Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tinkham, East Tinkham and Silver Peaks Loop 7.21.14

I had hoped to do a 3 night camping trip but as things sometimes go, life got in the way. Instead I was limited to just Monday. I wasn't able to land any partners so I was again solo. A recent report I had read rekindled my interest on a loop trip I had attempted last year. Since I hadn't done either Tinkham or its Eastern summit I thought I could bundle it all together. I was expecting cloudy weather but instead I was fortunate to have full sun all day with comfortable temperatures. I was also expecting the bugs to be bad but again I was fortunate. I only had some minor bug issues near Silver's summit. I got a late start but I knew I had plenty of time. The road to the PCT intersection was in much worse shape than the last time I was there. Be wary there are some bigger potholes. I was the only car parked at the PCT intersection.  I kept a good pace for the nearly 2 miles to the climbers path leading to the ridgeline. On a previous trip I had walked past this junction but today I didn't make that mistake. I found a bit funny that the only people I saw on this day I crossed paths with right at the junction. It made me feel like someone was watching out for me. I quickly made it up the good tread to reach the ridge. My first objective came into view.

  The climber's trail starts on the ridge keeping North of the boundary for the watershed.. The trail was mostly easy to follow. A few time I got suckered too far North on way trails that led to overlooks.  The trail becomes quite steep but there isn't any exposure. The Last 200' are more of a rock scramble with some slabby areas.  I was rewarded with some nice views as I topped out along with a view of my next objective.

  The path continues on to the Eastern summit which is 3' lower. The going is surprisingly easy and soon I found myself on the Eastern summit. My next objective of Silver Peak looking very far away.

I quickly retraced my steps taking great car to stay on route on the way down. I missed one obscure turn following a worn path leading to some very steep down climbing. I resisted the urge to take a more direct line and instead found my error and kept myself on trail back to the lower reaches of the ridge. Thinking I had made it through the worst of it, I  instead had much more trouble on the lower portions. The recent rain had made some of the exposed roots exceedingly slippery. Thankfully the grade is much less so it didn't pose any real issues. I followed the path and dropped a short way just after the junction with the Abiel climber's trail. I was surprised to find some very large lingering snow patches.

As I climbed a bit higher the views of where I had come from opened up

The initial portion of the climb is very tedious with a lot of very loose rock. After 200' of climb the footing improves greatly. I passed a neat snow patch that was 10' tall and small cave melted out. Soon I found myself on the summit. I continued heading NWon a defined climber's path. The path traversed on the West side of the ridge high above lake Annette. I followed for some time before climbing up to the ridge line and dropping to the East. I think had a gone a bit further I would have found an easier way to the snowfields below. I angled a bit North and found some lower angled terrain to get me onto snow.

 There are two broad gullies here, I chose the western gully. After reaching the end of the snow I had some steeper areas to contend with to get me down to trail visible below. Once reaching the trail it promptly led to another rock slide. Growing weary of walking on rocks I instead stayed in the light forest. This led me to an steeper area that I didn't want to climb down to reach the more benign slopes below. I had intended on backtracking a short way back to get back on route. I instead found some easier slopes to the East which gave me access to some more rock slides. I stayed on the margin of the rock finding some evidence of prior traffic. I reached an are of steeper wet, loose rock in a small gully. Fearing rock fall from the dog after I dislodged a huge rock that fell 200', I urged the dog ahead. Thinking the dog was out of harms way I continued down dislodging another big rock. I waited with bated breath as I feared the rock would connect with my pup. Thankfully the rock crashed harmlessly below. I was now back in low angled forest as I did a Westerly tending traverse. I found a fire ring just before the another rock slide with a structure built of timber and stacked rocks. It was like a big rock cabin with no roof. Thankfully a short time later I found the path leading to the logging road I needed to connect with to make my way back to the car. I highly recommend this rout because it has a lot of varied terrain.

Approx 7 miles 3000' of climb 4:45 car to car
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