Saturday, December 19, 2009

Exploring Shadow Canyon

We had an adventure today.  Our plan was to hike up Shadow Canyon, summit South Boulder and Bear Peaks, then return via different trails.  Part way up the Shadow Canyon trail, we saw an unmarked side trail.  It took us to a clearing with great views and from there we could see this great looking rock (we didn't know it at the time, but the rock was probably The Matron).  We decided to hike up the big hill to check it out.

The hill was steeper than it looked.  Once we got up it, there was a scree field preventing us from getting over to the big rock, so instead we continued up along the ridge thinking we could cut across above where the scree began.  The higher we got the more we realized it would be difficult to get to the base of the rock.  We scrapped that plan and instead decided to try to gain the south ridge of Boulder Mountain and traverse north to South Boulder Peak.

The snow was getting deeper and eventually the boulders were too big to navigate.  We dropped down into the trees -- not much easier since half of them were laying down.  We tried to parallel the ridge we had been following as best we could.

Eventually we made it to the south ridge of Boulder Mountain.  There was no trail in sight, and our "summit" didn't look anything like South Boulder Peak.  We spent a little time looking at our map (for the first time since leaving the trail) and realized we were too far south.  Making the mile trek north to get to our intended summit was going to be impossible due to steep cliffs.  Our only option was to retrace our steps back to the trail.  Fortunately the way down was easier going.

Looking at the topo at home tonight, it seems we gained 1000' feet after leaving trail.  To get to our intended summit, we would have needed to gain another 1000'.  Regardless, the view from 7570' was pretty good! Click a pic to see the rest.

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