Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Not So Sasse Peak 1.19.10

I won't take credit for the name of this peak but I ran across a reference to this name so I will go with it. I had expected a rainy and windy morning but when I awoke I saw plenty of blue sky. Not trusting my good fortune I decided to head East just to be safe. Last week I had used the Howson Creek trail for a short ways and was quite surprised to find it well broken. I decided that today would be a good day to see how far this continued. I managed an earlier than expected start and the drive over was bare and wet making for good time. As I pulled near the parking area I was shocked to see someone just starting out. I had forgotten it was a holiday for most. I geared up and was off. I chose to stay in boots since the going was pretty packed. I passed my turnoff from my last week's trip and crossed the creek. I was now on ground that I had never been on. I don't often get to spend time on a trail that I haven't been on in the ALWA especially one that has drive up access. The going was straight forward and the trail remained packed as I switchbacked up the steepish slope. Once I transitioned from the West facing slope of the ascent to the South side the wind had scoured most of the trail for a short ways so I switched to snowshoes. Here the trail looked only to be broken by the person I had seen at the trailhead. I continued following in his footprints making a rising traverse towards the saddle between Sasse Mt and the point I wanted to the West. I had already climbed Sasse many years ago and remembered that the views were mostly non existent. I surmised the point to the West while lower would provide a nice seat to see the area peaks mantled with fresh snow. The track continued towards the saddle but I grew weary of the traverse so I instead headed straight up to the ridgeline above me. I was able to kick good stable steps and soon I was on the ridge. There was a sinlge track descending from the point I intended to climb so that helped speed things considerably. In short order I was on top to soak up the sun and views. The wind was a bit brisk so I didn't linger. For the descent I toyed with the idea of heading north and dropping to the logging roads below. If it wasn't for the fact that the road was untracked I surely would have. I followed the ridge past my uptrack and followed the single track. I decided to descend earlier than the track and soon I was back to my own footprints. Once I was out of the wind I couldn't believe how warm it was. It surely felt like Spring, I even heard some birds chirping as I snaked my way back to the car. As I rounded back to the West I saw where the climber ahead of me had rejoined the trail. I was quite impressed with his pace. I could tell by his stride length that he must be considerably more fit than myself. I felt like I had made good time making the trip in less than 5:30 and I didn't see him again. Another great day to be out.

Approx 8 miles 3400' of climb 5:30 car to car

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