Monday, February 8, 2010

Humpback Mountain 2.8.10

As of late I haven't been feeling very well and this has now extended to my family. This has made getting any sleep nearly impossible. I only had a small window for the day so I needed something on the shorter side. When Bruce suggested Humpback I liked the idea since it is so close. After doing some research I realized that the length would fit my time frame as well. I read every Winter post I could find and decided that the NW ridge would be the way. I figured we might be able to drive far enough up Hansen Creek to bypass the ugly early part of the climb. When I awoke I felt horrible and I sat for 5 minutes debating on calling Bruce to bag the day. I instead decided that I didn't want to disrupt my current momentum and surely didn't want to miss out on a day that would be dry. I met Bruce in Preston and in short order we were making it up Hansen Creek. As I guessed there was very little snow and I was able to drive well past the crossing of Hansen Creek where I decided we had done enough site seeing. In retrospect I wish I hadn't continued because upon parking I noticed that I had a rock impedded deep into my tire and it was nearly flat. We preformed the fastest tire change short of a NASCAR race and shortly therafter we were off. I was very happy to be jumping off at the highest of the roads that intersect the NW ridge. Starting at 2800' I almost felt like we were cheating. The road was packed for some ways after the open mangled gate. The air temperature was above freezing but hadn't enough time to thaw, making for some slick walking. In short order we found the ridge trail and we started our way up. The lower portions were patchy ice and snow but very passable with no extra traction. Once we reached the more open forest the snow increased as well as the pace. I was thankful Bruce has done a ton of elevation this week keeping his pace down enough for me to keep up. I was really struggling with lack of sleep and being generally run down from being sick. We managed to keep plodding along and soon we were at the last steep portion before the summit. I had expected much more but since the way was pounded out it didn't seem very imposing. Once on the summit ridge we made our way to the true summit and snapped a few quick pictures. The sun was struggling to get out but had yet to win the battle so our views were mostly local. Since the wind had come up we didn't dwadle. I had some concern for the descent but my walking on the margin of the trail on the lower portions of the trail I was able to remain upright. Once we rejoined the road the sun finally won out and we had some bright sunshine for the remainder of the journey. Now all was left was to negotiate the ride home with the donut spare.

Approx 4miles 2400' of climb 3 hours car to car.

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