Tuesday, April 8, 2014

West Green Mountain 4656' 4.8.14

Last week I had an interesting outing on my way to Green Mountain's true summit. I found some rotten open snow on the East Ridge and it was enough of a concern that I backed down to the road below.  I had plenty of time so I headed on West Green Mountain Road until I stumbled onto a well flagged route heading up. The snow was decent in the trees and I made great time until I reached the open Talus field that can be seen from the many vantage points in the valley. I dropped my pack to lighten my weight for  the soft snow. I made it quite a ways before deciding that I had allotted my allowed time. I had hoped for a rematch this week provided the weather would cooperate.  Puzzlr had contacted me to see if I would have any interest in having some company for my return try. I was stoked because I don't get to have partners too often and I hadn't met Puzzlr before but I was well aware of some of the trips he had done. I knew I didn't need to worry about his fitness or abilities on this substantial climb. 

We decided to meet at the jump off point on the Middle Fork Road just after crossing the Middle Fork Bridge. The weather was quite a bit warmer when I arrived than I had expected. In fact I had to contend with a few mosquitoes in the short time I waited for Puzzlr to arrive. After exchanging pleasantries we were on our way.  Both the time and elevation flew by as we made our way towards our objective of the SW Ridge of Green Mt to access the Western most summit. I couldn't find a whole lot of beta regarding be able to run the ridge to the true summit. What I was able to find made it seem like it would be difficult.  I had pretty much resigned myself to settling for the Western point of the three distinct summits of Green. I was able to spot some tracks in addition to those that I had left last week. When we reached the open slopes below the ridge I was taken back with the fresh avalanche debris that more than likely had come down the day prior with the warm weather. I wasn't quite too happy to see my prints from the previous week covered with fresh debris. I had looked at the slope prior to walking underneath it last week and hadn't thought there was enough snow to actually slide.

Just prior to reaching my stopping point from last week we both switched to snowshoes. I had some equipment issues so I had Puzzlr continue on while I did my best to get it sorted out. We were able to zig zag our way up the slope quicker than I expected and soon we found ourselves on the SW ridge  The ridge proper was mostly melted out so we dropped pack and snowshoes and added rain gear because the impending rain finally reached us.  The prints I had seen below also converged here coming in a much more direct line from the basin below.  The scramble was fairly straightforward and we reached a small point to find that the Western summit was still a ways away along the ridge. The ridge went without much bother and we found ourselves on the summit with very limited views. I was happy to make it to this point so I headed back while Puzzlr continued a short ways along the ridge to get a better feel of what lay ahead. I was a little apprehensive about the descent so once reaching our packs I broke out my ice ax for some mostly unneeded conditions. It made me feel a little more secure however. Once regaining the trees we switched back to boots and had an enjoyable descent in the building rain. We made a short side track to the East Ridge climbers trail to see the cross left for an unfortunate climber killed in the area a couple of years ago. It always sobering to be faced with the things that can go drastically wrong during these pursuits. By the time we reached the lower portions of the trail it was raining quite hard making the trail much more challenging.  Many thanks to Puzzlr for making this day such a success. It was very good to meet you and I look forward to doing some trips in the future.

Approx 9 miles 4000' of climb 6:30 car to car

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