2018/12/7 – Putrid Petes Peak IV + Web Mountain III / 腐彼特峯之四+韋伯山之三

Final scramble
Final scramble

See more trip photos here.
See other Putrid Petes Peak (PPP) trips here and Web Mountain trips here.

Access: Ira Spring Trailhead
Round Trip: 8.5 miles
Elevation Range: 2160′-5335′
Gear: microspikes; snowshoes and ice axe packed but not used

Pup’s and my first time climbing both high points on the same trip. In the past, we would climb Web Mountain from Exit 38 for the shorter drive and use the same approach as Dirty Harrys Peak, and PPP from the Ira Spring Trailhead for the shorter climbing distance.

Trailside attraction
Trailside attraction

See more trip photos here.

Small potholes strewed the 3.8-mile drive on the otherwise good shape Mason Lake Road. Fewer than a dozen cars at the trailhead on a Friday before noon. At the first switchback, we took the inconspicuous spur trail and hiked three-quarters of a mile before gaining real elevation.

Hustle and bustle
Hustle and bustle

See more trip photos here.

I used microspikes past 3600′ once trail became icy and dusted with snow. Just past the small section of the talus at the first clearing, the trail became dry, and microspikes weren’t needed again until PPP came into view at 4400′. Depending on the snow quality, we’d occasionally follow old boot tracks from here to the summit. 

Looking down
Looking down

See more trip photos here.

Due to limited daylight, we briefly stood on PPP before heading to our second objective of the day–Web Mountain. We got down below the summit’s downsloping slabs and began the short traverse northwestbound on the connecting ridge. Not enough snow coverage to benefit from snowshoes, so I kept microspikes on the entire way.

Next up, Web Mountain
Next up, Web Mountain

See more trip photos here.

We stayed on the ridge crest for the most part. A few sections of partially snow-covered downsloping slabs with potential for slippage required us to traverse below the rocks instead. The absence of the 15-20 mph wind gusts in the weather forecast made this a much enjoyable traverse. 

Looking back at Putrid Petes Peak
Looking back at Putrid Petes Peak

See more trip photos here.

A little windy on top, but we were able to take refuge behind rocks overlooking Spider Lake Basin on the north side. Despite the light haze, the crisp winter air coupled with evening colors enhanced the clarity of high points from near and far. This was the first time I noticed Mount Hinman and Mount Daniel from this summit.

Hinman and Daniel
Hinman and Daniel

See more trip photos here.

After reversing our route back to PPP and right before sunset, I decided to make a loop out of the trip by continuing down the east ridge toward Mount Defiance. Since we’d pick up the trail somewhere west of the mountain, I was fine with heading back down in the dark. Many exposed rocks on the ridge; microspikes alone worked out well.

Ridge run toward Mount Defiance
Ridge run toward Mount Defiance

See more trip photos here.

We were able to stay on the ridge crest to the east end of the ridge and eventually picked up the nicely packed Mount Defiance Trail below west of the mountain. We quickly made our way down to Mason Lake outlet (2.5 miles from PPP) in the dark and took a photo break.

Mason Lake after dark
Mason Lake after dark

See more trip photos here.

Descending the old trail was smooth sailing until we reached the talus field at 3800′. The boot tracks in the snow turned around here and appeared to have gone back up to the Mason Lake Trail. Pup and I slowly crossed the partially snow-covered boulders while following large stacks of cairns to the west end of the talus.

The final cairn
The final cairn

See more trip photos here.

Before re-entering the forest, we noticed some boot tracks on this side as well, that had turned around just before crossing the talus. It took us some time to locate the trail that initially climbed up the slopes before making its way down the ridge toward the Ira Spring Trail.

Exiting Alpine Lakes Wilderness
Exiting Alpine Lakes Wilderness

See more trip photos here.

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