Saturday, January 12, 2013

Timber Mountain Winter Ascent

Hiked: 1/11/2013
Distance: 8.5 miles round trip on trail and cross country
Summit Elevation: 8303'
Prominence: 583'
Elevation Gain: 3375'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 2.7
Round trip time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Recommended water: 88 oz.
Parking/Fees: Adventure Pass
Difficulty: Moderate

It took two tries to bag Timber Mountain in the dead of winter. I had to turn back about 2/3 of the way in December due to the cold. I came with extra layers this time and had no issues with the cold. I was surprised by 40-50 mph wind gusts near the top of the canyon that blew my hat off several times. That was the only time I felt a little cold. I used Grabber toe and body warmers and they added a little warmth. On the way down, the toe warmers were rubbing my feet uncomfortably so I stopped and took them out. I gained some good experience in the snow. Maybe I'm ready for an ice ax (maybe not).

The Three Ts trail that leads to Timber, Telegraph and Thunder mountains was completely buried in snow and invisible, so I went straight up the ridge line from Icehouse Saddle to the Timber summit. Leaving the saddle, I had to put on the Kahtoola microspikes to have enough traction. Otherwise, it would have been too steep and slippery. The spikes performed well over all on both snow and ice. I lost the one on my left boot on the way down and had to back track a bit to find it.

I met one hiker resting at the saddle on the way up, and half a dozen on the trail on the way down, but I was alone on the Timber summit. The Sierra Club classifies this route as moderate, and in the summer, I would agree. With the added difficulty of ice and snow, it felt strenuous. The final trudge up the ridge through the snow was pretty tough.


Snow trail in Icehouse Canyon


Looking up at Timber Mountain


Climbing Timber ridge line looking back toward Icehouse Saddle


Ontario Peak from Timber summit


Timber Mountain summit




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