Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thompson point 5.26.09

Earlier in the week the weather looked stellar for the whole extended outlook. I decided with some nice weather it was prime time for a long day. As the week wore on I realized that my Tuesday was again going to be less than perfect weather wise. Stubborn as I am I decided to try to make it work anyway. I was hoping for a combo of Revolution Peak and the long ridge traverse to Russian Butte. I was able to get myself out of bed at 4:15 after getting very little sleep. I was surprised that it was already light enough to see and the weather was very warm and more importantly dry. Feeling like things might still work out I made my way to the Granite Creek Road. I had thrown out some emails about the rumored shortcut that connects the road from further up the MFR. I also considered taking the mountain bike but in the end I was content to just walk. I started off with great legs and made the bridge of Granite Creek in under an hour. The pitch increases after the bridge as did the cloud cover and precipitation. I added another couple layers to ward off the cold and wet. I hit snow just before the signed junction for Granite lakes. I was able to follow a previous track which the bonus of having the same stride length as myself. The snow was somewhat sloppy but not enough to make snowshoes mandatory. I kept pushing up the road until I was able to take the branch that heads more Easterly away from Point 5124. I had done this on a previous trip and resisted heading straight for the ridge. I remember a sticky point along the ridge that I wanted to avoid. The weather now had degraded further to a point that the only a view I had was the inside of the cloud. I started a long descending traverse to try to reach the end of the clearcut and enter the woods in an area with a reasonable pitch. The going was tedious but the snow held my steps which comforted me because of the rather steep slope. I was able to reach the forest and found a nice gulley to reach the ridgeline high above me. The snow in the forest was much firmer and since I had left my crampons in the car I was leery to ascend. I felt like that I wouldn't have too much trouble reaching the more benign slopes above. My concern was for the descent. It was apparent that there was no way I would make Russian Butte so a return visit would be in order. Instead of pushing the issue after some debate I decided a lower traverse to avoid the steeper portions. After nearing the road I decided that I would make my way up to the ridge to see if that might go for me. I crested to Point 5124 and had lunch. The weather became even worse and since I was wearing everything that I had brought and still was cold I decided to bag any further climbing. I descended to the cabin and then just free wheeled the descent to cut some distance. I was able to shave some distance and thankfully some time. I was happy to reach the snowless road below and made quick work of the long descent.

Approx 16 miles 4700' of climb 8:45 car to car

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