Big Snow Mt. (Alpine Lakes Wilderness) via Hardscrabble Lakes.
Long day to Big Snow Mountain in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
The route includes mountain biking 7 miles up the closed road starting at Dingford Creek trailhead.
Hiking up bootpath to Lower and Upper Hardscrabble Lakes.
Some steep bushwacking beyond Upper Hardscrabble Lakes.
Snow climb to the notch above Upper Hardscrabble Lakes. Long snow walk from the notch to the summit block of Big Snow Mt. The final summit block was easy class 2/3 rocks.
It is a long route but no technical sections, difficult scrambles or overly steep sections.
Used microspikes on the snow for much of the route above Upper Hardscrabble Lake. We did not bring nor did we wish we had our ice axe. The snow is steep up to the notch above the Upper Lake.
Great views from the summit of Big Snow Mountain includes numerous alpine lakes. Lots of snow remains above 5600 feet.
The mosquitoes are out in force near the Hardscrabble Lakes.
The final 7 miles being downhill on mountain bikes makes this a doable (yet long) day trip.
Total car-to-car time was 11:20 hours.
Total miles was 23.5 (14 on bike).
We saw no one else on the route.
Riverside Laker - The road that you bike on is ten times better than that road you drive in on. There was even a regular passenger van way up that road (not sure how they got past the locked gate at Dingford Creek). The seven mile bike ride is mostly uphill so slow going. But lots of coasting (and braking) on the way back down to the car.
It would help to have suspension to smooth out the bumps from rocks. We only pushed the bikes a few times: across a couple rocky sections and a water crossing.
It would help to have suspension to smooth out the bumps from rocks.
Oh yeah. You can get going fast on that road. Even with front suspension I felt like my few remaining brain cells were going to rattle loose on the way down. And that was a few years ago. (They have since rattled loose, but for other reasons.)
Not sure how they got past the locked gate at Dingford Creek
A group of crystal miners and persons associated with Goldmyer Hot Springs have a key to the gate. They both own property beyond the gate and pay a substantial easement to the USFS each year for access.
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