Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mount Margaret South Summit 11.17.09

After last week I wanted something with a shorter drive and something I hadn't already climbed. My idea was to do the South Summit of Margaret and traverse to the true North Summit. Although Margaret's Summit is high enough to be included in the Home Court 100 it lacks 60' of prominence and thus is not included. I was happy to see a trip report over the weekend giving me more hope of attaining the day's goal. Having a trench in place already would make it much easier. Having not scared away Liketothruhike last week he signed on and a co-worker Zach showed some interest as well. Having some extra horsepower would certainly be a bonus. After reading the dire forecast for 75mph ridge winds I came up with a back up plan that would be safer that thankfuly we did not need to use. After switching cars in Preston we were off. The quarters were cramped with 3 climbers, gear and two annoying dogs. Thankfully the drive was not long. The weather was wet but not windy. After exiting exit 54 we used the road that parallels I-90 and I was able to drive quite a ways before being stopped by the slippery snow. I did a 100 point turn to get turned around and parked. The mainline of the road was groomed so we just booted it until the turn off the Margaret summer trailhead were we switched to snowhoes. We were able to follow the buried trench greatly easing the work. However the going was still slow. We took turns breaking trail and I was very thankful to have partners for this one. It is doubtful I would have had any success without their great help. We were able to weave our way through some brushy areas giving us access to the upper roads. Once On the upper road I had us head West and head for the trees which I hoped would give us a nice crust making going easier. Since the trench ended we were on our own and the portion which gave us access to timber for me was the hardest of the day. Thankfully we reached the trees and true to form the crust was able to hold all our weights. We crested a small point and I thought we were on Margaret's South summit. We dropped along the ridge and stopped for a short lunch. After what seemed like a long portion of flat area we began to climb again. Once I saw a glimpse of the next highpoint on the ridge I knew we were farther South than I had hoped. Once reaching the exposed ridge both the wind and snow increased. We reached a 8 foot wall of snow that I was worried we wouldn't be able to go around or over. I dropped pack and broke out the ice axe. I was able to claw my way over the point with out too much trouble while LTTH was smart and found an easier way traversing to the West around it. Both dogs and Zach followed behind me without difficulty and followed the ridge North until we reached The South Summit highpoint. As we made our way the last few feet we were serenaded by a group of birds encouraging me to finish it off. We discussed dropping to the saddle between the South Peak and the true summit. We decided that we probably didn't have enough time or in my case legs to make it. The descent went well with the exception of a couple of entertaining falls on my part. I think we were all very happy to make it back to the car. This trip was for me harder than it should have been highlighting my lack of conditioning. Thankfully I should have more time to remedy that. It was nice to have some company for once and I hope to repeat this in the near future.

Approx 10 miles 3200' of climb 7 hours car to car

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