Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mt Sawyer 5501' 8.9.11

This has been a sporadic season for climbing for me and that's probably generous. Finally life has settled back into normal routines and I had time to get out. I wanted a moderate day so not to overtax the new pup. He seems to be growing stronger every day and seems to be limping much less frequently. I felt that a summit of Mac Peak via the end of the Tonga Ridge Road would be just the right fit for this day. I had been nearly to the SW ridge by this route before so I knew the route and with a full day I expected some success. I was able to get an early start and finally reached the endless Tonga Ridge Road to find that I had a very flat tire. After changing the tire a change in plans was also in order. I don't have a full sized spare so driving the lengthy logging road back to Hy 2 and then the 20+ miles to Monroe to be fixed would take some extra time. I wanted to make sure that I was able to make it back into Monroe at a reasonable hour so that I could get the tire fixed and avoid having to drive all the way home on a gimpy tire.

    I decided to head up trail instead of dropping to the creek. I had been up this trail once before so I thought I would make my way to the climbing trail that summits Mt. Sawyer. The trail is in good shape with only a few blowdown from some decent sized avalanches. Once the grade backs off I was surprised with how much snow that was still in the trees. There were long portions of deep ,consistent,  and continuous snow. While traffic on the trail coming from this direction is light I was able to follow the trail easily and soon started the long traverse to my intended target. I almost thought I had past it when I heard voices above me. A short ways further I found the junction that is very distinct and would be hard to miss. I quickly caught up to the voices who belonged to a party of 3 with 2 dogs. They graciously let me pass. The trail is snow free until it wraps to the North side where there is quite a bit of lingering snow. The summit was just a short ways off and I was dismayed that the heavy cloud cover hadn't lifted. It is hard to believe that it is Summer with the cool cloudy weather of late. Looking at what I could see it seemed more like late May.

    I relaxed a bit on the summit checking to make sure that my retirement plan hadn't dissipated since I had left home. I was very pleased with the Bosco who is a pleasure to travel with. He doesn't whine in the car and isn't a bother to people or dogs on the trail. He seems to be a natural on the trail and I was happy to have him knock off his first Home Court 100 Peak. I had hoped that the clouds would lift on the way out but that wasn't the case. I did get a good view of Mac Peak on the way out, except for the top 500' anyway. I was able to limp into Monroe without issue. I was surprised that the tire didn't actually have a leak???? I am guessing when I checked the pressure before leaving I must have pinched open the valve stem somehow.

Appox 8 miles 2100' of climb 4 hours car to car

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