2018/12/2 – Round Mountain III / 圓山之三

You were amazing as always
You were amazing as always

See more trip photos here.
See other Round Mountain trips here.

For Round Mountain on Nason Ridge, check out this post.

Access: NF-1890 to the end of the drivable road
Round Trip: 6 miles
Elevation Range: 1600′-5320′
Gear: microspikes; snowshoes and ice axe packed but not used

I had hoped to stay closer to home today by visiting one of the lesser visited summits along the I-90 corridor. Overnight the mostly sunny weather forecast somehow turned mostly cloudy with possible snow, so we resorted to an area farther north to catch the mostly sunny weather still in the forecast.

Blair Witch
Blair Witch

See more trip photos here.

As I looked through old blog posts for the month of December before the trip, I realized that pup and I had also climbed Round Mountain back to back with Dickerman Mountain seven years ago. While we enjoyed bluebird weather during the first trip here, the weather on Dickerman Mountain was cloudy on both occasions. 

Snow line
Snow line

See more trip photos here.

Like the times before, the steep portion of the climb started as soon as we left the old roadbed, with 2600′ of elevation gain over 1.6 miles, or 1625′ over one mile. Semi-open forest at 2700′, not much to see other than the occasional sighting of fungus on trees. Microspikes would’ve worked well in gaining better traction on the duff.

Where art thou Round Mountain
Where art thou Round Mountain

See more trip photos here.

Snowline started at 3600′; two to three inches of snow on average to the top of the southeast ridge at 4360′. Ankle-deep snow from the brushy connecting ridge to the base of the steepest section of the climb–1000′ of elevation gain over half a mile to reach the summit. Snowshoes stayed on the pack as we got through partially exposed rocks.

We love boulders
We love boulders

See more trip photos here.

So far, top of Round Mountain had been shrouded in clouds, and I was almost certain we’d be without views on top just like on Mount Dickerman yesterday. As we ascended the south ridge, the precipitous north face of Mount Higgins behind us gradually came into view. 

All clouds please rise
All clouds please rise

See more trip photos here.

After getting through boulders to 4600′, we turned right and crossed a small talus field on the southeast face to bypass cliffs. Beyond the talus, we negotiated some thick growth and got inside a talus gully with running water underneath. We ascended 200′ and then made a left to get back onto the south ridge at 5100′ to finish the last bit of climb.

Northwest view
Northwest view

See more trip photos here.

After 45 minutes of hanging out on the windless summit, the overhead clouds began to break a little to allow the sun to shine a light on Segelsen Ridge to the north. Though not the temperature inversion I had hoped for, at least we were now able to see the river valleys down below.

South panoramic view
South panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

The longer we stayed the better the views became. Whitehorse Mountain and Jumbo Mountain didn’t quite show up until later on the descent. Good views of Sauk River Valley and the Town of Darrington southeast of here. Farther peaks like Mount Pugh and White Chuck Mountain were still discernable amid slow-moving clouds.

North panoramic view
North panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

The stubborn clouds did eventually lift up though never dissipated entirely. After holding out for better views for an hour and a half, we finally left the sub-freezing temperatures behind, down into the forest for the three-mile scramble back to the road. 

Thanks for a beautiful afternoon
Thanks for a beautiful afternoon

See more trip photos here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s