Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mount Finn 5280' 10.26.10


With the heavy snows in the mountains I was eager to get out and see it for myself.  Since I knew the weather would more than likely be rainy I wanted to avoid hitting the worst of it by driving through it. The Tonga Ridge Road is a good way to get up high without getting out of the car. The goal was Mount Finn which is a play on it's taller neighbor Mount Sawyer. Although Finn would be tall enough to be included in the Home Court 100 it lacks 100' of prominence to be included. I thought I might be able to drive all the way to the Tonga Ridge Trailhead but I was only able to make the spur to the trailhead before snow became deeper than I felt like the Subaru could handle. There were some tracks of some bigger rigs but the center portion of the road was too deep. I slowly backed down to the intersection but began sliding and couldn't stop until I had firmly planted my passenger side wheels securely in the ditch. For those of you that follow my escapade this sounds eerily similar to two weeks ago when I did something just as disconcerting. I quickly got out to survey the situation and again only gave myself a 10 percent of actually making it out under my own power. With my trusty snow shovel in hand I dug a quick bare spot under the two wheels still on the road. I got it and tried moving forward with no luck. I rocked the car back and than forward with the pedal to the metal and was able to regain the road. I again backed down the road turned and thankfully parked.

   Feeling much better about things I suited up and was off. The mile or so to the trailhead was a pain because the footing was rather slippery and it was hard to get a decent push off. I saw a couple of places where people had slid off the road making me feel a little less of an idiot. I reached the untracked trail that was buried under deep snow. I wished I had brought snowshoes since the snow was well over 2' deep. I had only expected slightly more than a foot. I stayed on the trail until I reached a small saddle where I left trail to push through the very deep snow the last 700' of climb to the summit. The going was very slow and thankfully the pitch was not steep. I actually aimed for the brushier areas since there was much less snow in and amongst the trees. I felt bad for Tanner who was forced to bunny hop from one of my steps to the next. I plugged away until I reached a high point but I thought the true summit was still further along so I pushed on finding a spot a few feet higher. Since the views were not good I walked even further along the ridge line just to make sure. Thankfully I had reached the highest point and turned back and had a quick break. The descent went much quicker since the trail was already broken and I had a nice stroll back to the car. Another memorable day in the hills and thankfully I was able to tempt fate one more time and remain unscathed. The drive home was a drag since the traffic was terrible

Approx 5 miles 1800' of climb 3:45 Car to Car

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