2018/12/8 – Tronsen Head II + Windy Knob / 創森頭之二+多風圓丘

Today's destinations with a Christmas tree
Today’s destinations with a Christmas tree

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Access: NF-7240 (Upper Tronsen Road)
Round Trip: 8 miles
Elevation Range: 3880′-5980′
Gear: microspikes and snowshoes; ice axe packed but not used

We followed the partly sunny weather forecast to the east of the Cascade crest before tonight’s snowfall over the mountain passes. Despite having taken numerous trips through Tronsen Meadow south of Blewett Pass, we had actually never been on Windy Knob.

Short-lived sunshine
Short-lived sunshine

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Pup and I started walking after parking just off the highway by the snow berm. On the way in, we ran into a man with his two sleigh pups coming out after an overnight camping trip in the meadow. I was curious about all the gear he had on the sleigh, so we chatted awhile before parting ways.

Hello Diamond Head
Hello Diamond Head

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This ski trail map posted by several trail/road junctions had always been a great help; one could easily get confused by the maze of trails if not paying enough attention or getting distracted by skiers. Not all of the trails on the map showed up on my GPS device, so it’s a much better reference. 

Today's crew
Today’s crew

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Tronsen Loop Trail had been packed down nicely by recent skiers and hikers, and we followed it for a while before taking the East Loop Trail. I put on snowshoes at 4400′, then we left the road to be on the Tronsen Meadow Trail (#1205). Recent boot tracks quickly dwindled past the trailhead. 

Game trail
Game trail

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Though I hadn’t experienced eternity, breaking trail in calf-deep fresh powder for nearly two miles felt like it. At 5480′, we made a right onto Mount Lilian Trail (#1601) and finally got onto Tronsen Head‘s west ridge through the old burn. At the next trail junction quarter of a mile ahead, we took a right and got on the Table Mountain Trail (#1209) to finish.

North panoramic view
North panoramic view

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Clouds eventually lowered after we arrived on the summit and that lasted for about half an hour. After soaking in a bit of view to the north, we headed down the southwest ridge to the saddle before the two high points. The saddle wasn’t as gentle as it looked on the map, and at its narrowest point, there was only enough standing room for one person.

Onward to Windy Knob
Onward to Windy Knob

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Clouds had lifted while we were making our way here from Tronsen Head, and the little view we got earlier had since become nonexistent. We left Windy Knob summit minutes after we arrived, through the rocky west ridge while following ski tracks that had ended on the summit earlier in the day.

Outro
Outro

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The calf-deep snow still wasn’t deep enough to smooth out the talus underneath. Constant noise from the snowshoes scraping rocks with every step was excruciating. We picked up Haney Meadow Trail in the west basin and hiked back down to Tronsen Meadow to finish the last two miles of the loop back to the car. 

So long
So long

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