Thursday, March 8, 2012

Haystack 2715' 3.7.12


    Bruce and I had hoped to head out on Tuesday since I had the whole day and didn't have to work. When I woke up in the morning there was snow on the ground and as I was getting ready it started dumping. I couldn't imagine trying to make my way through rush hour traffic with the added displeasure of having it snowing. Thankfully Bruce was ok with waiting a day, this provided an extra bonus of having Fletcher and Rob available as well. With the new snow I was hoping for some extra horsepower and younger legs to help with the planned summit of both Haystack and 10-4 Mountains. I couldn't make the time frame for Rob and Fletcher to coincide with mine so I only met Bruce at the Sultan Park and Ride. I had to be back early in  order to make it work on time. Thankfully there wasn't much snow to contend with as we made our way to Forest Road 62 a few miles East of Gold Bar. It was crisp but the sun was quickly warming things up. We drove about 4 miles until we reached the concrete bridge crossing Proctor Creek. Shortly thereafter there is a gated spur road where we parked as far off the road as possible.

    The sun was glorious!

   The road had been plowed so we made good time or the first 1.5 miles. At the end of the plowed line we switched to snowshoes and plodded our way to the saddle. The snow was deep and unconsolidated in the shade and heavy and wet in the sun. This made for some tiring walking. Just before the saddle we reached a slightly overgrown spur road heading North. We took this road dodging the multiple of small trees which thankfully hadn't leaved out as of yet. Finally we reached more open road which we stayed on until we reached older trees. We left the road and I immediately had a branch stab me in the cheek. I had to laugh to myself after reaching the safety of larger trees I then get a branch that attacks me.  Undaunted I led us up the mostly open slopes trying to find the path of least resistance.  The snow in the trees was much better consolidated making for easier walking. Soon we found ourselves at the open summit basking in the very warm sun.

The views were somewhat stunned but it sure was nice to enjoy an extended stay in the warm sunshine. With the snow conditions the way they were I didn't have much hope in reaching 10-4 Mountain which has 2000' of prominence making for a desirable peak to summit. I was hoping for using the NE ridge to reach the E ridge. The reports I read relayed an enjoyable snowshoe of a non technical nature. The North ridge route didn't sound fun and the Western approach won't work with low lying snow. We decided to head toward Duffy lakes since we still had some time. Once regaining the mainline road the snow seemed to double in weight and I struggled to keep the legs moving. Once we reached the brand new concrete bridge I decided that I had enough.

   I think Bosco wanted to continue!

  The way out went much quicker and we reached the car with plenty of time for me to reach work on time.

Approx 8 miles 1500' of climb

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