The DNR has released detailed project materials for a proposed new Teneriffe trailhead along the Mount Si road. The SEPA documents are available on the project’s web page and comments should be submitted by Sunday, July 24, 2016. The planed site is not at the school bus turn-around, but at a location closer to the Mount Si trailhead. The plan is very similar to the one discussed at the public forum in January, 2016
Update: In mid-August the DNR released the Notice of Final Determination for the Teneriffe parking lot project. Comments were generally positive but with concerns similar to those that came up in the public forums.
Proposed Mount Teneriffe Trailhead location
Proposed Mount Teneriffe Trailhead – Site Plan (Draft for planning purposes only)
The end of 2015 saw two notable ski feats on Mount Si; one a descent from the top of haystack and the other down the Black Canyon. Both were made possible by unusually heavy snow fall that was stable enough to ski on without triggering slides.
Mount Si from Rachor Place NE
Peter Avolio, Trevor Kostanich and Dave Jordan accomplished a rare ski descent of Mount Si starting from the top of the haystack. Previous descents have been done down the open gullies of the west face. However, this is probably not the first ski descent from the top because other skiers report that it was done in the early 2000s and earlier.
Dave Jordan skis from the top of the Haystack on the summit of Mount Si. Trevor Kostanich is visible to the right of Jordan. Photo by Emily Larson
The Mount Si haystack as seen from a paraglider with the skier’s approximate route shown. Photo by Aaron Hinkley.
Trevor Kostanich (left) and Dave Jordan prepare to ski from the top of Mount Si’s summit block. Photo by Peter Avolio.
A few days earlier Frank Bush also took advantage of the unusual snow conditions and reported skiing down the Black Canyon. In his words “On Christmas morning Mt Si was ripe, but couldn’t find a partner so I solo skied the deep walled canyon with a 12 foot rock step 2/3 down. Side step down steep rock slab with shrubs to grab (60′) to get into it, then several hundred feet of good pow turns before jump turns on 10″ covered rocks. Rock step near bottom is very obvious, it crosses the whole line from wall to wall.“
The Black Canyon in February, 2010. A difficult scramble route.
The Black Canyon in December, 2015. An even more difficult ski line. Photo by Frank Bush.
At about noon on July 26, 2013 a fire broke out on the lower elevations of Mount Si along 444th Ave SE. It was probably human-caused, and was named after after the road. Fire fighters had the advantage of using both the Boulder Garden loop and 444th Ave SE to get equipment in the fire area to control the blaze. The fire enveloped three prominent balds visible from the valley – Foundation Rock, BCD Vista and Moss Vista. The first two are rarely visited, but Moss Vista is the largest of the three and has a high overhanging wall with difficult rock climbing routes. The top of Moss Vista is also a popular Boulder Garden Loop side trip for picnics and views, at least for those who know it is there. It is marked on the Green Trails map but there are no signs along the maintained trails showing how to get to it. For the most part the fire burnt the understory and spared the crowns of most trees, so recovery should be relatively rapid.
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 Ruppert Jr
Mt Si search below west side cliffs – photo by SMR
Mt Si search – photo by SMR
Mt Si search, behind the haystack – photo by SMR
2013/01/04 Searchers comb Mount Si for missing skydiver