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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
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Location: Stuck in the middle
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Mid Fork Rocks
PostSat Feb 29, 2020 9:33 pm 
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The north ridge of Mailbox Peak has been on my radar for a long time. With a long closure of the Middle Fork road during the 2019/2020 winter I dug deeper into my potential hike list for routes in the lower valley. There are not a lot of reports about this route so I didn't know exactly what to expect, but Brian had just done it a couple weeks earlier. Snow conditions had changed since then but we hoped for the best. Turns out it's a really nice route with much less brush than I expected. As others like Gabriel have mentioned there is a section above 4000' with a lot of small trees that is the brushiest part of the route. Lower down there are lots of downed trees to step over but it's not too bad. The last bit before the top is open with wide views and it's fun to approach this popular peak from an unusual direction.

Starting up the north ridge just above the Granite Creek road/trail. The forest flloor was open under second growth hemlocks for the next 1500'.
Starting up the north ridge just above the Granite Creek road/trail. The forest flloor was open under second growth hemlocks for the next 1500'.
Someone had left flags along the lower part but not in places that made much sense. Who would want to fight through this blowdown?
Someone had left flags along the lower part but not in places that made much sense. Who would want to fight through this blowdown?
Old logging road crossing at 1800'
Old logging road crossing at 1800'
More flagging, again in weird spots. We didn't see any more flagging once we crossed the second logging road at 2900'
More flagging, again in weird spots. We didn't see any more flagging once we crossed the second logging road at 2900'
Someplaces there were a lot of blown down trees to step over
Someplaces there were a lot of blown down trees to step over
At 2200' there is a rock outcrop with a great view of the Granite Creek valley
At 2200' there is a rock outcrop with a great view of the Granite Creek valley
At 2200' there is a rock outcrop with a great view of the Granite Creek valley
At 2200' there is a rock outcrop with a great view of the Granite Creek valley
Another unusual climbing aid -- an eye hook screwed into a big log to act as a handle.
Another unusual climbing aid -- an eye hook screwed into a big log to act as a handle.
Continuing up, looking to get to the higher logging road
Continuing up, looking to get to the higher logging road
Small shack flattened under four trees that scored a direct hit when they came down.
Small shack flattened under four trees that scored a direct hit when they came down.
At 3200' the trees are getting at little smaller but firm snow makes for good footing and covers the brush
At 3200' the trees are getting at little smaller but firm snow makes for good footing and covers the brush
From 4000' to 4400' the trees are young and crowded. This was the brushiest segment of the whole route.
From 4000' to 4400' the trees are young and crowded. This was the brushiest segment of the whole route.
Big views here at 4400' with the beginning of snow covered meadows
Big views here at 4400' with the beginning of snow covered meadows
A first look at the summit. We could spot people moving around up there.
A first look at the summit. We could spot people moving around up there.
Climbing directly into the sun
Climbing directly into the sun
Bryan below. This is one of the steepest parts of the entire ridge.
Bryan below. This is one of the steepest parts of the entire ridge.
Only 400' to go
Only 400' to go
The isolated big trees on the ridge just below the summit are visible from surrounding roads
The isolated big trees on the ridge just below the summit are visible from surrounding roads
Panorama from 300' below the summit. Dirtybox at left, Mailbox at right
Panorama from 300' below the summit. Dirtybox at left, Mailbox at right
The final push
The final push
Steep snow just below the summit
Steep snow just below the summit
Final section of the ridge up to the top. Zorro Peak, the big "Z" and Russian Butte in the middle.
Final section of the ridge up to the top. Zorro Peak, the big "Z" and Russian Butte in the middle.

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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RichP
here and there



Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 4812 | TRs
Location: Idyho
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here and there
PostSat Feb 29, 2020 10:42 pm 
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Very cool you could finally get this done. It looks like your snowshoes stayed on the packs the entire hike.
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PostSat Feb 29, 2020 11:24 pm 
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solitude on an otherwise crazy mountain.
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nordique
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PostSun Mar 01, 2020 3:20 pm 
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Great report, great photos, thanks!
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Malachai Constant
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PostSun Mar 01, 2020 5:32 pm 
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Wow lot different from when we rode mountain bikes up there in the 90s which was different from a friend who used to dive up to go shooting. hockeygrin.gif

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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NowIFly
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PostSun Mar 01, 2020 6:53 pm 
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That was a fun day, Monty! You rocked this report! A mountain, and line, that I'm very fond of. Now to add the original Granite Creek Rd. Trial from the MB TH, to eliminate the shuttle. Will make an outstanding loop. :-)
Summiteers after an ascent of the North Ridge of Mailbox Peak
Summiteers after an ascent of the North Ridge of Mailbox Peak
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Type E
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PostFri Mar 06, 2020 3:34 pm 
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Nice work!

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mosey
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PostFri Mar 13, 2020 1:54 pm 
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Now you just need to do it in summer to find the fire hydrant 9/11 memorial. Neat route, I've gone up the backside via Horseshoe Mines Rd but never schwacked that intermediate 1200'. The rock outcropping is a neat destination. There's all kinds of trash, eh herm, historic relics, all over the backside of Mailbox. I got a kick out of the climbing anchor in a log.
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RichP
here and there



Joined: 13 Jul 2006
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here and there
PostFri Mar 13, 2020 2:57 pm 
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mosey wrote:
There's all kinds of trash, eh herm, historic relics, all over the backside of Mailbox.

I bet puzzlr has cleaned quite a bit of that up. He was and still may be on self-appointed janitorial duties on Mailbox.
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6621 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
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Mid Fork Rocks
PostFri Mar 13, 2020 5:34 pm 
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mosey wrote:
Now you just need to do it in summer to find the fire hydrant 9/11 memorial.

Done that! One day a few years ago I searched all over the slopes below the summit area and gathered the artifacts into an area below the summit on the north side. You can find it if you look, but it's not obvious. That fire hydrant was really heavy and I had trouble dragging it out of the thick brush it had come to rest in when someone threw it off the summit. It was damaged in the process.

Mailbox Museum
Mailbox Museum

RichP wrote:
He was and still may be on self-appointed janitorial duties on Mailbox.

I only get up Mailbox a few times a year now, but there are others that climb it almost weekly and do a good job of keeping the summit area and the mailbox relatively clean. I think a lot of the people posting on WH&C also recognize the need for a "take something, leave something" process to keep the amount of junk down.

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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