I managed to get out Sunday with a friend and climb Mt. Mastiff & Mt. Howard off of Hwy 2. We came from Merritt Lake and went up the SE ridge of Mastiff, which took us a long time. It is sheer on the west side and deep moats and steep rock make the east side difficult. Once up Mastiff, we headed over to Howard. The south side of the summit was surprisingly free of snow. We decided to go back by dropping to Crescent Lake and loop back to Merritt Lake to avoid the ridge on Mastiff. The route out from Crescent Lake also led to some routefinding problems which caused some frustration. 5.5 hours up Mastiff, 1 hour over to Howard, 5 hours down, about 5400' gain. Solid snow from about 4000' but snowshoes never came off the packs.
I haven't done that loop yet though I have been all around it. I was going to do it with my daughter several years ago, but once on the knife edge section above Merritt she wasn't feeling the joy, so we stopped. Several hiking partners have done it via Lost Lake, just walked up the side in the snow. I'll get around to it at some point, the mountains are so predominant in that area especiallly with the snow.
-------------- I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent_Gandhi
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