Monday, April 1, 2013

Mount Gardner Via Hansen Creek 4.1. 13

With the weather holding out and being pleasant I thought it best to get out again. I had most of the day so I felt like something with some miles would be best for this day. I decided to use my route from last week's summit of Little Saint Helens to access Mount Gardner 2 miles further West. Last week I wasn't able to drive to the Hansen Creek Road before being blocked by rutted snow. I thought I would be able to get at least to Hansen Creek Road this week with the recent warmer weather. I was overjoyed when I was not only able to reach Hansen Creek but drive an addition mile or so. I was blocked by snow just uderneath the tressel high above the road. I turned around and parked trying to keep myself off the road as much as possible. It was quite warm so I only wore a tee shirt and shorts. I chose my lighter summer boots with the hope that it would make it easier to keep a faster pace than last week.

The road was rutted to around 3000' ft where the last truck had turned around. I switched to snowshoes in the soft snow. I found that my summer boots are not the best choice with my snowshoes and I spent some time trying to get my snowshoes affixed without causing some discomfort with the lighter boots. Finally I found the right set up and I made much faster time than last week. Once reaching the point where I had left the road to summit LSH I instead continued along the road loosing some elevation along the way. Once I rounded the corner I was able to see Mount Gardner and was able to spy a few different routes. I chose to stay on the road until I was able to reach the long angled SE ridge. After a short area off closely spaced trees I was able to find a nice open line crossing logging roads every so often. It did get a little steeper close to the summit but that still was quite pleasant.


The summit did provide some nice views and I quickly snapped some pictures and then retreated to lower slopes where there was much less wind. The decent was quite fun as I was able to do a controlled slide with each step making me feel like I was skating down the hill. In short order I was able to regain the road for the long grind back to the car. While this route certainly isn't the shortest it isn't nearly as involved as some of the reports I have read or using the Northern route. On the way down the clouds rolled in making a bit nippy . I added my coat to ward off the chill.

Approx 11 miles 3100 ft of climb 5:15 car to car

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