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My company no longer thought that Columbus Day was an appropriate holiday, so we switched it to Veterans Day a few years ago. A much better reason to celebrate/remember, with the majority of the males in my family having served in one branch or another over the decades on 2 continents. Thankfully this year, the weather was great, and on a Monday. So I took advantage of it by searching out a loop that I have wanted to do with snow for a while. Only a few trip reports on these 2 peaks alone, and none have done the ridge loop. So I set out to see what it was like.
Being a Sunday night, no one was driving on the road by the trailhead, so I got a lovely ~12hr sleep at the base. Once again, no need to get up early in the cold when you have all day in the warm sunshine to complete the hike! So at the post-sunrise hour, I started hiking up the Baldwin Gulch Rd to where it splits off to head up Boulder Mountain. After the split, the road was snowy, and got deep enough to be annoying. Glad I wore my LS Glaciers today, as my feet were submerged below snow until treeline. I followed a couple switchbacks until it became ridiculous. Walking up the ridge isn't that steep and was quite pleasant as I stuck to the left side in the sun.
Above treeline, the wind increased a bit, but wasn't as bad as it was the day previous. Above the mine, there was evidence for a climbers trail that I followed until it petered out again. Just a gradual ridge hike all the way to the summit, with nice wind blasted snowy views.
Arrived on the broad ridge summit and got the camera to eek out a couple pano's with another dying battery I found in my pocket. How my grandfather would be proud! (Pro photographer for Kodak, with a penchant for dying batteries lying around)
The ridge over to Mt Mamma was long and had a few bumps along the way, but otherwise easy. Even found some remnants from previous (paleo?) hikers along the way.
On the summit of Mt Mamma, I take a longer break, as the weather is pleasant and the views are nice. The rock slides/glaciers on Cronin look pretty nice with a dusting of snow to highlight the lobes.
The initial ridge off Mt Mamma is mostly flat and with the snow, quite pretty. After the last flat spot, the ridge drops pretty quickly till near treeline. I was able to get in some nice plunge stepping on the way down, as the snow was just firm enough to allow for speedy descending.
Once below treeline, there was a variety of terrain. The first part went pretty quickly, as it wasn't very rocky, and the plunge stepping made for fast work. Then I came across a rocky boulder section, that I tried to avoid by going further west. Soon it became apparent that there was no avoiding it, and I traversed back to the eastern ridgeline on rather steep boulders with scary snow. Back at the eastern ridgeline, the terrain got a bit easier and less rocky, but more slippery. Plenty of moss on rock slabs and such kept me grabbing at the aspens for support. Unfortunately half the aspens were dead, and on a few occasion as I slipped and went down, I took the dead tree with me. Fun times! Once on the flatter part near the road, it was just a simple matter of heading in the direction of the road merge. A nice loop, with just a wee bit of excitement in the trees on the way down.
My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):
Brit - Solo trips bolster the mental toughness that helps me through the tougher parts of life! Nice Avy ”safe” ridge route, what I had been saving it for.
Dave - There was more snow on the road and the Boulder Mtn ridge, than the north ridge of Mamma (in the trees). I utilized Furthermore's late spring trip, and Papillion's from a similar date to chose my route with anticipated snow. The descent into the Baldwin Creek did not look fun!
Yikes - Yeah... I guess that would be one interpretation!
as always. Your tr's are my leading source of ski beta. Keep them coming.
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