2011/5/1 – Ruby Mountain / 紅寶石山

Kodak moment on Ruby Mountain

Photos from this trip can be found here.

After last weekend’s hike to Sourdough Mountain, I was craving more spectacular views in the Diablo Lake/Thunder Arm/Ross Lake area. I narrowed my choices down to Davis Peak and Ruby Mountain since they were both in the vicinity of Sourdough and looked nonthreatening. I picked the latter because in one of the pictures I found in a trip report on Davis, the men were roped up near the peak. Unsure whether ropes were indeed required,  I didn’t want to risk it especially with two pups.

The trail to the east of the boulder field was unapologetically steep from the get-go, and it steadily shot straight up the mountain with no sign of easing. Snow appeared at around 3,000’ and I held off on putting on the snowshoes for another 400’. Somehow I thought the snow would just magically disappear after a while…not the case.

Getting up to the ridge at 4,000’ was a chore in itself. What looked to be non-aggressive slopes on the GPS topo would turn out to be nearly vertical climbs. I brought the trekking poles along but ended up only using the ice ax. I have not been good at breaking my own trails in the snow without getting disoriented, so I was relying on the GPS for the most part. Once we got to 5,400’ things started to look promising, as I was able to see exactly where we were headed. By then, Ruby was in full view and it got me even more eager about making it to the peak.

We followed the ridge line and started heading southeastward, by this time the snow had become more packed and the weather became even warmer. There were a few thin clouds in the sky earlier, by now they have all dissipated. It felt very calm and peaceful, and the only noises around were the occasional snow bombs, the dogs chasing each other, and planes that flew over the area. Once we’ve made our way to Point 6,315, we were able to see most of the peaks in the area.

The remaining 800’ of the climb was covered in cornices all the way to the radio tower, spilling over into the glacier to the north. We traversed carefully to be as close to the tree line as possible to prevent any of the unexpected. For the last 200’, rather than heading straight up the ridge line, we decided to go around the back side to avoid getting too close to the cornices. Once the radio tower was in the view, we knew we’ve finally safely made it to the peak!

Again, we stay at the top long enough to feed the dogs, take pictures, and get some carbs in. The view was beyond amazing, even more so than the view atop Sourdough. Jack Mountain was in plain sight and it’s one of my projects for this summer. Hopefully the snow will be gone by then. It took us four hours to get off the mountain, just before dark. Farewell Ruby!

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