Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bing Peak 4.15.10

With all the unconsolidated snow in the hills I wasn't looking to climb anything this week. I did hold out hope that someone would summit something this weekend giving some broken trail to follow. When I saw Martin S. trip report for Bing Peak I knew that was the ticket. Using Martin's great directions I easily found my logging spur on the Money Creek Road and parked. The road was overgrown but passable. When Martin was there was snow from the onset and I hoped that that wouldn't have changed making route finding a breeze. But there was very little snow from the onset so when I reached a road junction I headed right instead of left that I should have gone. After leaving the road and pushing through some wet brush for a short ways I started to feel like this wasn't the right way. I retraced my steps and took the proper branch. I was able to see some signs of recent passage so I felt like I was on route. The going weaves through some wonderful old growth and the brush is manageable. I saw some flagging bolstering my confidence that I was still on route. Finally the snow appeared and was deep enough that I could find the previous parties trench. Initially the trench was obscure enough that I made the dogs walk behind me so that it would be easier to see. As I climbed the way became obvious and I just put my head down and plugged away. Around 3700' the route starts a flat traverse to some open slopes and I switced to snowshoes. These open slopes had a foot of new snow covering the trench slowing me some. I was very thankful that someone had punched in the route because there is no way I could have made it solo otherwise. Soon I reentered the trees and the trench was scoured undoubtedly by the previous groups glissade. I dropped pack and took off the snowshoes that I only had on for around 400' of climb. Since the route now was steep and the snow firm I broke out the ice axe. I finally broke out on the ridge and the going slowed to a crawl. Even with the previous track I had a couple portions where I had to scrape the top layer of snow and pack it into a step so I could continue. One particulally bad portion was too much for the Beagle and he remained behind. After going over a few bumps I finally topped out. Even though I had an easy route finding day and the peak is not well known it provided a very good challenge and some sweet satisfaction. Thanks Martin for doing the grunt work allowing my success

Approx 4 miles 3100' of climb 5:45 car to car

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