumes Saturday
  • 2013/01/05 Crews narrow search area for skydiver in Wash
  • 2013/01/06 Search Suspended: Skydiver Kurt Ruppert Still Missing on Mt. Si
  • 2013/01/06 Ground search ends for skydiver missing in Washington
  • 2013/01/07 Rescuers scour Washington’s Cascade Mountains for missing skydiver
  • 2013/01/07 Police: Missing skydiver likely hasn’t survived
  • 2013/01/09 Search ends for skydiver
  • SMR February newsletter includes details of the search operation.
    Lower three photos courtesy of Seattle Mountain Rescue.