Saturday, August 26, 2006

Spark Plug Mt 8.26.06

I once again had a full day to devote to climbing so I chose to use a trail that I have always been quite fond of. I made my way to the end of the endless Tonga Ridge Road. I think there is at least an extra mile or two every time I use this trail. I had hoped to be at the trailhead at 9:30, but as usually the case I rolled up to trail 1059b an hour behind schedule. It was already much warmer than I was anticpating for the day. I made my way slowly down the 600ft of elevation to connect with the Deception Creek Trail. I always enjoy this trail as it slowly climbs elevation passing some wonderful old growth trees. Just after passing the Deception Lakes outflow there is a nice campsite which was occupied by a youth work crew. I turned my attention to connecting with the PCT 900ft above me. Enroute I passed the work crews making improvements to the trail( thanks for the hard work ). After connecting with the PCT I turned North and made my way to Deception Lakes. I intended on having a little lunch but the hordes of small mosquitoes changed my plans. I ran away from the lakes while eating my lunch along the way. Once away from the lake I throttled back my pace a little. The climb to Pieper Pass is much like most of the PCT, well graded. After reaching the pass I took the well defined climber's trail heading my way. The trail stays mostly on the west side of the ridge. I would recommend not to try and stay directly on the ridge, I wasted quite some time downclimbing when blocked by drop offs. I dropped pack at 5900ft and gave some thought to turning back. Because my stay at Deception Lakes was cut short I was woefully short on water and coupled with the dogs overheating I thought it might be prudent. After some debate I pressed on. After what seemed an eternity my summit came into view. The final push to the summit was the easiest of the whole ridge traverse. Spark Plug commands some wonderful views of the surrounding area. I had planned on making the easy descent to Spark Plug Lake to do some fishing. I really didn't have the desire or the time to make that happen. I was suprised that it had taken me nearly 4 hours to make this summit. I was anticpating a little over three. I picked my way back to my pack and hurried back to Deception Lakes so the dogs could get some liquid. I ran through the Lake basin because the mosquitoes hadnt't abated in the least. The balance of the trip went much slower than I hoped. I finally made it up the last climb and thankfully was at the truck.

13+ miles approx 3800ft of climb 7:20 car to car

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