Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Little Bulger 6.29.10

As is my pattern I don't always do things the way things are normally done. Little Bulger is one of the rarer visited summits of the Home Court 100. While I don't have any concrete information to prove this but I would be willing to bet it doesn't see many summits. The standard approach is via Dingford Creek and leave from between the two Myrtle Lakes. I wasn't thrilled about doing that route and last year I set out from Dorothy Lake to Bear/Deer Lakes. I ran out of enthusiasm without mustering an attempt. Today with ONELUV1 signing on for another outing I had more hope for success. We managed good time to the Dorothy Lake Trailhead and soon we were underway under mostly cloudy skies. The trail is great shape all the way to inlet crossing. The bridge is still out so we switched to sandals to manage the crossing. The trail to Bear/Deer Lakes is in great shape and we easily made it to the saddle above the lakes. Here we left trail and traversed above the East Shore of Bear Lake. I had used this route from return from my trip late last year. We finally made it to the meadow area on the SE side of the lake. Here we had a short lunch and plotted our next move. I thought I had remembered a nice gully that would take us to the upper slopes, but this gully was mostly melted out and had quite a bit of moving water. This didn't appeal to me so I led us across a creek that had some healthy flow. Once on the West side of the creek we headed mostly due South until we reached an East/West tending ridge at 4200'. This portion was rather brushy greatly slowing our progress. Once on the ridge we turned East and the brush abated. I was able to follow something similar to a trail. I am guessing long ago there was some mining up high. After a short boulder field we were stymied by some rock outcroppings so we traversed on some sketchy snow until we were a able to take a nice ramp that led to some open snow slopes. The snow was great for kicking steps and we made good time to reach the what I thought was the summit area. I was hugely dismayed to see an impressive pinnacle that looked nearly unclimbable that was certainly higher than where we stood. Further along the ridge I saw an area that looked to be 100' higher. We had to drop some elevation to make the snow slopes that led us thankfully to the true summit. Once on the summit I was quite surprised by how steeply the ridge dropped to the potholes below us. The vantage of the pinnacle was also striking showing that the slope was actually more than 90 degrees. While the views of Big Snow and the surrounding peaks was impressive it lost some of impact due to cloud cover. We had some discussion about our return but I felt the known was better than the appealing more direct line. The descent went very quickly. I erred on the last 200' and we ended up in the next bay to the West. We decided to head along the West shore for the SHORT ways to the trail on the North side of the lake. Well the way was very brushy and thankfully we made back on trail without too much bloodletting. Once on trail we made much better time. On the descent to Dorothy the beagle fell through some rotten snow and completely disappeared only to reappear 15' further downhill from underneath the snow. He didn't seem bothered in the least and we had a good laugh over the episode. We reached the inlet and reapplied sandals which we both kept on for the rest of the way to the car. While I am not sure I would recommend this route it went and it was a very rewarding day. I was thankful for another day with great company.

Approx 14 miles 4300' of climb 9 hours car to car

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