I headed out to the Mtn Loop highway this morning for a safe peak to climb. After such a cold February, I was eager to check out the snow conditions above 3-4000'.
I parked at the pullout just past Red Bridge and snowshoed down the gated old road bed for 1.25 miles. I found another older road bed that many trees now growing on it but the 2' of snow made it a bit easier. After a couple switchbacks, I headed straight uphill trying to follow the easiest contours to the Eastern ridge.
The snow was great for the bottom half but it changed dramatically on the upper. The easiest snowshoeing I had was actually in a couple of the open areas, probably because of the sun over the past several days created a firm layer on top. The worst areas were the spots that probably haven't seen any sun in a very long time. Deep, steep, sugary snow in the upper shaded areas slowed things down a lot. It was many of the 2 steps up and many other steps to maintain those little steps. Several times sinking into my thighs with snowshoes on.
I made it to the East ridge of Wiley and things mellowed out a bit. I stayed North of a couple steep, rocky areas and soon gained the ridge again to make it to the treed summit. Normally, I wouldn't go for a treed summit with a sunny forecast but I was just being cautious. I did see a small area with a view to the North that had some pretty nice mountain views.
3Fingers, Bear and Liberty Mtn
I used my axe on a few of the steeper sections on the way down. I also enjoyed several of the big old growth firs along the way.
It was a nice quick trip about an hour from home for a new summit destination
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