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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Big Snow Mountain via Hardscrabble Lakes - 5/20/06
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Guiran
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Post Sun May 21, 2006 12:52 pm    Big Snow Mountain via Hardscrabble Lakes - 5/20/06
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Since Dicey's off scrambling Mt. Baring today (and swears she won't put a crampon through her hand while doing it), I figured I'd write up yesterday's trip to Big Snow Mountain.  Our party was four: myself, Dicey, and two UW climbers (Aaron and Ben).

First off - there's a big shiny gate blocking the road at Dingford.  Apparently the Forest Service jumped the gun and decided to install it before the summer rush.  The road walk to the fisherman's trail to Hardscrabble Lakes was long, boring and wet*.

Since it was raining and our brains weren't working, we missed the semi-obvious start to the fisherman's trail and chose instead to bushwhack in fine style up a clearcut.  After flailing around in slide alder and traversing steep, crumbly hillsides, we hit a logging road around 3600' and took that east to Hardscrabble Creek.   doh.gif  We blame Ben for the route finding problems even though Dicey and I misinterpreted the route beta and Aaron had actually been up Hardscrabble Creek before.

We picked up a cairned route and followed it to lower Hardscrabble Lake.  Well, at the time we couldn't tell what it was because we were walking around in a swirling soup of fog and clouds, but we were fairly certain we were at the edge of a large body of water.  Traversing to the left, we kind-of sort-of followed the sound of the outlet and eventually reached upper Hardscrabble Lake.  Here the clouds started clearing, giving us a chance to scout our route.


We chose a gentle slope to a saddle around 6000' and as we climbed the clouds started to clear up.  We could even see the summit!  Almost payback for the sopping wet 'schwack in the morning.


A long, scenic traverse brought us to the summit proper where the intermittent clouds made for beautiful views of the some of the area lakes and peaks.


On the way down, the views just kept improving and we were able to see some of what we had missed in the morning.


On the way out, we were able to follow the fisherman's trail all the way down and felt fairly (all right, really) stupid when we popped out right at our car.

Route Notes:

The fisherman's trail starts right behind the pull-out about 50 yards up from the huge decaying tree on the upper Middle Fork road.  Ascending the clearcut is not recommended unless you like suffering and slide alder.  The route is intermittently difficult to follow, but well cairned once you reach the talus field.

The route to the lakes is melting out quickly.  Lots of very weak snowbridges make for postholing fun.  Even more fun when the snowbridge crosses a stream.

Snowshoes and crampons not needed.  Bring an ice axe.

Road Notes:

Middle Fork Road in great condition to Taylor River bridge.  Road to Dingford has a number of minor water dips that would be navigable in anything other than the sort of low-clearance car I drive.

Beyond Dingford, the road is in typically lousy shape.  The mud puddles are nearly non-existent, but the river is running high and currently covering a 50 yard stretch of the road (2-3" deep).  Road is very rocky in places and some recent small slides have deposited boulders on the edge of the road bed making things a bit of a squeeze in places.

Stats:

14 (?) miles RT, 4000+' gain.  Not much up and down on this one.

*I'm just kidding.  Dicey put me up to this.  Aaron belongs in some sort of elite pantheon for getting us up and down fast and intact (though quite shaken around).
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Allison
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Post Mon May 22, 2006 12:01 am   
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Quote:
there's a big shiny gate blocking the road at Dingford.  Apparently the Forest Service jumped the gun and decided to install it before the summer rush.

WTF???? Nnnooooo.....!

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Dayhike Mike
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Post Mon May 22, 2006 12:06 am   
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Haha! You got me.

I missed the asterisk and was confused as hell when I got to the end and you indicated the fisherman's trail led right back to your car. I couldn't figure out what trail you'd followed back down that managed to lead you that far back down the valley.

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"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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Allison
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Post Mon May 22, 2006 12:10 am   
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That last pic is not Big Snow Mountain from any angle from the Hardscrabbles (or Gold Lake) that I've seen. Maybe I am smoking crack, but that looks wrong. confused.gif

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Dayhike Mike
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Post Mon May 22, 2006 12:15 am   
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It's looking in the right direction. The top's not visible, but yeah, that's the cliffy SE face of Big Snow from Lower Hardscrabble.

--------------
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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Tom
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Post Mon May 22, 2006 12:26 am   
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ML, you must be smoker.gif crack.  Looks just like Big Snow from Lower Hardscrabble. agree.gif
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GeoHiker
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Post Mon May 22, 2006 1:50 am   
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Guiran wrote:


First off - there's a big shiny gate blocking the road at Dingford.  Apparently the Forest Service jumped the gun and decided to install it before the summer rush. 

Good they should block it off at North Bend and keep those crack heads out of the there! smile.gif ...... up.gif

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You call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye......Eagles
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ree
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Post Mon May 22, 2006 8:14 am   
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Great TR!  That's on my list this summer.  Thanks for sharing.
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dicey
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Post Mon May 22, 2006 10:12 am   
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A bunch more pictures from this trip are posted here.

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Randy
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Post Mon May 22, 2006 4:09 pm   
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Tom wrote:
ML, you must be smoker.gif crack.  Looks just like Big Snow from Lower Hardscrabble. agree.gif

Ahh, good to relive memories from fun trips. I can't believe the trouble I went through to get water.

Guiran, nice report and pictures!
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Tazz
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Post Mon May 22, 2006 6:11 pm   
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sweet! nice report guys and gal. Thanks for the beta.  nice shots!
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Tom
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Post Mon May 22, 2006 6:40 pm   
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Guiran wrote:
Snowshoes and crampons not needed.  Bring an ice axe.

FWIW, I would recommend bringing crampons just in case.  We did this trip a couple weeks later in a year with less snowpack and I remember it being icy and exposed in spots.  Always good to be prepared as conditions can change.
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ragman and rodman
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Post Tue May 23, 2006 11:20 am   
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Ah yes... Big Snow Mountain... so prominent from so many mountain tops... I got to do it twice on a three day summer backpack trip in the late eighties when you could drive to the Hardscrabble trailhead... we set up camp the first night at 5800 feet and then headed for the summit (very easy to reach the summit in the summer with lots of huge slabs of rock to walk on)... we enjoyed the summit so much that we did it again before we broke camp the next morning... also got to visit Gold Lake, Chetwoot Lake, Tourmaline Peak, and Crawford Lake on a trip that was so memorable that I took several friends back a couple of weeks later for a dayhike to Big Snow.
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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Big Snow Mountain via Hardscrabble Lakes - 5/20/06  
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