Snow in the trees, again! My sixth excursion in the last two months, and each time has been beautiful, and always in different ways. This one, we had clear skies with snow decorating the trees, and glorious vistas, not only from the summit, but from the viewpoints along the way.
It was cold and dark when we set out from our parking spot near the highway. The moon was low, shining through light cloud. Our headlamps made the frost and ice sparkle. We made quick time on easy trails, making quiet conversation.
Our group of ten had a fantastic day on a leisurely trip up Mount Prevost. It was the kind of day that brought all the weathers: pouring rain on the drive in, cloudy on the way up, sunny upon reaching the summit but snowy as we departed, sunny back at the car, and then pouring rain on the drive out.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve summited Mt. Arrowsmith for the annual New Year’s Day expedition, but it must be at least 10. The first year I participated was in 2001, and I climbed it in my backcountry touring skiboots. They provided great support, but were heavy and of course cumbersome. But there was a lot of snow that year, right from the parking lot off Pass Main, and they were great for kicking steps.
Before leading this year’s climb I was apprenhensive:
after a 6-week trip to Mexico I wasn’t in the best of shape. Could I handle it?
of the 7 others in our group, I didn’t know 3. Would they all be okay?
there have been three accidents in recent years on this climb, and I fretted about the conditions. Would it be icy and treacherous?
Thankfully, though, my fears were unfounded. Everyone did just fine, and it was probably the easiest winter climb I’ve had up Arrowsmith with good snow conditions, for the most part.
The trail was bare of snow until we’d hiked up for about 1/2 hour.
We met at the Arbot Rd parking area at the leisurely time of 9:30 and got back almost exactly 5 hrs later, with no rest breaks.
We followed the mix of trails and roads from the northwest end of the lake. Weather was just wet enough to justify rain clothes, and stayed pretty much the same on the way up. No distant views, but a couple of nice foggy scenes over the valley. There isn’t much snow on the ground right now. The same as it was a month or so ago; just starting at the junction before Te’tuxw’tun Trail.
Right at the summit a stiff cold wind limited time to a couple of quick cell pics and chased us back into the trees. Coming down was wetter and cooler than going up, so our total of rest breaks for the day was about 3 or 4 minutes standing for lunch.
A better day than staying home! And a good day for gear testing. 1) I need new rain clothes 2) the rest of my clothing worked well, not excessively cold when damp. Thanks for the pleasant company, Goody!
We pushed the limits of a B rating on our sunny, December trip along Wesley Ridge. We had an excellent day on the ridge. The leisurely pace helped with this as it allowed for in-depth conversation on a diverse range of topics.
The most challenging effort of the day was gaining the ridge. To ease the transition from sitting to hiking, we took our sweet time. Once we gained the hill, we found ourselves first walking in hoar frost, and eventually the lightest dusting of fresh snow. Though the first highpoint was mired in a fog that obscured any meaningful view, it didn’t last long. By the time we were halfway along our route, the cloud dissipated and the sun shone down.
Though it remained cold throughout the day, we kept ourselves warm by maintaining a consistent though relaxed pace to cover the 1000 meters of elevation gain and 14.4km.
So did we make it in under 6 hours? No, we needed an extra 15 minutes. We might have made the 6 hours mark but for the blowdown along the ridgetop and missteps at the very beginning of the day. I heard no complaints over the smiles on people’s faces as we finished up this Ridge Ramble!