Wednesday, May 1, 2013

4235' 615' Via Tucker Creek (Easton)

With my last day of my mini vacation upon me I wanted to get out. The weather had been unsettled of late and judging by the fresh snow visible on Tiger Mt. from my house I decided again to keep my outing low key. I needed to find something with lower elevation and with plenty of trees. I had some concern for both the weather and for a heightened avalanche threat. I have made some recent attempts of Goat Mt. Near Easton and I was hoping for the right conditons for an attempt.

I had my annual fishing derby this weekend in preparation for the party I had a full week of yard maintennce. For fun I wore my GPS watch for the three day fun fest of spreading bark. I logged 15 miles and 7000' of climb in those 3 days without leaving the yard. This effort combined with the actual party and the rest of my hectic life I was pooped when I reached Tucker Creek. I parked and promptly fell asleep for an hour. Feeling much better when I awoke I suited up. I had some debate about what to wear. It did seem rather late in the year to wear snow pants and my shell but it was rather cool and judging by the clouds and weather racing by the summit of Goat Peak I thought it was a wise choice. Once reaching the shelter of the Tucker Creek valley there was fresh snow on the ground. The first creek crossing I chose to cross on the bridge which was partially covered in very slippery snow. There are many of the cross members missing which made for a very unnerving crossing. Thankfully I made it to the other side without dropping the 10 feet into the creek. The next 2 crossings where just a jump and one foot in and on to the other side.

Once crossing the third creek the pitch increases along with the depth of the snow. In short order I reached the junction on the mainline road coming from the West. The snow was much more consistent on this road and I forgo snowshoes. Soon the heavy wet snow became a burden to make my way through via boot only. I relented and put the snowshoes on. I followed the road until the road splits instead of heading South to access Goat Mt. I instead headed West for a short ways until I was below 4235' which I hadn't climbed. I left the road for a pleasant low angle jaunt through the well spaced trees. Soon I reached the West Ridge and was able to have some views of Easton below me. I followed the ridge finding denser trees along with sparser snow coverage. I debated on taking the snowhoes off but decided to keep them on. Soon I was the Western high point. It looked like there was a higher Eastern Point so I descended a short ways and climbed to the point which was indeed higher. Once reaching the summit I could see a massive squall heading my way so I decided to descend quickly. Thankfully I was only on the edge of the squall so I missed most of what I would guess was some intense weather.

The descent went quickly and I was surprised on how much snow had melted out in the short time since I had passed. Not paying close enough attention I passed my Tucker Creek turn off which added and additional mile of walking to back track. Not wanting to tempt fate and since my boots were quite wet I walked accross each of the creek crossings. It was nice to get out and stretch the legs a bit albeit a quite lowly objective.

Approx 9 miles 2500' of climb 4:15 car to car


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