There were already several dozen cars when we arrived shortly after 9:00, but all of the people must have been going up Prairie Mountain because we saw nobody all day. Blue sky and already-warm temperatures had us wondering about snow conditions, but the trail was supportive for the ascent (with some bear tracks) and we took a break at Three Trail Pass, finding some alpine plants but no flowers yet. With enthusiasm and only a hint of doubt, we started towards the North ridge and the expected postholing began. We endured for a while with much laughter (and a suggestion that the Ramblers institute a demerit system for coordinators!) before giving up.
Bill had the excellent suggestion that we climb the outlier instead, so we plowed through more snow and followed some shallower bands of rock and meadow to the summit. After a long lunch, we wandered along the small ridge admiring lichen and poking at cornices to see if they would fail (nope). Back down the steep slopes, we wandered through a bonsai poplar forest before regaining the main trail.
I had been worried that the snow would have lost all of its structure due to the heat, but fortunately the narrow centre of the trail was still supportive. Step just a bit to one side, however, and not-so-graceful acrobatics (and at least one faceplant into a deep snowbank) were guaranteed. We must have looked quite comical staggering and lurching along! After another long break in a sunny meadow, we arrived back at the busy parking lot just after 4:00.
As is typical for my trips, our group was small and similar in not only capabilities but also enthusiasm for adventure and appreciation for being in beautiful places. Thanks for coming. :)
Participants: Bill photos, Donna, Ingrid coordinator
50th posthole... maybe we should change our plans...
On our way to ascending the outlier
Lunch view towards original objective
Playing with cornices
More cornice fun