~ submitted by Bil Derby

June 2, 2018

Following a recce of the access roads to the Moriarty trail-head and a lot of discussion back and forth about the likelihood of gaining access to the Moriarty trail-head it was decided to switch locations and hike the Judges route on Arrowsmith.

Seven intrepid hikers met at Starbucks at 0630 to carpool and fuel up on caffeine before heading off to the mountains.  Arriving on schedule at the Judges trail-head at 0800 we quickly geared up and wandered off up the mountain in what appeared to be improving weather……….more on that later.

The lower reaches of the route quickly drove up heart rates and we all settled into hiking mode.  A few breaks here and there at “viewpoints” gave hints that the weather may be conspiring against us.

Clouds slithered in and light rain found us at about 1,000 meters but spirits remained high and laughter could be heard. Snow made a patchy appearance at around 1,500 meters and became a steady companion after 1,570 meters. Rain also decided to tag along despite the absence of an invitation.

Around 1,680 meters the steepness and poor quality of the snow (think slurpee consistency) coupled with increasingly persistent rain and a relative lack of visibility made the decision to turn back fairly easy and reasonable as descending in those conditions was not agreeable to the group.  A quick recce by Bil up another 40 or so vertical meters proved the point.

The descent was fairly quick and we passed a number of groups, large and small, and almost uniformly ill prepared for the conditions up higher.  Some took advice and turned back while other pressed on… truly concerning to witness.

The highlight of the lower section of descent was the exploration of an older somewhat parallel trail that lead through a most wonderful foot puzzle of wind felled trees and associated detritus…..a pleasant distraction that now having been relegated to memories need not be repeated.

 

 

Thanks to Karen A, Jenn M, Carol D, Holly H, Lucie S, and Senok B for sharing the day with me.

Trip Data:
7km
1,070m total elevation gain
1,711 meters max elevation
6 hours, more or less

All photos by Carol Dupuis