Monday, February 23, 2009

Hancock's Comb 2.23.09

have made some half hearted attempts at his peak and the past. I just couldn't stand to look at this blob from work any longer. I wasn't too enthused with the weather forecast so a long road walk seemed like a sensible choice. I was hoping to leave much earlier but so goes being a Father/Husband! I still had most of the day and with the road walk I knew I could be able to make it via headlamp. I decided to ride a mountain bike to try to save some time. I wasn't too crazy about doing much climbing on the bike so I dumped it just after crossing the North Fork Bridge. I tried to cut some distance by cutting through the clearcuts which did save time. Too bad for me I slipped on a log and was held upright by brambles that had shackled my leg. Since the weather was so warm I was wearing shorts which I was excited about. My leg was a bloody mess but no serious damage was done. I felt pretty well so I made good time to just passed the 4 mile mark where I left the Hancock Lake Road and began climbing in earnest. I put snowshoes on at the 6 mile mark. I was quite surprised to see a party of three had been this way in the recent past. To be honest I would bet a large sum of money against anyone climbing this peak in winter. Since the way was obvious I just had to follow the footprints I had quite some time to ponder the wonders of life. Finally by objective came into view still looking very far off. Just past the Nine mile mark the prints split with one set climbing and the second set descending. I gave some thought to following the the descent tracks but decided to stick to my approach plans and followed the group's uptrack. Views opened up with Bessemer Mt stealing the show. I had thought the high point was closer to South Bessemer. From this vantage it was clearly the most Northern Spire that is the highest. I dumped pack and snowhoes and broke out the ice axe for extra insurance. The snow was very variable but for the most part held my steps. I merely followed the snowshoe tracks up and then East to reach the East ridge which I followed and finished the summit off from the North. With the extensive tree cover I wasn't able to see much of anything. I didn't stay long because I still had a VERY long way to go. The descent back to my stowed belongings was much easier than expected. I had a quick bite and then restrapped the snowshoes and made my way back. I was very pleased with my pace and made it back to car well before dark.

Approx 20miles Approx 4000' of climb 7:45 car to car

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