Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Meadow Mt NE Peak, Meadow Mt., Meadow Mt South Improv Loop 6.3.140.

For the first time in some time I wasn't on kid patrol and had a half day to devote to climbing. I had a really hard time trying to find a suitable goal for the day. In the end my choice couldn't have been more ideal despite the fact that I hadn't planned most of it. Sometime ago I had done Meadow Mt but hadn't run the ridge to do the NE peak. I wasn't quite sure how far I would be able to drive the Meadow Creek Road. Upon reaching the junction I headed right away from Meadow Pass. I followed this road for a short ways until I hit a spur road on the left. I drove up this road for a short ways until I found a nice place to park. I could have driven further but I figured I would hit snow in short order anyway so I chose to use the nice parking spot. The weather was partly sunny and not exactly warm as I suited up.

I headed up the road hitting consistent snow in short order. I spied a nice snow finger leading to the small pass between 5125' and 5095', I was intrigued but chose to stick to the game plan of using the North Ridge. Upon reaching were the road turns North I could see a different set of logging roads above me so I chose to leave the road in the mostly widely spaced new timber. The snow was receptive and I made good time to reach the North Ridge at around 4400'. As soon as I reached the base of the ridge the weather abruptly changed. The clouds rolled in with some gusty winds. I was forced to add some layers. The climb above looked a bit daunting but I figured I would give it a shot. The snow was much firmer making me wish for crampons. Some stretches required me to double kick each step. I could see the Western side of the ridge was snow free so I headed to that side. The area had been thinned recently making the going quite tedious so in short order I crossed back to the East side. Soon I reached more mature trees making for more pleasing travel. I hadn't reached my parking spot to nearly 4 pm so I wondered if I could make it back to the car before the closing of I-90 for blasting. This gave me an idea of instead of returning via my ascent route to instead continue heading South along the ridge to go over Meadow Mt's main summit and the site of the old lookout and drop to the road below and walk the road back to the car. Once reaching the summit of the NE Peak I was able to text my wife with my change in plans. The NE Peak didn't afford any views so I merely continued on my way.

The ridge stayed pretty benign and I didn't have any issues negotiating the short ways to the main summit. Once reaching the site of the old lookout I couldn't see anything below me. I didn't remember too much of my last visit so I decided to take the path of least resistance to the logging roads below. Thankfully after a few hundred feet of descent I was able to see below to confirm I was on the right track. I reached to old road I had used for my previous descent but chose to head in a more direct line to the mainline below.  The descent was straightforward until I reached the lower portions where there was very little snow coverage. The talus fields were a bit tedious but soon I popped out on my road much closer to Meadow Pass than expected. I walked to good road to Meadow Pass and then closed the loop my making my way back to the car.

Overall a very enjoyable day. I was sad not to have any views since I do remember that Meadow Mt provides some excellent views.  I was quite happy to reach I-90 just as traffic started moving. I couldn't have timed it any better had I tried.

Approx 8 miles 2400' of climb 4:15 car to car

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