Distance: 4.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 2950 ft.
We reached the “trailhead” at 10 AM. I don’t know if you can call it a trailhead when there is no trail, but we did park on the road vaguely below our desired ascent route. Then… we just went up. It’s a freeing sensation to move through the woods on your own unique path. We did find a few game trails to follow from time to time, but mostly just tried our best not to trample the dense brush. Our pants were soaked from the dewey bushes and we were moving through a low fog.
After a very steep ascent to the ridge, the forest became more open and our climb was more gradual. There were a few patches of snow here and there but easily avoided. Farther up the ridge there several downed trees that we needed to navigate. We wrestled some bushes to reach a clearing at about 4400 ft, where we saw a giant albino rabbit! 🐇
Craig took a look at his GPS and saw that the ridge had a hefty drop ahead, so we decided to descend and traverse a bit rather than try to climb directly over the ridge. This required some very challenging steep sidehilling on loose duff and thin snow. But when we finished our traverse we looked back and saw that the ridge had a steep drop-off indeed, but it might go as a scramble?
We climbed a bit of snow again to reach the summit. Kaeli and Vanessa had their ice axes out but Craig and Rachael used poles only. The fog hadn’t cleared so we had zero view for all our effort! But we had a great, relaxed little picnic on top.
The snow softened a bit while we were up there so we were able to plunge step pretty nicely back down the slope. We traversed a bit lower to avoid the tenuous sidehilling. We did still have to climb a little to reach the ridge again, but not too bad. From there we pretty much just retraced our steps through the bushes. By the end of this hike, I could swear I was metamorphosing into a plant because every time I looked down I had leaves for legs. It was a tedious descent. I’m going to go ahead and admit that I’ll probably never do this hike again. But the company made it into a wonderful adventure.
(Download the free Gaia GPS app on your phone to view tracks and then get a Gaia GPS membership if you want offline access. Discount below!)
Recommended brew: Stillwater Artisanal Critical Thinking Imperial Stout
- Aluminum ice axe (Vanessa and Kaeli)
- Hiking boots
- Trekking poles