Tuesday, January 25, 2011

McDonald Mountain 3570' 2190P' (Attempt) 1.25.11

 I was hoping to do something substantial today but I was unable to hook up with any partners. With this is mind I set my sights a little lower and hoped to take advantage of others hard work by pirating their route up Quartz. I had plans Monday night that involved a private cigar bar. I knew today's plan were in trouble when the limo the group rented with a fully stocked bar. A good time was had by all but this provided me a later night than what I had hoped. My daughter also had her presentation on France due in the morning so I spent the morning prepping her for her first time standing in front of the class. When it was time for her to go I was surprised that she wasn't ready, even after repeated prompting. Once she decided she was ready she ran past the front door and try to hide behind the Washing machine. Evidently she was more than a bit nervous about her big day. After some careful coaxing she regained her normal form. This was an interesting event to watch my 5 year old go through. Since it was now nearly one I new I had to further pare down my day. I did some research and found McDonald Mt and it's nearly 2200' of prominence despite it's lowly 3500+ elevation. Since I new that I would be well into darkness on my return I felt like this would be a good one to pursue since it was all going to be on road.

   By the time I found the trailhead and parked it was 3Pm, I figured that would give me enough time to make the 6 miles to the summit before dark. I carried my normal pack with enough extra clothes to ward off any weather. It looked like it could do just about anything and I didn't want to be stranded in the dark without enough gear. I did wear trail running shoes to hopefully allow for a quicker pace. Just as I was about to leave a couple of trucks came through the gate and I verified that I indeed was on the right road. I pushed the pace on the good road. I made sure to call my wife when she picked up my daughter to find out the results of her big day. I was so proud to hear that she stood tall and was loud and proud as she hit all the points that we had worked on. Part of me felt like she wasn't really paying attention when I was working with her, I guess that all she needs. Being very relieved and quite proud of my little one it helped me up the pace. Soon I reached the borrow pit and the gate that is just past it. I continued past the gate instead of staying on the mainline. I was happy to see some footprints in the some of the remaining patchy snow. It always comforts me to find others out in this hard to explain pursuit. I passed the towers and continued on the rapidly degrading road. Soon the road ended but I found a corridor through the trees into some open timber. I then reached a clear cut that was choked with slippery fallen timber, thankfully this was short lived and I rejoined another road. Since this area provided some good views I thought I would take some pictures of the impending sunset and some of the cloudy views. I thought I would change into some drier clothes and get my headlamp out that I would soon need. Of course I had forgotten that I had taken the headlamp to work on something. Note to self: when planning a night exit you might want to make sure that you have your headlamp.

   Since I had another mile to go and would assure me of having to go through the clear cut without light I decided that I needed to head back. Once back on the road I ran much of the descent until the last of the light faded away. Without much light I throttled back the pace. I was able to well enough to avoid the few obstacles that presented themselves. It was kind of fun to bump my way along thankfully forgetting my lamp was not too much of  a blow. I think I will return when the regional snow level is low and ski to the true summit. The views are well worth the boring road walk.

Approx 10 miles 2500' of climb 3:15 car to  car

A few pictures here:


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