Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dandy Mountain (Stampede Pass) 11.19.13

Dandy is the unnamed high point just to the SW of Stampede Pass. I had tried a couple times previous via Crystal Springs and was thwarted by poor conditions. I have been out of the loop for some time in regards to snow conditions so I surmised it best to pick a nice safe easy trip to assess the condiitons first hand. I recently bought a new car for my escapades in the mountains so I was eager to see how it would do. I was happy to find the road to Stampede Pass plowed with only minimal snow coverage. I drove until I was about `1.25 miles from the pass and parked. I decided that my legs needed more exercise than my anxiety about getting stuck further up the road.

I found a nice wide spot to park and suited up. I had bought some new boots that I hadn't tested in the snow so I was also curious how they would perform. In the end my feet stayed warm and dry so I was pleased. I headed up the road the short ways to the pass. I continued on the main line for about a half mile after the pass before deciding to head more direclty to the summit. The crux of this trip was the first 75' of climb which was steeper but there was enough snow and soft ground underneath to provide stable footing. Soon the grade eased off and I thought I could see a trail underneath the snow. I was not interested in continuing on the trail so I made my way to a logged area that provided a nice unbroken line heading up. The snow in the open area was much deeper so I switched to snowshoes. I plodded up the slope forgetting how much harder it is to go up hill in the Winter. I parralled a small creek hoping that once higher up I would not have to cross the ravine to continue on. Thankfully I was able to find easier ground higher up. I reached a small flat area before the last push up the rather steep slopes to the summit. Once in the trees again the snow became much more agreeable and soon I found myself on the summit with a distinct lack of views.

I didn't linger long as I retraced my steps back towards the car. Once reaching the area where I thought I had spied a trail I continued on the trail finding a much easier way of connecting to the road. I had a pleasant walk back to the car playing hopscotch with the snowplows. It was nice to finally get out and do something more interesting.

Approx 6 miles 3 hours 1900' of climb

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