Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lanham Lake, Jim Hill Mt. 9.14.10

I haven't had the best of the weather lately so I did the only sensible thing one can do in this situation...... I bought new rainpants. The last few trips proved to be too much for my old ones so a replacement was in order. True to form the weather forecast was stellar for Tuesday. When I woke I was suprised it was cloudy thinking I might be in for another wet trip I pressed on. Thankfully after leaving Monroe the clouds broke and I was treated to some sunshine. I was so happy I let out a yell that scared the dogs. I knew I needed dry weather to make this trip go. The plans was to use the standard North Spur Route of Jim Hill. I parked near the Lanham Lake Trail, this was an added bonus because I had never been on this trail. I probably looked as I was staying a few nights with my bloated pack. I knew the route above Lanham was steep and I was unsure how I would handle the initial portion of the East Ridge. Since I was solo I wasn't leaving anything to chance I brought everything. The weather couldn't have been more ideal as I made my way to the lake. The trail did have some brushy areas so I was glad for the drier weather. I was able to make the lake in 45 minutes. I was surprised by the healthy surface action, the trout were all on top feeding, I was also surprised by the lakes lack of appeal. It was much smaller than I expected and not very scenic. I was also taken back by the fact that the outlet had no water flowing in it. It seemed strange since there was decent flow at the Mill Creek Road crossing. I found a nice sunny spot to have a snack, I gave some serious thoughts about just planting myself and enjoying the warm sun.

  I instead headed on the Eastern shore on a decent way trail. After a hundred yards I took a left and headed up. The brush was manageable and there were only a few small areas to circumvent as I made my way to the 5500' saddle that I was aiming for. I was able to make the saddle in about 75 minutes which I am sure would have been much faster if I wasn't carrying so much gear. Once on the saddle the views of the route opened up. The route looked pleasing with heather just starting to change color and I could also see the notch that I need to aim for high above me. I tried staying directly on the ridge but found going on the more heathery Eastern Side. This also provided shade for myself and the dogs. I plugged away until I reached a small basin where I dropped my pack. A short traverse on some loose shale put me under the notch. I was able to make the notch with no issue. I would recommend helmets for those of you with partners. I did notice the dogs must have felt uneasy because they stayed on the margins below me avoiding being right under me. I don't think I can remember either dog doing this before. Once on the East Ridge I was hoping the dogs would stay below me. The first part is slabby but there isn't much exposure and there was enough holds to make me feel pretty safe. The route improves to class 2 higher up and I easily made the summit. To be honest I was surprised on how quickly and easily I was able to cross this one off my list. I thumbed through the register which was placed in 1986 and is nearly full. Just as I was signing my name Tanner came around a rock outcropping so I added his name to the register along with my sentiments about how I was going to get him down. As it turns out I should have added Baxter as well as he was right behind Tanner. Thankfully my concern for the both my dogs and my descent was over matched by the dog's skill and myself being careful. I was relieved to exit the East Ridge with no issues. I quickly made my way back to my pack for lunch.

  I quickly made my way down to the saddle and started the dreaded descent to the lake. I was uneasy about this portion but it went quickly without any issues. Once back at the lake I took another short break soaking up as much of the waning sun as I could. I heard some voices but I never did see who they belonged to. I easily made my way back to the car for the drive home.

Somehow I managed to drop my trekking pole on the ascent without noticing. Not sure how a person wouldn't notice something like that. I did backtrack a short ways without finding it. If someone happens to find it I will be shocked.

Approx 7miles 3800' of climb 6 hours car to car

Key Notch entrance is the lower Right Corner of this picture

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