Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Coney Creek 7.1.08

With another sunny and warm day ontap I was excited to have a full day to work with. I was on the road by 0530 and made good time to the West Fork Miller River Road. I should say the former WMRR. The road which was never really very good to begin with has sustained recent substantial damage. I was hoping to make the turn off for the Coney Creek Miners trail in an hour, that didn't happen. I took an extra half an hour to negotiate the landslides and downed trees covering the road. I was able to find the miner's trail without any issues. It was much harder to follow than the last time I was there 10 years ago. With so much water flowing everywhere I had routefinding issues. I couldn't be sure which of the many creek branches was my intended route. I wasn't able to find an easy route and I couldn't cross the main channel because of the heavy water flow. I angled to the East and found some mostly open slopes that were much steeper than I remembered from my previous trips. I really struggled with motivation and really had to dig deep to keep moving. I reached solid snow at 4300' which buoyed my enthusiasm and made for much quicker climbing. I topped out on the ridge at 5000' much further East than I had hoped. I followed the ridge West and climbed to 5275' which provided a nice seat for some great views. I could see Lennox Mt which was the goal for the day looking really far off. I downclimbed enough to realize that making the ridge below was feasible but I didn't have the energy. I could see making to Lennox would be a fun ridge run to Coney Lake and then a 800' climb to the summit. I knew if I continued on I would descend a different way than my upclimb. I was worried about the descent because I remembered some nasty cliff bands that I would have to blindly negotiate and then hope I could cross the creek. I toyed with the idea of heading East instead. I could have easily climbed

Easter Peak 5326'. I know that there is an straightforward direct decent from there to my parked car. I hadn't left instructions for that route so I was hesitant to go off my intended route by so much. The descent was off my map so I would have to descend without a map. The decision to descend via my up route was easy to make. The snow was still very hard so I descended with great care. I didn't have any issues with the downclimb and was very happy to return to the road to have a lunch break. I don't recommend this route, while at one time it would have been a fun climb, it has degraded into an unpleasant route.

Approx 10 miles 4100' of climb 10 hours car to car.

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