Monday, April 21, 2014

Hex Mt. Loop Foil, and 1300' Reclimb

I had hoped to do something off the Salmon La Sac Road but I was only able to drive a mile in before the snow became more than I was willing to tackle. I think seeing the cross alongside the road gave me all the reason to turn around I needed. Some years ago a car slid off the road falling steeply towards the creek. I wanted to avoid a repeat of that event so I backed up until I could find a suitable place to turn around. I had suspected that I wouldn't be able to drive to my initial target so I had a back up plan. Even though I had done Hex some years ago I thought it would be a low key objective for the day. I found a great place to park and was happy to see the rain I expected was not there, in fact it was downright pleasant. There was only patchy snow as I made my way up the road to access the Hex Mt Trail. I had taken a left turn on my previous attempt taking me in  the wrong direction. I was thankful to remember and not make the same mistake again.

As I reached the upper reaches of the logging road and switched to the trail and the views opened up. It was nice to see some of my old favorites mantled in snow. At around 4400' the trail enters the trees and the snow was rock hard. If the grade would have been steeper I think I would have wanted crampons or at least the added traction of snowshoes. I was able to make the summit without any issues. Thankfully the last steeper portion is out of the trees so the snow was much more receptive. I didn't linger long on the summit because it was a bit breezy. I felt compelled to keep following the ridge that was laid out beautifully in front of me. After consulting the map I had forgotten that the trail does continue down the ridge and spits me out within walking distance of my car. This was too much for me to resist. I had a big smile on my face as I plunged stepped down the easy grade. I couldn't see any sign of the trail buried beneath the snow. I had only done a cursory glance at my map but I wasn't concerned since If I just followed the easy path of least resistance I would reconnect with the car. Once reaching 4100' the trail jogs a bit so I followed suit which was great until I reached 3700' where I was stuck between two creeks with a steeper drop than what I wanted to attempt solo. I couldn't reconcile what I could see with my map so I decided to climb back up until I could get myself back on track. I chose a more direct line than I had used for my descent.

I have had a very taxing week at work along with a home project that has been taking up all my additional time. All this extra effort started taking it's toll as I struggled to get my self back up the slope. I gave up taking any chance of trying to close my loop because I couldn't make any sense of where I had gone wrong. Finally I was able to reclaim the 1300' of elevation to get back to Hex Mt's summit.  I was very thankful to be back on route and I struggled to keep a fast pace on the way down. Thankfully the car appeared. After downloading my route it was easy to see where I had gone wrong. I was glad I was able to make the right choice to return the way I had come. It was a hard choice because I wasn't too enthused with the idea of having to climb back to the summit, but looking on where I was heading it was the right choice. I learned a valuable lesson on making sure I spend the proper amount of time looking at my map before deciding that I can just wing it.

Approx 10 miles 4200' of climb 5:30 car to car

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