Monday, April 7, 2008

Gale Creek 4.7.08

had hoped for some better conditions today but Winter is still holding on. I left the house at 0600 with a cold steady rain falling. At least I knew I would be above the snow line so getting wet really wasn't an issue. I was hoping to be able to drive the Lake Kachess Road all the way to the campground. I had sent out some PMs trying to find out for sure but I couldn't get a definitive answer. I thought the best way was to find out for myself. I had hoped to walk the Gale Creek Road until I was under Pt. 5140 which is Ugly Duckling and ranks #89 on the HC/100. One can drive nearly to the summit in summer time but that would be too easy. I have read reports about the last 350' after leaving the road more difficult than a map would indicate. I wanted to avoid this by climbing due North until I intersected with the NE ridge. I hoped this would be the easiest and much shorter approach. I knew I was in trouble when I was forced to park 2 miles from the campground adding an additional 4 miles to an already long mileage day. I trudged up the road amidst heavy snow showers and continued on the Gale Creek Road until I reached the point where I had hoped to leave the road. The heavy snow turned more to a cold rain and having already done 6 miles I wasn't enthused with the 1200' off trail climb to reach the summit. I toyed with the idea of staying on the road for the additional 3+miles to the summit. The idea of a hot cup of coffee and spending some extra time with the family won out and I turned back. The snow conditons turned quite sloppy for the descent making for some tiring walking. I was glad to finally reach the car to dry out.

Approx 12 miles 1300' of climb 4:45 car to car

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