Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mount Dickerman - Trail - 05.11.10

3900' elevation gain
8 miles RT
Left car: 7:45 am
Summit: 10.45 am
Left summit: 12:00 pm
Back at car: 1:45 pm
6 hours car to car

Adam and I were hoping for a summit, so the original plan was Bryant Peak, but I made a last minute change to Mount Dickerman, because the weather forecast was slightly better further north.

I had attempted this with Sabrina and friends a bunch of years ago without success due to deep unconsolidated snow. I was hoping this time would be different. Our first snag was some construction on the Mountain Loop Highway which delayed us 10-15 minutes. When we arrived at the trail head, we were the only car.

We set out quickly enjoying some of the large trees in the forest and the numerous blossoming trilliums. We made fast time on the trail covering the first 1000' of gain in just 35 minutes. We blasted out the next 1200' in a similar time and then we hit continuous snow. This slowed our pace and we replaced trekking poles with ice axes for added safety on the hard snowy hillside.

When the terrain changed to more open meadows, there was no longer a single consolidated path to support us. Our progress slowed again. We navigated our way around glissade paths trying to find the best steps to support us. When we started leaving the trees, the snow got a little more firm and we were making good time again. We arrived at the summit with clouds surrounding almost all of the nearby peaks except for Twin Peaks to our east. We waited for over and hour on the summit for the clouds to clear, but with no luck. (Although the clouds did put on a display for us swirling and blowing around making it look like we would see a clearing.)

After our lunch and break, we headed back down. In the open meadows we tried to make out the slides we could hear across the highway since we left the car. We did see some snow come off Big Four, but we were expecting more with all the noise we had heard. The plunge stepping was not very easy on the way down and we did a couple of small glissades just to not walk for a bit. Back on the trail we hiked quickly all the way out and were back at the car in what seemed like no time.

It was nice to get out and a get on a summit. Bummer that we didn't get the views that Dickerman is known for. Partial bummer for a non technical summit, but it was nice to get out and get some exercise.

Some pics here.

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