|Peak:||Mt. Audubon (13er)|
|Date of Info:||12/22/2019|
From Brainard Gateway the road and snowshoe trails are nicely packed. The trail starting at the Mitchell Lake Trailhead up to treeline is also packed up to near treeline. From near treeline it's so windy that the tracks of any previous climbers were completely snowed over, and mine were lost by the time I descended. I stashed my snowshoes near the flats that make up the middle bulk of the mountain; they may have been useful past that point but were by no means necessary. The large snowfields that stripe the mountain are a mix of good, supportive snow and knee-to-waist deep punch crust. I started going directly up the east slopes and the poor snow consistency pushed me north into drier terrain. I climbed Mount Notabon before crossing over the saddle and up Mount Audubon since it was drier. The vast majority of the ascent from the flats can be done on tundra or rock hopping through the snowfields. There was only a tiny amount of mandatory time on snow, though there was a lot more snow closer to the summit. Descending the east slopes directly was a little tedious with the amount of poor quality snow. As mentioned by the time I returned to my snowshoes my tracks down to treeline had all but disappeared, so be aware of potential route finding challenges in the dark or a whiteout. Snowshoes were very helpful up through treeline, and I carried but did not use an ice axe and microspikes.