This one is located up the Taylor River drainage just west of Marten Lake, referenced as Point 5339 on your favorite quad. Drive the infamous MFK road to the bridge over the Taylor then head straight along the Taylor River to roadís end and a closed gate (and another bridge across the Taylor), elevation 1195 ft!
Craig and I had a tremendously unpleasant walk along the Quartz Creek road last June, so this year we did a bit of thinking and brought mountain bikes to break up a bit of the uphill monotony, but mainly in anticipation of a blistering kamikaze speed descent! We set off at a gradual pace with full packs and worked our way up the road to about 1900-ft. Here the road steepened just enough to kick us off the bikes; yet, we continued to push on up with bike in hand to 2350-ft where we left the Quartz Creek road for a less distinct spur to the right and heading uphill. We walked the bikes to the end of the first leg and stashed them here for the rest of the day. Lightened the packs as much as possible and headed out on foot up the road. We must have encountered our first consistent snow stretches at 2500-2600 ft. We managed to walk a few switchbacks of the road to about 3400 ft where the road fades altogether in the snow. From here we left the road and followed the obvious drainage to the NE and gradually trended into a traverse of the rocky ridge running N/S just to the south of Rooster Mtn. We crested the ridge just as it turns to the NW at about 4450 ft. The ridge was slightly corniced, but nothing that wasnít easy to avoid. The way wasnít terribly steep, just your typical 6-inch slush fest, we used axes but never needed snowshoes or crampons. We walked NW along the ridge top then NE to the summit. Somewhere around 4800 ft I started feeling the effects of not having hiked but once in the last 5 months, I wanted to rest frequently, but I forced myself upward. I was grateful for the steps Craig kicked in that last 500-ft or so. The last 20-30 vertical feet are more or less up a large rock outcropping. Rumor has it, itís a class 3 summit block, donít know if Iíd go that far, but itís definitely not a walk-up type summit. Weíd had pretty respectable weather all day (no rain!), but as soon as we had scrambled to the top the clouds moved in (typical M FK stuff!) and did a darn good job of obscuring most of the views. Occasional glimpses of Marten and Mowitch Lakes and of course Garfield and Treen among others. One of the more interesting views was looking down on the confluence of the M FK Snoqualmie and Taylor Rivers from 4000 ft up.
A few thousand feet of glissading and the sporadic brush bash brought us back to the bikes in no time. As we had hoped, the ride back to the valley bottom was well worth the sweat of pushing the bikes up that last 500-ft of road. As I sped back to the truck, solely focused on the sharp granite rocks just in front of my tire, I thought of what would happen if I got a flat going this fast. I got that flat five seconds later. Luckily I kept the bike under control before being ejected off the seat and impaling myself with my axe or one of my ski poles, whew!! Even better, Craig had an extra tube and was able to get it mounted onto the rim in no time. We pedaled the remaining section of road in just a few minutes, making it back to the truck around 6 PM. For the day we stomped out about 4200 ft of gain and 9.5 miles. Awesome trip, and as usual, with great company!
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