Ascent of Mount Howard on 2011-07-18

Climber: Jan Peter Eklund

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, July 18, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Howard
    Elevation:7063 ft / 2152 m

Ascent Trip Report

Trip started Sunday, since Monday looked like the best weather. Drove out from Seattle to the Merritt Lk TH. Got on the Merritt Lk trail (1588) and started the long climb to the intersection w/ the Nason Ridge Tr (1583). Heading west on 1583 I was immediately confronted with snow obscured trail. There are some old blazes, and the trail would periodically reappear, but it was tricky and slow at times trying to puzzle out the trail. Marked a few spots on the GPS to be sure. As the trail leveled out there were long stretches with no snow. Several large downed trees on trail, along with a lot of branches and debris. Headed down @400' to the Royal Creek Crossing. Lots of boggy meadows along the creek. The weather was overcast at the start and alternated between mist, drizzle and steady rain. Fortunately the rain only lasted an hour or so. After Royal Cr. climbed up the trail through talus field and onto the ridge overlooking Crescent Cr. Lost the trail due to lots of snow on ground, but found a nice flat, dry ridge to pitch tent. Elevation @ 5480'. Made dinner and bear bagged and got in the bag. Heard rain a few times in the night. Monday morning spent some time with GPS to confirm position on map. Weather was pretty good, some broken clouds & warm. Headed out of camp @ 10:30 & found the trail 50 ft from the site and headed west towards Crescent Lk. The trail ran into snowfields so just kept going west along the bottom of the ridge, trying to not lose too much elevation. Crossed a big snowfield and up some talus and through tree cover. Spotted the lake below and kept going until I was pretty much centered on the lake then headed due north up the slope. First leg was up moderately steep scrubby slopes with tree stands and little creeks. Then up over a hump to the big snowfield on the south slope, were you can start to see the summit, which I hadn't seen up til then. Up the snowfield and then tacked over to a rocky ridge west of summit. Up through scrub and talus approaching the summit. The last few hundred feet I was close to bonking, but took some breaks to snack and hydrate. Weather was good the whole way. Summit @ 2pm. Great views up there. Snapped some photos and headed back down pretty much the exact way as up. Was able to follow my tracks a lot of the way. Came back to camp and took a short nap, then made salmon & potato stew and kicked back. Nice night, but cold. Tuesday broke cold and gray. Made a quick breakfast and headed out. I was a little concerned about finding the trail with all the snow cover, but had no problems. Saw a deer in the boggy meadow. Got back to the car and headed back to the city. There were many mosquitoes, but long sleeves and head net took care of most of them. Tuesday was mostly too cold for them.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4763 ft / 1450 m
    Extra Gain:400 ft / 121 m
    Trailhead:Merritt Lake Trailhead  3100 ft / 944 m
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Ski Poles, Tent Camp
    Nights Spent:2 nights away from roads

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