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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostSun Mar 22, 2020 9:14 pm 
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Ozzy, Trevin, and I teamed up for a planned ascent on Boulder Ridge in the Olympic Mountains.  Spoiler alert, that didn't happen.  Trevin and I drove up together and planned on meeting Ozzy at the trailhead at 4:30.  We had a contingency in case of snow on the road in and in case someone got stuck that if the other party didn't arrive at the TH as planned by 5:00, we'd head back to check.  There were a few patches of snow on the drive in, some fairly deep which gave me pause but my Outback made it ok.  The trailhead was still under ~7" of snow.  Trevin and I arrived around 4:15. 4:30 came and went with no sign of Ozzy so we decided to head back around 4:45.  My Outback got stuck in the snow at the trailhead for about 3-4 minutes before I got it out.  Ozzy had pulled over at an area of deep snow his WRX couldn't make it through.  We picked him up and on the way back I pulled over short of the trailhead, not wanting to risk getting stuck again.  This would add about .4 miles to the start of the trip.  By 5:30 we were finally under way.

It's hard to take pictures of moving hikers in the dark
It's hard to take pictures of moving hikers in the dark
Turret
Turret
Iron
Iron
Sunrise
Sunrise
Views are getting good!
Views are getting good!
Still a lot of snow up here
Still a lot of snow up here
Just above Camp Mystery
Just above Camp Mystery
Ozzy, blazing the trail
Ozzy, blazing the trail

The trail was snow free for the first 10-15 mintues but quickly turned to hard packed snow.  There were tracks from previous hikers which was nice.  We hiked up by headlamp for a couple hours until dawn broke and we started reaching some clearings and got some views which added to our stoke.  Shortly after that the previous tracks in the snow ended.  We were stuck breaking trail from then on.  Snow conditions were variable and changed every few minutes from nice bootable crust, to frozen solid crust, then patches of thigh deep powder mixed in.  Eventually powder was the theme and we switched to snowshoes.  The last mile to Marmot Pass was very slow going.  I think it took us something like 4 hours to reach Marmot Pass.  With the slow pace and the anticipation of being in avy terrain as temperatures warmed if we continued on to Boulder Ridge, we decided to switch objectives and climb Buckhorn.  We had all been up there before, but we could see the ridge to the summit was largely melted out making it a nice plan B.

Meadow just below Marmot Pass
Meadow just below Marmot Pass
Marmot Pass
Marmot Pass
Marmot Pass sign
Marmot Pass sign
Mystery to Deception, feels good to have climbed them all
Mystery to Deception, feels good to have climbed them all
Gray Wolf Ridge
Gray Wolf Ridge
Deception
Deception
Ozzy taking in the views on Marmot Pass
Ozzy taking in the views on Marmot Pass

After a brief break at Marmot Pass we headed up towards Buckhorn.  After gaining a couple hundred feet we reached bare ground and took our snowshoes off and continued on choss.  The views really started to open up, especially out towards Constance.  More distant peaks like Stone and Skokomish, and Mount Anderson became visible.  WOW!  It had been well over a decade since I had been up Buckhorn and it was nice to be back.  In summer this is quite a popular peak, but today we had it all to ourselves!  We chilled on the summit for maybe 45 minutes taking in the views.  Ozzy let out a shout from the summit, stoked to be on top of a mountain on such a beautiful day.  Five seconds later we were shocked to hear the shout echo off of Buckhorn's NE peak and Iron.  I've never heard an echo with such a long delay, so of course we had to repeat it a couple times.  After we finished with lunch we packed up and headed down.

Views opening up
Views opening up
Ozzy climbing the ridge
Ozzy climbing the ridge
The boys climbing Buckhorn
The boys climbing Buckhorn
Trevin admiring the Constance area
Trevin admiring the Constance area
A couple guys...
A couple guys...
...telling tales...
...telling tales...
Trevin scoping out the summit
Trevin scoping out the summit
Buckhorn
Buckhorn
These mountains are incredible
These mountains are incredible
Summit block
Summit block
Ozzy passing the Buckhorn Gorilla
Ozzy passing the Buckhorn Gorilla
Hard to beat this
Hard to beat this
Nearing the summit
Nearing the summit
Constance group
Constance group
Baker and Townsend
Baker and Townsend
Buckhorn summit views
Buckhorn summit views
Stone and Skokomish
Stone and Skokomish

We decided to head straight down the SE slopes of Buckhorn, starting from the false summit which lies SW to Buckhorn.  The snow was really soft now which made for great plunge stepping and later some glissading and standing glissading.  The snow wasn't continuous either and the terrain was cliffy.  We had to pick our line carefully and had to back track a couple times.  The parts without snow were delightfully chossy and provided heavenly scree skiing, arguable more enjoyable than the snow glissading.  Eventually we found our tracks in the snow somewhere east of Camp Mystery and began our way back to the car.  We passed a few groups of maybe not totally prepared for the conditions hikers on the way back.  We made it back about 3pm.

Descending from Buckhorn
Descending from Buckhorn
"My buddy asked me to go stand on this rock, I guess I should do something." - Trevin (probably)
"My buddy asked me to go stand on this rock, I guess I should do something." - Trevin (probably)
Do we have to leave?
Do we have to leave?
Descending off the saddle
Descending off the saddle
Trevin on one of the gnarlier melted sections
Trevin on one of the gnarlier melted sections
Ozzy starting his glissade
Ozzy starting his glissade
The joy of glissading
The joy of glissading
That was fun
That was fun
Almost back to the trail
Almost back to the trail
Roller balls
Roller balls
Worthington
Worthington
Descent
Descent
Big Quilcene River
Big Quilcene River

9:30 c2c with ~14 miles and gain I think in the mid to high 4000s.  Killer day in the mountains with a couple great guys!
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Hesman
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PostMon Mar 23, 2020 7:38 am 
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Nice!

I haven’t been there in quite some time. Stopped going after the area started to get loved to death by too many people. Guess I will have to remember the good old days when there were few people visiting Marmot Pass and Buckhorn.

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You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss
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RodF
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PostMon Mar 23, 2020 8:18 am 
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Thanks for sharing the fabulous views!

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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reststep
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PostMon Mar 23, 2020 12:40 pm 
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Thanks for the report and beautiful pictures from one of my favorite areas.

If I had known you were breaking trail I might have headed up that way.

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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raising3hikers
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PostMon Mar 23, 2020 7:50 pm 
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Thanks for the TR, good to know that the road is mostly drivable. Nice pics as usual

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Eric Eames
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puzzlr
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PostMon Mar 23, 2020 8:23 pm 
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Way to after it during this strange period in our history. Being outdoors doing things we love helps keep things in perspective.

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Mid Fork Rocksflickr
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ozzy
The hard way



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PostMon Mar 23, 2020 10:26 pm 
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Awesome TR Aaron thanks for the write-up! Man it sure was a blast gettin out with yall for a long overdue outting! rocker.gif  Thanks for coming back to pick my sorry ass up! dizzy.gif  This was my first snowshoe and it was a killer day! Another sweet day to be alive, cheers boys and thanks for the trail breaking too! cheers.gif  Aaron covered it all so here are some of my pics.


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Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer. -Arnold
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awilsondc
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PostWed Mar 25, 2020 7:29 pm 
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Thanks for the photos Ozzy!  And nice bagging a peak with ya.  rocker.gif

Hesman wrote:
I haven’t been there in quite some time. Stopped going after the area started to get loved to death by too many people.

Same here.  It was really nice up there this time, snow hides the scars on the landscape very well.  I can't believe how much of a trail there was up to Buckhorn.  I don't remember it being that well defined last time I was up there.
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Hesman
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PostThu Mar 26, 2020 8:13 am 
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I climbed Buckhorn in 2008 and remember a defined path then that left the official trail. I can only imagine that it is even more defined 12 years later.

When I climbed Buckhorn in the 1980’s there was no hiker made path to the summit once you left the official trail and we usually took a path of least resistance to get to the top. There was even a Forest Service summit register back then too.

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You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss
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Nancyann
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PostThu Mar 26, 2020 11:50 am 
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Gorgeous pictures, especially fun to see the glissading action photos, what a great day you guys had!
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