Photos from this trip can be found here.
Today couldn’t have been a better day to redo Mount Pugh since we didn’t see much on top the first time. While browsing through trip reports on nwhikers.net, I accidentally came across a report posted two weeks prior and it looked like no snowshoes were needed, just traction device with trekking poles would do. Once again I left my snowshoes at home and brought just the poles and spikes with me.
I had a couple of gatherings to attend in the evening, so we started extra early and was on the trail by 6:45 AM. It didn’t take long before we were at Lake Metam, took a short break and then headed for Stujack Pass. The switchbacks felt like they went on forever before we hit the first snow patches at 4,300’. Soon after we reached bottom of the steep slope leading up to Stujack Pass. The first time I was there I couldn’t see much with the clouds so I had no idea how steep the slope was. Plus there wasn’t any snow and I was able to switchback up to the pass than shooting straight up like we did this time.
I was surprised to see the amount snow on Stujack Pass. I followed the faint footpath and went around the heather slopes instead. The slopes were really icy so the ice ax and traction were definitely needed. Traversing across top of Stujack Pass following the footpath was interesting, alternating between walking in snow and walking on the knife edge. It wasn’t long before the ledge was in front of us and I was glad to see there wasn’t any snow on it. From that point on there were only a couple of places with snow, but we were walking on the actual, exposed trail for the most part all the way to the summit.
There wasn’t much snow left on the summit. The views I had missed the first time were all beautifully displayed in front of me. The dogs were definitely tired, as seen in the photo above. I took my time taking lots of pictures before we left the summit. We didn’t see anyone else on the way up but saw a group of three near Stujack Pass.
Access: Mount Pugh Trailhead (NF-2095)