Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bootalicious Peak 2.2.10

While the name is tongue in cheek I think it will work. I picked up Bruce at the Preston P&R and then Brian in North Bend and we made the short ways to the spur gate leading to the CCC road off the Middle Fork Road. I had used this approach for a casual hike last week and stumbled on a well worn trail where I hadn't seen one before. While the goal wasn't to use this trail I thought since the road had been brushed to point where the trail leaves the logging road that that might continue further. I was hoping that would allow a route to Green Mt. I wanted to try another route than the standard East Route. I couldn't' believe our good fortune weather wise it was absolutely stunning, sunny and warm..... what month is it? We made great time to where the trail leaves the road and was dismayed that the road degrades to a very unpleasant walk. I decided to bag this route and we left the road and started up the open forest. After a few hundred of climb we joined the new trail. We followed this easy to follow trail until we reached a snow filled landing. I had been on this road many years ago and we followed it until it reaches a gully with running water and less than desirable snow coverage. I crossed the creek and tried to stay on the margin of the trees where the snow was better for climbing. The going was strenuous and it took much vigilance to avoid the many voids in the snow. After 300' of climb I was able to find more stable snow and the pace increased greatly. Soon a point came into view with open slopes above. Since there was no way to make it across to Green Mt. this would have to do. After exiting the trees there was a nice stretch of 400' of great kick stepping snow. While I didn't set any speed times I was able to keep a mostly steady pace and I finally topped out. I dropped pack and waited for a short time for the remainder of the group. I walked the ridge for a short ways until I was certain I was at the highest point. We ate a hasty lunch because the wind came up and we were in the shade so it was uncomfortable. I was very concerned with the descent because of the poor conditions on the lower slopes so we all careful on the descent. On the way down I was thinking to myself I thought well this was much better than what I expected but resisted saying anything. Just as I took my last step before rejoining the road I blurted out "well that was easier than expected" and promptly wedged that step between two rocks. I guess by now I should know better. Soon after rejoining the trail we noticed a sign nailed to a tree with a scantily clad woman with the word Buttalicious on it. I took that for a sign because I was thinking at the time what to name the peak we just had climbed. I enjoyed the descent, since for once I had someone to converse with.

Approx 10 miles 3800' of climb 7 hours car to car

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