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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Mt. Howard 7.7.05
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naturealbeing
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Joined: 05 Dec 2004
Posts: 1565 | TRs | Pics
Location: Great Mystery
Post Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:15 pm    Mt. Howard 7.7.05
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Short story: Left TH at 9:15 and arrived at summit at 1:15 w/one-half hung up on a rock slab. Spent an hour and a quarter on the summit and took 3 hrs. down w/a side trip up a ridge and a stop at Merritt Lake.


Long version: The first two miles on the trail was in the forest and the temperature  and the grade was perfect for making good time. It took me 1 hr. w/a total gain of 1,700 ft. to reach the Merritt Lk. cutoff.  From here the trail takes a left onto the Nason Ridge and gains another 800 ft. and  traverses the S side of the ridge before it starts to drop mid way and loses 650 ft. by the time you reach Royal Creek.

Just before I hit the switchbacks heading down to the creek, is when I first got my view of Mt. Howard. I thought wow that sure looks far away. From where I stood it was only 2-1/2 miles of hiking, but that didnít stop my perception from thinking that it looked more like 4 miles away.

Anyways just after I passed the creek the forest started to open up into meadows with everything in various colors of green. This is one of my favorite characteristics of this time of the season. Everything is so colorful and bursting forth with so much life force energy that it feels like Iím having a sensory overload.

After crossing the meadows the trail starts to climb again and switchbacks up through a talus field. That 650 ft. that I just lost I found. Iím now back at 5,600 elev.  and the trail starts to drop down to Crescent Lake, itís at this point that I leave the trail and head NW around and up the left side of this rock buttress. This location is clearly marked on the GTM. Iím now traveling on rock and duff w/some sparse trees all around. I pass a cliff to my left and head more N to avoid getting to close for comfort.  I correct my course and cross over a talus field  before having to make a decision. Do I go up a damp, wet, steep gully or climb up 75 ft. of rock slabs before I hit the trees with a friendlier grade to continue on? Well I chose the slabs and got up about 65 ft. before I came to a section that offered no safe passage. The exposure was to great and with no hand holds. A slip here would result in a tumble back down and I wasnít into being the next person on the news that forgot his clamps and ran into trouble.  So back down I carefully climbed.  This was a good exercise of  one of the rules I have set for myself. Never to go up something I canít get down safely. At any point along this short scramble/climb if I were to commit myself and not be able to continue or return it might be a long time on that bit of rock before help comes. Great views, but I had a summit to make and this ate up a half hour of my time.

Once back down I made my way over to the gully and it didnít look so bad after all. So up I went and before to long I topped off on the SE ridge and could see the summit of Mt. Howard. I still had another 500 ft. of elevation to gain and another  third of a mile to travel before I was to reach the summit. The remainder of the way was traveled on heather, duff, and talus.

It was a great feeling to arrive at the summit (in one piece) and realize what incredible views were available here. For so many years I look longingly to Mt. Howard from many mountain tops and contemplated  this day. Now it was real and as good as it gets.

I looked around and found the register and was quite surprised, as many of the peaks that Iíve made recently have been lacking registers. I was beginning to think that someone was playing a dirty joke on me and stealing the registers just before I reached the summits.

After  a lunch break and plenty of pictures I was ready to head back down. I decided to head down to Crescent Lake and catch the trail there and head out that way.  I was able to get down pretty easily until the last 175 ft., which turned into a little bush bash.

Once at the lake the mosquitoes decided to make a withdrawal  from my blood bank. I wasnít even open for withdrawals but it seems no one told them and I was forced to move my feet to escape those ravaging blood sucking bugs.

On the way out I found an old spur trail that connected up to Mt. Mastiffs SE ridge. This was at the 5,600 ft. elev. and I hiked up it for  about 200 ft. and was able to get a great view of Nason Ridge to the E. and a peek-a-boo view of Merritt Lake below. If anyone has any knowledge of this trail, I sure would like to know where it goes.

While I was looking down on the lake I heard some voices. This got my curiosity up and I decided to head over to the lake and check it out. From the spur it was a quick 10 minute walk. There was a group of people on the opposite shore and it appeared that they were over there fishing and donating blood to the Merritt Lake mosquitoes chapter. I had no idea those mosquitoes where so well organized.

After my brief stop at the lake I headed out and arrived at the TH around 6:30.

For those that may be wondering about my four-legged traveling companion Crystal. Weíve been hitting the trail pretty hard and she needed  some more R&R. When I got home she expressed her displeasure by giving me the cold shoulder treatment.  Any kind of affection expressed on my part was met with indifference. She still loves treats tho!

More pictures dated 7.7.5 posted here: http://community.webshots.com/album/385292040EzeMFD




Rock Mtn.jpg
Taken while ascending S slope of Mt. Howard at about 6,000 ft. in elevation.
 Rock Mtn.jpg (154 KB)
File downloaded or viewed 159 time(s)

Glacier Peak, wild sky .jpg
Taken from the summit of Mt. Howard w/Glacier Peak in the left background and some kind of wild sky action happening.
 Glacier Peak, wild sky .jpg (42 KB)
File downloaded or viewed 176 time(s)

Monti Cristo Pks.jpg
Taken from the summit of Mt. Howard w/the Monti Cristo Peaks in the background and Mt. Labyrinth near center.
 Monti Cristo Pks.jpg (84 KB)
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Jeff R
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Joined: 10 Apr 2005
Posts: 970 | TRs | Pics
Location: In the 80's dude!
Post Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:30 pm    Nice report!
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naturealbeing wrote:

It was a great feeling to arrive at the summit (in one piece) and realize what incredible views were available here. For so many years I look longingly to Mt. Howard from many mountain tops and contemplated† this day. Now it was real and as good as it gets.



Congratulations are in order on your successful summit then. up.gif That is  indeed a great one. agree.gif

--------------
Talk to your cat about catnip!
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john doe
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Post Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:42 am   
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Great timing on your summit. I was on Labyrinth a couple hours earlier and could see everything except for the Monte Cristo group, which was still enshrouded by fog. Maybe if I sent you a picture of Howard from Labyrinth you could identify Rock Mtn for me? I was on Rock Mtn. last summer but had trouble identifying it from Labyrinth because I'm not very familiar with the area.
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naturealbeing
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Joined: 05 Dec 2004
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Location: Great Mystery
Post Sat Jul 09, 2005 8:16 pm   
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Rumpus Doodle wrote:
Great timing on your summit. I was on Labyrinth a couple hours earlier and could see everything except for the Monte Cristo group, which was still enshrouded by fog. Maybe if I sent you a picture of Howard from Labyrinth you could identify Rock Mtn for me? I was on Rock Mtn. last summer but had trouble identifying it from Labyrinth because I'm not very familiar with the area.

I was wondering who might be over there on Labyrinth. Low and behold Rumpus Doodle.

I've been up there in each of the four seasons and the magic of that area is fascinating to experience.

Please find the attached photo labeled as requested. Hope this is what you wanted. Glad to be of service.




Nason Ridge.jpg
Nason Ridge as seen from Mt. Labyrinth 9.28.03.
 Nason Ridge.jpg (65 KB)
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john doe
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Post Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:23 am   
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Thanks NB, I really appreciate the picture!  smile.gif
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cheakamus
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Joined: 19 Jul 2003
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Location: Seattle
Post Sun Jul 10, 2005 5:51 pm   
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Hi NB,
Saw your name in the logbook yesterday (Saturday), only didn't realize it was you.  (Note to nwhikers:  Put your screen name in quotation marks along with your real name so we know who you are.)
We had a little more cloud than you, but all in all, a very satisfying day.  It must have rained heavily the day before (Friday), because the ground was uniformly damp and all footprints erased.
We took the Rock Lake approach, which entailed a little more up and down than I had anticipated--I think we did about 6500' all told by the time we were finished.  We also experienced the brush bashing on the slope above Crescent Lake.  Our only other difficulty was trying to decide which peak to aim for (the summit of Howard is not readily apparent from the Crescent Lake side until you're nearly upon it).
We stopped at Rock Lake on the way back down.  Really a pretty lake.  It was 4 o'clock and the sun had finally beaten back the clouds, so we had a quick swim (still pretty cold).  Then we found a boot track crossing the outlet and heading directly west to join the Rock Mt. trail at one of the last switchbacks--saved us about 500' vertical climbing out of the Rock Lake basin.
We never saw another person all day, save for the couple of parties we watched through binoculars summiting Rock.
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naturealbeing
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Post Wed Jul 13, 2005 4:13 pm   
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cheakamus wrote:
Hi NB,
Saw your name in the logbook yesterday (Saturday), only didn't realize it was you.† (Note to nwhikers:† Put your screen name in quotation marks along with your real name so we know who you are.)

cheakamus,

I've been given many names throughout the years and generally use F.I & Q. 2  (when I sign registers) which is short for French I and Crystal too, Crystal being my four-legged traveling companion.

For those that would like to know the history of the name Frenchy, the name Frenchy was given to me when I was 11 yrs. old while I was spending time at the Ballard Boys Club. At the time I was asked by Les Mueller what my nationality was and at the time I only knew of my French side of my family. Sense then Les started calling me Frenchy and everyone else in the club joined in. It's now 39 yrs. later and most everyone I know still calls me Frenchy or French I. Anyways thats my story and I'm sticking to it.

In regards to your request, for nwhikers to put their screen name in quotation marks while signing registers, I'm sure you will be happy to know that I implemented your request Monday 7.11.05 on Mt. Aix. Please feel free to verify at your earliest convenience.
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