Monday, September 25, 2006

Red Mt. Cle Elum 9.25.06

I have been feeling like I have been missing out due to other commitments. I am usually off on Mondays but with work being shorthanded I was scheduled. With perfect weather I wasn't going to miss an opportunity to bag another peak. I again was forced to drive my car so I needed a paved approach. The goal for the day was a summit of Red Mt. There is a trail that leaves the Cooper Lake Road almost two miles past the the junction with Salmon La Sac Road. The trail is a little hard to spot , I passed it on my first attempt. I turned around and found a small turnout area to park. The trail doesn't appear to get much use but it is easy to follow and the grade is mostly pleasing. Since I was on such a time schedule I had to get up 6 am , I am not a morning person. I realized that I had forgotten my wristwatch-altimeter soon after leaving the house. Since I had planned on being on trail the whole day I thought I would be fine. As it turns out the 5 minutes it would have taken me to retrieve my watch would have saved well over an hour. The trail becomes a little muddled at around 4800ft, I found a good trail that traverses North. I had a feeling it wasn't the main trail but it intrigued me so I followed it. The trail spits you out at the end of one of the many logging roads that adorn this drainage.I left the logging road and continued on off trail. The grade is moderate and it goes fairly easily. I continued on until I reached the ridgeline and then easily followed it to Red Mt's summtit. I poked around for a while looking for a summit regsiter, but none was found. Red Mt is well positioned for views of the Lemah-Chimney Rock group. I also was impressed with the views of The Stuart Range. Since time was of the essence, I didn't stay long. I turned my attention to refinding my pack that I had stashed 600ft below me. I had a much harder time with the descent. I took my time and soon I was on easier ground. Since I didn't have my altimeter I was concerned about finding my way back to my pack. I erred on my line and ended up much farther North. I figured I was already below the elevation of my pack and I wasn't thrilled about a long traverse to where I thought my pack might be. I decided to continue with the descent until I reached the logging road below me. I then reclimbed this road until I reached the point where I had left it earlier. I then reclimbed the 500ft of elevation to return to my pack. The rest of the descent went fast and I made it home with enough time to cook myself a big dinner and make it to work on time. I am very glad that I chose to take advantage of such a beautiful day.

Approx 9 miles 4200ft of climb 5 hours car to car

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