| Hoosier Ridge - West Ridge
Hoosier Ridge (13,352')
9.0 miles, 2,530' gain
Trailhead: Hoosier Pass
This trip came about by accident, since the original plan was to park at the winter trailhead for Boreas Pass and backpack up to the Pass, set up camp and climb Madonna Dome - and then on Sunday climb Bald Mountain and backpack out. However, after getting to the trailhead I noticed a sign that read "No Overnight -----." Not sure what the bottom line read since it was buried in a large mound of snow, so I thought overnight parking wasn‘t allowed. I decided to try to do Mount Guyot instead, but I had problems finding the road up French Creek. So as a last resort I settled on doing Hoosier Ridge.
After parking at the trailhead and getting ready we did a very short backpack, less than 1 mile up from the pass to treeline at around 11,800 feet, set up camp and took a nice nap since it was very early still. We had to wear our snowshoes to get to camp, but never used them for the remainder of the hike. We took a short stroll up to Point 12,814 to stretch our legs and see what we were in for on the next day. I was anxious to get back to camp, a hot meal, and Susan‘s boot-tea.
Susan's boot-tea - what did you think I was talking about?
After dinner we crashed for the night with the expectation of starting early. Due to the great excavating of our campsite I had a wonderful night's sleep although the wind did wake me a few times.
Camp at tree line, approximately 11,800 feet
The alarm went off at 5:00 am, time to get up I suppose. After a hot breakfast we dressed in three layers, smeared our faces with petroleum jelly to guard against frostbite, then covered up in balaclavas, goggles, neck gaiters, hats, and double-layers of gloves, packed up our ten essentials including down jackets (just in case), and departed at 6:35 am. It was snowing, windy, cold, and the visibility was non-existent.
Susan heading on up toward Point 12,814
Using land marks was out of the question, and we didn't have a map for this area, since we hadn't planned on climbing this peak. We had to get pretty creative with our route finding, basically walking out to the edges of ridges to see where we were here and there, and other times just standing still and waiting for glimpses of ridgelines and cairns, as the mist thickened and then dispersed. The morning was particularly frosty.
After reaching the top of Point 12,814 it became especially difficult to know where to go due to the low visibility and snow, but every once in a while we would find a cairn along the way indicating that we were at least somewhere, just not sure where. Just as the ridge started to turn north at Point 12,953 we were finally treated to some views of the ridge, but not much else .
Part of the ridge around Point 12,953
In an attempt to shave off some elevation we skirted one of the numerous bumps on the ridge, however that was a bad idea since we ended up on slippery, snow-covered talus.
Hiking on slippery snow-covered talus was not exactly pleasant
We decided the rest of the way we would stay on the ridge.
Once we started heading north past Point 13,201 there was a fair amount of snow on the ridge in places and it was very consolidated making it much easier for hiking on than rocks and tundra.
Rolling mounds of snow along ridge
From Point 13,201 it was easy to find the summit (sort of) as I had been up there before, and knew it dropped off sharply on the other side, and was very talus-covered. We just kept hiking... and hiking... and hiking until we finally arrived on the summit - with of course no views at 10:52 am. Congrats Susan!!
Yup, it's a summit
Me on summit, too
After taking pictures and looking for a register (we never did find it) we sat down on the north side of the summit area to get out of the bitter wind and enjoy yet another wonderful day in the mountains over sandwiches and hot chocolate. Thanks for sharing the chocolate Susan - it was great!! While we waited the views started to clear just enough to see Red Mountain.
Red Mountain C (13,229')
We thought about doing it originally with Hoosier Ridge, but due to the weather and time we decided to save that for another day. We started heading back at 11:18 am since we knew we still had a long ways to go to get back to Hoosier Pass.
The trip back went uneventfully and after we arrived near Point 13,201 the weather finally started to clear enough that we could see where we were going, and were rewarded with awesome views of snowy peaks everywhere and - more importantly - what we had just hiked.
A long ways to go still, looking toward Point 12,814 from near Point 13,201
It was still really windy, but I think I heard Susan yell something about "freaking March of the freaking Penguins." Except I don't think she said "freaking."
Mount Silverheels (13,822') still socked in
Ahh, back at camp at last with many wonderful snow covered peaks
We arrived back at camp at 2:50 pm and after tearing down camp and heading out we arrived back at Hoosier Pass for the short drive back. Congrats on the peak susanjoypaul, and I look forward to hiking with you again. It sure was a wonderful trip.
By the way, I think that sign at Boreas Pass actually said "No Overnight Camping."
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):