Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mount Teneriffe, February 15, 2010

99 percent of Mount Teneriffe (2-15-10)

This was our conditioning hike for the week and a real workout. We didn’t take the “sekrit” route for two reasons – I’ve not taken that route and we figured there’d be icy stretches below the summit.

Well, we got our conditioning all right. It’s about 11 to 11-1/2 miles round trip with 4,000 feet of elevation gain. These stats were configured by the GPS from the School Bus Turnaround on Mount Si Road.

There were a few other hikers on the road but we mostly had the place to ourselves. I recalled my last trip to Teneriffe was quite a few years ago – on snowshoes, a Mountaineer outing. We were truly grateful that snowshoes were not needed today!! Adding snowshoes and breaking trail would have taken the last ounce of our get-up-and-go, we would have been running on empty, I’m sure.

I swore to Silvertip that this would be my “last” hike up the road for a long time (this being our third or fourth time, I’ve lost count). By now we have all the spurs and switchbacks memorized and even some of the evergreens along the way have become old friends we recognize.

It’s still a brown hike, still too soon for spring though it felt like spring. We didn’t get into snow until we passed the old clearcut and the junction where another road heads over to Mount Si.

The snow was thin and icy in the shady spots on the upper stretch. The snow gradually deepened as we climbed to the overlook of Rachor Lake. Here there was more snow, perhaps a foot or so deep. This was old, compacted snow.

A set of tracks led along the summit ridge making it easy to follow. However, further along the ridge grew steep and exposed enough that we were not comfortable without ice axes so we stopped about 50 feet shy of the summit. The snow alternated between being crusty and being icy. Ice axes and yak trax would be handy, at least for the time being.

We were a little disappointed we didn’t summit the peak and have not decided whether or not we’ll go back this year.

The exercise felt great though and we made good time (at least for us) as far as we got.

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