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PostMon Feb 08, 2021 6:40 pm 
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Last time we went up Mt. Gardner (2012 report) we used a direct route from Tinkham Rd up the north-northwest slopes. This year there wasn’t enough snow covering the large talus fields on the lower slopes, so we planned a different route. We parked near exit 42 and walked up to the lower McClellan Butte trailhead. From there we walked up the trail to the Palouse to Cascades (Iron Horse) trail. We walked east about 1.5 miles to just past Harris Creek where we left the trail and went cross country up to FS 9020.  We continued on FS 9020 across the lower slopes of Mt Gardner, past the giant talus fields.

Our approximate route . . .
Our approximate route . . .
A view of our approximate route . . .
A view of our approximate route . . .
Another view of our approximate route . . .
Another view of our approximate route . . .
Morning light highlights snow slabs on West Defiance as we walk along the Iron Horse railroad grade . . .
Morning light highlights snow slabs on West Defiance as we walk along the Iron Horse railroad grade . . .
On FS 9020 along the lower slopes of Mt Gardner
On FS 9020 along the lower slopes of Mt Gardner
Continuing along FS 9020 . . .
Continuing along FS 9020 . . .
The north slopes of Mt Gardner have lots of talus . . .
The north slopes of Mt Gardner have lots of talus . . .

We don’t really enjoying snowshoeing on roads, much preferring to wander among the trees following the foxes and the hares when we can . . .  We stayed on FS 9020 until we found an inviting place to head up through the forest at a little above 2600’. We met the road again at close to 3600’. From there we went up the NE slopes and ridge of Gardner. The fresh snow was plentiful and took steps well. The views improved as we got into young trees.

Enjoyable microspiking on thin snow and ice above FS 9020
Enjoyable microspiking on thin snow and ice above FS 9020
Somewhere on the uphill we crossed into fresh snow and changed to snowshoes . . .
Somewhere on the uphill we crossed into fresh snow and changed to snowshoes . . .
A joy to be in fresh snow that takes good steps  . . .
A joy to be in fresh snow that takes good steps  . . .
On the NE slopes - such nice snow!
On the NE slopes - such nice snow!
Continuing up . . .
Continuing up . . .
Fresh snow made for enjoyable travel uphill . . .
Fresh snow made for enjoyable travel uphill . . .
Reaching the NE ridge.
Reaching the NE ridge.
Often travel through the short forest can be full of pits and holes . . . on this day conditions were a delight -
Often travel through the short forest can be full of pits and holes . . . on this day conditions were a delight -
No holes and plenty of nice snow alleys with wide views . . .
No holes and plenty of nice snow alleys with wide views . . .
I-90 below - we could see them, but don't think they noticed us!
I-90 below - we could see them, but don't think they noticed us!
Mt Gardner NE ridge
Mt Gardner NE ridge
Some things just make us smile . . .
Some things just make us smile . . .

At just under 4200’ we met FS 9020 again and snowshoed along the alley between the impressive, large trees to the north summit of Mt. Gardner (4380’+). As we ate our lunch, the clouds gave us really nice peek-a-boo views of surrounding peaks.

The NE ridge meets FS 9020 here at just under 4200 elev . . .
The NE ridge meets FS 9020 here at just under 4200 elev . . .
FS 9020 is a very nice snow alley here.
FS 9020 is a very nice snow alley here.
Looking West from Mt Gardner North Summit  - to Harris Lake basin and the Ohanepecosh Kingdom of Rock Creek ridge and The Dukes and Duchesses of Kent, with Mt Kent and shoulders of McClellan Butte in clouds behind.
Looking West from Mt Gardner North Summit  - to Harris Lake basin and the Ohanepecosh Kingdom of Rock Creek ridge and The Dukes and Duchesses of Kent, with Mt Kent and shoulders of McClellan Butte in clouds behind.
Looking across big wind slabs toward Mt Gardner South Pk . . .
Looking across big wind slabs toward Mt Gardner South Pk . . .
Mt Gardner South Peak from near the North Pk
Mt Gardner South Peak from near the North Pk
A closer look - Rock Creek ridge in front, with the Duke and Duchess of Kent just behind.
A closer look - Rock Creek ridge in front, with the Duke and Duchess of Kent just behind.
Duke of Kent (CL) and Duchess of Kent (CR)
Duke of Kent (CL) and Duchess of Kent (CR)
Looking over to bumps near Harris Lake . . .
Looking over to bumps near Harris Lake . . .
Duchess of Kent
Duchess of Kent
Duke of Kent (C)
Duke of Kent (C)
Duchess of Kent
Duchess of Kent
Duke of Kent (C)
Duke of Kent (C)

After lunch we descended the NE ridge to meet FS 9020 at close to 3600’. From there we followed FS 9020 to about 2280’ where we went down through the forest to the Palouse to Cascades trail, and the rest of our original route.

Map got us here . . .guess it will get us out . . .
Map got us here . . .guess it will get us out . . .
Back down the NE ridge . . .
Back down the NE ridge . . .
Back through the short forest . . .
Back through the short forest . . .
Back to one of the crossings of FS 9020 . . .
Back to one of the crossings of FS 9020 . . .
Little St Helens to the East , , ,
Little St Helens to the East , , ,
Using pieces of FS 9020 on the way down . . . Bandera Mtn (L) across I-90 below
Using pieces of FS 9020 on the way down . . . Bandera Mtn (L) across I-90 below

Another really beautiful day out in the snow!

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somesignaturehere and somesignaturethere
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awilsondc
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PostMon Feb 08, 2021 6:46 pm 
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Nice looking trip!

some names wrote:
No holes and plenty of nice snow alleys with wide views . . .
No holes and plenty of nice snow alleys with wide views . . .

Now this is really, really good right here.  This is everything I love about snowshoeing in Washington.  Breaking trail through snowy trees, moody mountain views...  A+ shot, I love it!  rocker.gif
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puzzlr
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PostTue Feb 09, 2021 7:31 pm 
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Another great winter outing from you two!

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Duke of Kent (C)
Duke of Kent (C)

Fantastic shot of the Duke. It's hard to get a good view of this side without being where you went. We tried to climb this last October (2019) but were scared off by the final bit of steep rock scrambling after climbing the gully from the Alice Creek basin (other side from this view). We escaped to the left but will come back and try it from the south when there is spring snow.

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eishundo
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PostWed Feb 10, 2021 12:14 pm 
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Can you please share the link to your CalTopo map.
Thank you!
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some names
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PostThu Feb 11, 2021 12:21 pm 
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Thanks for the nice comments awilsondc. That's what we always think about your pictures and reports, always look forward to seeing them.

Puzzlr, that was our thought exactly . . . wanted to get to Gardner for that view of a south approach to Duke. Your plan sounds really good.

Eishundo, the map is a jpeg capture from CalTopo. The route dots are just photoshopped in. Not sure if that answers...

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coldrain108
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PostThu Feb 11, 2021 1:24 pm 
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Here is the view back from P3 (West Defiance).

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"The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch and do nothing"  - Albert Einstein
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