Made a 2nd attempt up Dog Mountain this year, this time in winter conditions. Although we departed Seattle by 6:30, we did not hit the trail until 9AM. I would suggest starting no later than 7AM at the TH in these short winter days. The trail got challenging in the switchbacks – lots of snowmelt, muddy and slick, then snow around 3200 feet – slippery stuff, and persistent above 3500 feet. I did not use any traction until about 3600-3800 feet when I finally put on snowshoes after several hundred feet of slipping, post-holing, and falling. I suggest some aggressive spikes, even crampons at 3500 feet. Snowshoes worked the best above this altitude, as the snow was deep.
We snowshoed our way to the Anderson Pass trail (trail after the switchbacks at 4200 feet) – , and went too far (large open basin area) before realizing we should have just headed up sooner and made some tracks straight up the hill. We did have good tracks to follow until 4200 feet. The trail was well marked with red and white cloth ribbon – candy cane-like – fitting for the season. I think it a choose your own adventure up. I have reviewed a few GPX tracks. and think once you hit 4200 feet and the trail to Anderson Pass, it’s best to head up and navigate any unpassable rock formations. You will definitely want spikes – micro or crampons, and snowshoes. Going up was so slow due to the trail and delay in putting on traction, we were too tired for the final summit push and daylight was waning. We crossed the last bridge out in the dark, heard a loud explosion which we thought was rockfall, only to find several local redneck parties by the rock wall and impromptu shooting range by Big Kid, who were shooting propane tanks.