Photos from this trip can be found here.
Snow conditions here were just as bad, if not worse, as how it was on the way to Noble Knob two days ago.
A party of two pulled up to the West Fork Miller River Road gate parking area just as the pups and I were getting ready. They were heading up to ski on Lennox Mountain. A few snow patches on the road after going through the big gully before the east ridge at .6 mile. From there we started scrambling up the steep slopes while negotiating brush and outcrops.
More snow at 3000′ at the first clearing, and we bypassed the snow-covered boulder field on the left trying to stay in trees where there was less snow. I switched from microspikes to snowshoes at 3400′ where we got our first glimpse of the outcrops towering above the snow field at the second clearing. The next 600 feet gain getting to 4000′ was slow and excruciating.
After checking out the ridge conditions at 4000′, it became apparent that ridge walk was not going to be possible with big blocks of outcrops partially covered in now. So we dropped down to the north slopes and traversed sideways while hugging the ridge. Another 400′ feet full of , postholing, cussing and sweat!
At 4400′, I decided to get back on the ridge crest and check out the snow/rock conditions and glad I did! Here the ridge was fully covered in snow with only a couple of big steps to get on top of the outcrops before the traverse became more…enjoyable. Nothing like snowshoeing in fresh powder and Cascade Concrete I tell ya.
We were making pretty good time getting to the connecting ridge and going up the northeast ridge of Easter Peak. At 5250′, just 100 feet below the summit there about a 10 feet outcrops covered in snow with a big tree sticking out at the bottom. Unable to prop myself up with the help of the tree, I started slowly making steps on the steep slope left of the crest and got on top of the outcrops that way. The rest of the way to the summit was a simple walk-up.
Another gorgeous day! Near and far all the mountains were visible, Lennox Mountain was just a stone’s throw away. It took us seven hours from car to summit, definitely it would have been great to have other humans on the trip to share the grunt work of trail breaking. We stayed on the summit until two hours before sunset and proceeded to head down the mountain. It took us less than half of the time to get back to the car!