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Author Topic: January 27, 2008 - Humpback Mountain  (Read 1977 times)
Double E
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January 27, 2008 - Humpback Mountain
« on: 01/28/08, 12:29 PM »

VF hiked/skied:  3100'
Weather:  mostly cloudy, but with some sun breaks, and a few short snow showers
Snow:  9" of dry powdery goodness!!


Went up there yesterday with Paul K ("weaver").  Didn’t feel like driving too far, what with the forecast for sea-level snow, and I figured I wanted to try skiing Humpback eventually, so this was the time! 

On the way up there, we watched a nasty accident happen in front of us on I-90, around exit 42; guy was probably trying to change lanes too fast, then spun out and hit the guardrail, then bounced back and smashed up one other car.  Luckily we were able to avoid the mess.
 
I'd been sort of wondering why there was only one TR to be found on TAY re. Humpback.. But about half-way thru the initial road section, it occurred to me why (duh) … that initial 3.5 miles of road just goes onn... and onnn .... and onnnn…  oh well, it was what it was.

Burgdorfer says to leave the road right where it gets close to the creek.  But he must have wrote that many years ago when the trees were smaller, cause at that point the trees are about 40' tall and suuuper thick.  About a 1/4 mile *before* that point, there had been a bit of a clearing where we considered going up, but the slide alder looked too thick; on second thoughts (for future reference in case you go), that's probably the best bet; only the first 200' vf would have involved much brush, and beyond that probably wasn't too bad. 

Right before the road crosses the creek there's an old skidder type track which veers off to the left and keeps following the creek (which might be what Burgdorfer meant, who knows).  Anyway so we took that and after a short distance it sort of peters out and puts you onto a nice open slope with just patchy slide alder. 

About about 2/3 way up that slope, before the route went back into woods, we dug a quick pit to look at the snow layers.  Aspect was WSW; slope angle 28; elevation 3500';  snow depth 195 cm.  Crude, dual-newby analysis of snow layers:   there were about 9" of new, dry powder on top.  Below that was a crust of some kind, about 1" thick; below that was another 8-9 inches of slightly-more-consolidated stuff; allowed one-finger pokes.  Below that (from about 18" to 36" depth) was rock hard; practically impenetrable; wouldn't allow so much as one finger.  And below that for another foot was about the same as the 8-9" mentioned earlier.   Did some shovel tap tests, but with back cut out with shovel, not saw, so results probably not too report-worthy…  All told though, our joint assessment was that the conditions, while not ideal, were safe enough to keep going. 

Hiked up another 100 vf and we were in the trees.  After negotiating some tricky (thick, smaller) trees at first, it eventually opened up into nice, widely spaced old growth; sort of reminded me of Yodelin but not quite as steep.  After a few hundred feet of climbing thru that, we ended up on a wide open slope, which we carefully picked our way up through.  Didn't dig a pit on that slope (probably shoulda) but on the way up I kept trying to set of small sluffs with my downhill ski and couldn't, so things looked pretty good. 

Eventually made it to the summit ridge.  And though the alti said we were only 300 vf from the summit, the map showed that as being at least a half mile if not more; and since we were at the turn-around time we'd set, we decided to peel the skins off and head down.  Cheesy  Cool Had a sweet powdery run on that one slope, followed by Yodelin-ish tree slalom, followed by annoyingly-tight tree slallom, followed by another nice powdery open slope, followed by a skin-track-luge descent down the road.

No pics, unfortunately.  Took a few, but they turned out totally black.  My camera, after giving over four years of faithful foolproof service, is starting to falter in cold/wet conditions for some reason.  Angry

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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: January 27, 2008 - Humpback Mountain
« Reply #1 on: 01/28/08, 12:54 PM »

If you headed up the W/SW spine of Humpback, there was (almost exactly a year ago) a sparsely flagged trail through the thicker trees, about 4' above the snow surface (orange or pink, methinks) in last year's snowpack right along the spine. If I understand you correctly, none of the road that parallels the river/I-90 was driveable? Nifty line for snowshoers too.

Edit: Following the "trail" was still thrashy, but papably better than not following it.
« Last Edit: 01/28/08, 01:05 PM by trumpetsailor » Logged

RonL
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Re: January 27, 2008 - Humpback Mountain
« Reply #2 on: 01/28/08, 01:11 PM »

Are the holes in the lower boulder fields pretty filled in by now?
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Double E
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Re: January 27, 2008 - Humpback Mountain
« Reply #3 on: 01/28/08, 01:14 PM »

Huh.. didn't see that trail, TS.  We were following an 3- or 4-day old skin track, off and on, but didn't see any flagging.

The road was driveable, but not by my Honda CRV.  On the way in, in the morning, we saw two mega-SUVs driving out.  With the first one, I waved him down to warn him that there was a car parked blocking the exit; he grinned and said "well I guess I'll just have to winch him outta the way".  I was parked in the start of the Annette Lake TH road, which had plenty of boot/slowshoe tracks but no car tracks.  The monster trucks' tracks went to about 1/4 mile past the railroad bridge, where I guess it got too deep for 'em.


Ron:  yeah, musta been; dont remember any holes like that.
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PeterfromLFP
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Re: January 27, 2008 - Humpback Mountain
« Reply #4 on: 01/28/08, 07:10 PM »

Thanks for the TR.  I went up there about 2 weeks ago.  I took that same ?trail? that left from the road right before the creek.  I only went up to about where you dug your pit and turned around after getting discouraged by those thick trees.  I'd agree and think that one of those first clearings might have been better. 

Glad you didn't have any car trouble either.  I parked right at the T South of the freeway and got broken into... 
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