March 2008 - Thomas Cole

Although I have not made much progress this year on my Winter 35, I had one last weekend to climb.

Drove up Friday evening, arrived about 10 PM.  There was a house at the end of the road with lights on, so I backtraced a bit until I found a secluded spot to park.

I brought Danny, a newly-adopted Border Collie, who had been with us just a week.  He had apparently never slept in the car, and paced  back and forth for a couple of hours before settling down to sleep.

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In morning, we found two inches of fresh snow had fallen, but it was relatively warm -- probably in the high 30s.  We drove up to the trailhead and set off in bare boots.

On the trail, snow was never more than a couple feet deep.  There was a few inches of fresh snow over an icy base.  

We arrived at peak in 3 hours, returned in 2 1/2.

Trail Under Fresh Snow


The peak was socked in with thick clouds, so nothing was visible.  We were in clouds all the way up and most of the way down as well.  The sky was visible only in the last few minutes of the hike.

Conditions last 1/2 mile were very icy under the snow.  I fell on my face a few times, then put on Microspikes.  I made it about 50 feet with these, before landing on my face a couple more times.  This time I changed into crampons and got relatively good traction on the ice under the snow.  As it turned out, this was about 1/3 mile from the peak, but I would not have made it without the crampons, even if I had been willing to walk on handls and knees.

The fresh snow on everything meant no sign of the trail was visible at any point during the hike up.  It was a lot easier returning, because we had did not have to do any route finding.  The branches were heavy with snow, but trail was pretty well clear of downed trees and brush.

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Near Thomas Cole Peak


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We met another hiker with dog going up while we were descending.  I was surprised to see anyone else on the trail, but I guess he knew about us from the tracks.

Tipp was pretty good going up, got less enthusiastic as we neared peak.  He also was having trouble with his footing.  But he pulled annoyingly on the way down.


Danny's First Hike

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