Happy hour start, probably didn't get going from TH until about 6:15. Tinkham Road from McClellan going East is sure a piece of ummmm work, many miles of HUGE nasty potholes on what should ostensibly be a well used main road, but I went that way to get to Hansen Ck Rd to make sure not to get stuck in traffic jams. More on that later ...
Hansen road to mining gate in decent shape. I had rather inconveniently forgotten what the primary 'sporting' usages of the Hansen Creek area were, so my dreams of a peaceful hike were ummm shot full of holes, even though I had the hike to myself. Fortunately the gunfire was soon drowned out by freeway noise ... The trail is more obvious than ever, even the start (has its own little erosion fan sticking out onto the road) and more little trees taken out higher up so you don't get as scratched up as you used to on the lower part. Not that much new blowdown. I brought snowshoes and axe since could see that summit was still in snow. Snow however didn't really start being anything more than patches until perhaps 250 vf below the top, this trail melts out fast. Snowshoes unnecessary but axe quite necessary for the last 75 vertical feet, amazingly steep and on hard snow that is occasionally rotten near rocks and tree wells. Genuine self belay and descend backwards territory on that top part, bring an axe up there for at least the next couple weeks. No one's been up there recently (saw no recent steps in the snow), I tried to punch some solid ones for anyone that might be up there this weekend.
From the top, could see the Mother of All Traffic Jams. The entire hillclimb of I-90 from Asahel Curtis til around the corner, all .... moving .... at ... an .... absolute ..... crawl. My sympathies for any of you that were unfortunate to be sitting in THAT. Looked like some 'smart' people were bypassing that part of the jam on the old Denny road.
Although the climb up was warm to the point of being hot, wind picked up and made it pretty cold up on the summit, so bailed about 8PM. The first few hundred yards down took markedly longer than getting up, what with the snow and awkward boulders but once past that could book on down in plenty of time to beat the twilight.
Silver peak beta (for the slopes I could see above Lake Annette): snow still barely continuous to get to the false summit above the NE basin but no snow at all on about the top 200 vf of Silver. Skiers (& glissaders) better hit that quick! Me, I'm waiting anxiously for the Windy pass road to melt out to get up there that way, skiing Silver NE Basin in the evening has been late spring ritual for the last couple of years.
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