Saturday, November 21, 2015

Miller Peak loop, Teanaway

Miller Peak (6402') sits on the eastern end of the Teanaway, opposite last weekend's trip.

Gavin and I headed up the Miller Peak trail a few hundred yards and then cut straight up to the ridge west of Miller Creek. Our intended route was to traverse that ridge all the way out to County Line ridge and Freedom Peak before traversing back east along County Line to Miller Peak, descending the Miller Peak trail. We traversed a good many bumps, skirted some rocks but eventually cliffed out before Freedom Peak and didn't want to backtrack, drop and traverse to go around, so we headed off toward Miller Peak (which still looked sufficiently far away).

Relevant conditions:
  • We used snowshoes for everything above 5700' and kept them on until probably 4500' on the way down
  • Approximately 10 blowdowns on the Miller Peak trail, a few requiring detours around through brush and a couple duck-unders
  • Starting temperate was 18F; 23F when we finished, though "warm" on the ridges in the sun 

Reaching the ridge proper, above Miller Creek on the west
Traversing the ridge north toward County Line
Traversing to County Line; Gavin's photo
With Rainier, Earl and Stuart
Mt. Stuart and Sherpa Peak

Bobcat tracks
Traversing to County Line; Gavin's photo
On the ridge toward Freedom Peak before turning back; Miller Peak at left
Where we turned around on the ridge to Freedom
Traversing County Line ridge toward Miller Peak
Traversing toward Miller
County Line ridge to Miller Peak
County Line ridge to Miller; Gavin's photo
Miller Peak summit we-fie; Gavin's photo
Thanks Mike and Jared for taking our picture; Miller Peak summit
Descending Miller Peak
Stream fords in 23F air temp...

Monday, November 16, 2015

Yellow Hill-Elbow Peak-Jolly Mountain, Teanaway

The Yellow Hill-Elbow Peak-Jolly Mountain ridge sits at the western edge of the Teanaway. Being a bit further south than the main Teanaway crest and maybe benefiting from an Alpine Lakes rain shadow, it seemed like a good option to get miles in without wading through too much snow.

There are ~five blowdowns in between the TH and Jolly. A dusting of snow covers the majority of the trail from Yellow Hill to point 5850' before Jolly Mountain, and there are a good number of areas with 3-6" of snow; however, route finding is not an issue. The last 1.5 miles to Jolly is consistently 10-12" with windblown drifts of up to 18". Average temperature on the ridge yesterday was ~25F, with a pretty-constant breeze and gusts up to 45+ mph.

Finding a reasonably-fresh wolf track was a huge bonus.

On the ridge between Yellow Hill and Elbow Peak
Heading up Elbow Peak
Climbing up Elbow Peak; fresh snow blowing off the ridge
Elbow Peak summit area, maybe?
Heading toward Jolly Mountain
Heading toward Jolly
Teanaway wolf tracks
Point 5850'+ behind Sir Hikes, approaching Jolly
Deeper snow on Jolly's south slopes
Jolly Mountain summit ridge
Jolly Mountain summit 6443'

Headed home along the ridge; Elbow Peak in the middle, Yellow Hill at left
A few brief views on the way out

Monday, November 2, 2015

Switching gears?

How many more weekends before the waterproof boots and snowshoes need to be dusted off...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ruby Crest Trail, Nevada

Great Basin road trip part three of three: October 21, 2015

“The area around you is of rugged beauty, but fragile in nature…”  
                                                          -Ruby Crest Trail sign in Lamoille Canyon


After bailing out of our second day in Great Basin National Park we headed straight to McDonald's in Ely ("they only have charging outlets in the kids' play area," Ben advises. "I learned that last time I was here.") and then charged on another four hours through the Ruby Mountains to set up a car shuttle before crashing in Elko. 

"Look at it in terrain view," Ben told me. 

Sure enough, a swooping sickle of a canyon that can't look any more congruently U-shaped; the unmistakable work of ice and time has turned Lamoille Canyon into a destination in and of itself. Northeast Nevada, today, hardly seems like the place to be awed by glaciology, but it's just as apparent as the best North Cascades mountain carvings. The entire western side of the Ruby is the same...   


The Ruby Crest Trail runs approximately 37 miles from Road's End in Lamoille Canyon (8800') to Harrison Pass (7300'), with the majority of the trail remaining within the Ruby Mountains Wilderness at an average elevation of 9200'. It feels like a cross between the Pasayten and the Stuart Range/Enchantments; a mix of gentle-sloped summits at nearly 11,000', contrasted with craggy outcroppings and cliffs on sharper mountains with an abundance of relatively-large alpine lakes and streams. 

It was the final adventure day on our road trip and great to be running again after four days of backpacking. Though running for my hypoxic body was definitely not what I'm accustomed to in Washington.

We had spectacular weather on a stellar route; could not have asked for a better ending to our trip. 

Strava file
Lamoille Canyon from a mile up the trail
Lamoille Canyon with Snow Lake Peak (left), from just below Liberty Pass
"Yeah man, this is awesome"
Ruby Mountains Wilderness boundary at Liberty Pass
Descending from Liberty Pass; Liberty Lake and Lake Peak
Castle Lake and Lake Peak
Climbing up Wines Peak, northern Ruby Mountains where we started beyond
Wines Peak north slope; Ben's photo
Marshy areas in the Ruby Valley, from near Wines Peak's summit
Wines Peak summit 10,893'
Leaving the summit of Wines Peak, looking east
Climbing up over the next unnamed 10,700'+ point

Punchy snow running along the Ruby Crest; Ben's photo
Ben descending the same slope
Another glacial carving: Long Canyon; King Peak back right
Pretty superb country
Contouring around King Peak on the east side of the Ruby Crest 
Upper Overland Lake
Overland Lakes
Ben's photo
Switching over to the west side of the crest past Overland Lakes
Ben, with Tipton Peak and Green Mountain
Moon rise over Tipton Peak's south ridge, above South Fork Smith Creek
Rounding Green Mountain and looking down on Harrison Pass in the mid ground, below Pearl Peak
Sunset as we finish up the last three miles...