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ScrambledLeggs
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Joined: 20 Dec 2013
Posts: 4 | TRs
Location: Gold Bar, WA
ScrambledLeggs
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PostTue Jan 07, 2014 6:08 pm 
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My decision to take it easy on New Years Eve made for a superb beginning to 2014.  I didn't wake as early as I had planned, but felt charged and motivated once my gear was packed and I was on the road.  I observed a thin morning cloud cover with plenty of sun breaks as I turned off SR-30 at Swede Heaven Road, then continued cruising up FS-18.  I had my heart set on making it the entire 12 miles to the "New" Round Mountain trailhead in my little 2wd pick-up, but began having doubts when the snow showed up near milepost 6.  Things got real after another couple of miles and I opted to put on the chains and hopefully push to within shooting distance of the trailhead.  Without 4wd, the road proved impassable beyond the junction for FS-1855 at milepost 10.5, 3,200'.  Still 1.5 miles from the trailhead with the clock showing noon, I weighed the choice to make an attempt for the summit, realizing that I'd most likely be descending in the pitch dark due to a new moon.

On I went, trudging down the crunchy 4X4 ruts.  At Deer Creek Pass I found FS-1850 to the left (SSW) and continued another .2 miles to the trailhead at 3,500', marked by a large fir tree on the west side of the road.  I gained some valuable daylight by traveling swiftly on top of the snow and following the flags and blazes up through the forest to Coney Pass at 4,000'.  I could not find any flags on the other side of the first avalanche slope, so I continued gradually ascending due NW.  I popped out of the tree line underneath some cliffs where I grabbed my axe and continued traversing steep slopes westward, eventually finding the mouth of the basin.  I surveyed that the east side of the basin looked the most forgiving so I made for the ridge just east of the summit.  At about 5,000' I made a western traverse over the open slopes until I was directly south of the summit.  I worked hard for the last 300' and finally gained the summit with great relief.  I hung out for a while and watched the sun dip behind the Olympics.  My descent back down the basin was a blast, with many and long butt glissades.  By the time I reached the tree line again it was dusk.  My headlamp helped me follow my tracks back through the forest and down to the trailhead.  By the time I made FS-18 again, it was incredibly dark.  Just as I reached the "I've had it!" point, a burley jeep came wheeling up behind me.  I put out my thumb and the couple inside stopped, allowing me to jump on their bumper for the rest of the distance to my truck.  It was 6pm by then, giving me a strenuous 6 hour round trip.

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Goats Know
Gravity's Bitch



Joined: 29 Aug 2007
Posts: 190 | TRs

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Gravity's Bitch
PostWed Jan 08, 2014 12:46 pm 
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Sounds like a fun solo outing!  Thanks for the TR. up.gif

We tried the winter route on the other side of Round on Sunday 01/05, but came up short about 500 feet from the top.  Partner is coming off a knee injury and the steep slick forest approach (no snow on lower part) was not a good route choice for his first time back out after six months.  My fault.

Otherwise up higher the snow was in good shape for climbing (used crampons, but no snowshoes needed), unfortunate to have to turn around.

Sounds like the crux of the route you took might be reaching the trailhead in winter, but if that goes the rest is reasonable.  Might try it from that side next time.

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Here on this mountaintop...Woahoho...I got some wild, wild life  - Talking Heads
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Location: Inexorable descent
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Brutally Handsome
PostWed Jan 08, 2014 9:35 pm 
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Cool story.  up.gif
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6772 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
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Mid Fork Rocks
PostThu Jan 09, 2014 5:09 am 
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Good work getting this in during the some of the shortest days of the year.

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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Round Mountain, January 2014
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