Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Not Quite Sleeepover Peak, Oversleep 4980'

I was feeling a bit under the weather and certainly very sluggish so I wasn't looking for anything overly taxing. I had a few ideas when I left the house because I wasn't sure what the weather and the conditions of the logging roads might be. I wasn't sure how low the snow level had fallen in the Southern Cascades so I was not overly optimistic if I would be able to drive all the way to Tacoma Pass. But the road was free from any snow which was quite a surprise for me. Also the weather was mostly benign. It was chilly so I layered up and headed the opposite direction on the PCT as I did last week.  The PCT meanders up the slope without much purpose which on this day fit my mindset.

After a few meandering switchbacks I reached a campsite with a sign pointing to a trail leading to water. On the way out I explored finding the water source further away than expected. Must be a nice oasis during the dry months where finding water might be problematic. Soon I started the long nearly level traverse towards my objective of Sleepover Peak 4880'. This is also where I hit snow, albeit just a dusting. I had hoped to leave the trail just south of 4566' and reach the logging road and follow the road to my higher intended target just to the SW. I found a good spot to leave the trail finding good footing.

I wasn't expecting too much cross country travel because the trail and the road are close together. I weaved my way up the slope making easy work of the elevation gain. Soon I reached an old road bed choked by many small trees, after trying a few different directions I realized that this might not be the best way to reach my objective, so I instead retreated to the PCT hoping to find a more pleasant option. I continued on for about a half mile where I spied a more pleasing road option above me, but to access this was rather short but a little too steep for my sluggish legs. I chose instead to continue on the PCT to see if I could outflank the ridge and try to find a more pleasing line of ascent. Soon I came out on a road junction with roads going in numerous direction. I was now off my printed map and while I knew the road that headed NW was my best bet, I didn't like the fact that it headed steeply downhill. The road heading SW not only headed steeply uphill but had recently been driven on giving me some curiosity where they might have been heading. The road continues for some ways before I reached a flat area, I decided to press on to see if I could find any higher areas. Soon I was under a knob that was clearly higher than any surrounding features, checking my altimeter it was also substantially higher than Sleepover Peak. I left the road and followed a good climber's trail to the summit. The point is 4980' is listed on the List of John as unranked point and is the Northern terminus of Blowout Mt's North Ridge. It does lack a few hundred feet of prominence to be considered a true summit but I felt like it still was a worthy objective. Since it was higher than Sleepover Peak I dubbed it Oversleep Peak.
Instead of retracing my steps down the climber's trail I followed the road back to my waiting footprints below. The trip out was very pleasant with a soft cushion of snow beneath my feet. When I returned to the car there were two Forest Service employees just suiting up. After exchanging pleasantries I inquired on what they were doing. Evidently they are setting up a wolverine station to try and determine if there are any in the area. I relayed that many years ago I had seen a wolverine near Hawkin's Mountain. The workers told me that there are actually 4 adults living in that general area. I found the whole conversation fascinating. With my goal being unmet I still made the most of a very enjoyable day.
Approx 8.5 miles 2200' of clime 3:45 car to car

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