Tuesday, June 21, 2011

North Fork Fortune Creek 6.21.11

I had an appointment in Suncadia that I couldn't make as early as I would have liked and the meeting took twice as long as I had hoped so I was pressed for time. I wanted to do something on the shorter side anyway so I thought heading up the Fortune Creek Jeep Road as far as I could drive and then making my way to Van Epps Pass would be an interesting trip. I had hoped to summit 7039' which is an unamed highpoint of the connecting ridge with the Ingall's complex. Recent trip reports of nearby peaks yielded some pictures of the route and snow conditions so I felt like even with no beta I would have little issue. Digging around last night I was able to find one report and it made me feel like this was the time of year to attempt the peak with  snow now covering the scree. I was able to drive to about a 1.5 short of the North Fortune Creek Trail where I was stopped by an avalanche that has crossed the road but hasn't melted as of yet. The road is best suited for a high clearance vehicle and I probably wouldn't have tried to continue anyway.

 I changed out of my suit, which was a first for me, into my gear and started huffing up the road. The road is in much better shape past the short snowy stretch and soon I found myself at the trailhead. Instead of following the trail I decided that I wanted a more direct line to my goal and left the road to go cross country. I rejoined the road just before it crosses North Fortune Creek. I was dismayed by the high water and wasn't sure if crossing was a good idea. I had a chuckle to myself thinking back to my meeting when I had commmented on the high water in the lakes as I made my way over the pass. I remember saying " at least I won't have to cross any significant water". I had this feeling , as I sometimes do, that I shouldn't have said that. I had been on the trai above me once before on my climb of Scatter Peak. I couldn't remember the crossing but I figured it would be easier than my current position. I again started off cross country up the steepish grade. I was instantly reminded of my recent inactivity and lack of fitness as I struggled up the grade. I tried to stay in the shade because while it wasn't hot it was much warmer than at any time so far this year. I usually have issues on the first warm day and this was no exception. I joined the trail about 500' of climb. I followed it a short ways untl reaching the creek. The water had washed away most of the tread and the creek bed was a jumbled torrent with very poor runout. I decided to have my lunch in view of the Ingall's complex and be contented with just getting out. I ambled back to the car for the long drive home.

Approx 5 miles 1000' of climb

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