Ascent of Tiffany Mountain on 2013-05-19

Climber: Craig Willis

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, May 19, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Tiffany Mountain
    Elevation:8245 ft / 2513 m

Ascent Trip Report

With earlier-than-anticipated snowmelt this year, another hiker told me that he expected Road 39 to be melted out all the way to Freezeout Pass. He was correct, but road snowpack began immediately north of the pass and continued to all road-aprts northward. Fortunately for me, the Freezeout Ridge Trail starts there and I parked my car on the side of the road.

With a very long peakbagging day behind me and another anticipated long peakbagging day ahead of me, I woke up in the Omak Wal-Mart parking lot at 2:45 PM and headed west along Highway 20. This was a much better option than going to Conconully, as the approach from Winthrop is nearly all paved (rather than annoying washboard gravel). Only the last 4-5 miles of Road 37, as well as the three miles of Road 39 to the TH, are unpaved. I arrived at the TH by 4:30 AM, and I began hiking by 5:00 AM.

I hit small patches of snow until 7000' elevation, at which point the snow became consistent and deep. From that elevation, I put on snowshoes and keep them on until 8000' elevation. Even with such an early start, cold temperature, and while wearing snowshoes, I was occasionally punching through the deep snowpack. I sometimes lost track of the exact trail location, but the route was fairly obvious and straightforward.

At approximately 8000' elevation, I removed my snowshoes. I left them and my trekking poles behind, as the final ascent involved easy-to-avoid patchy snowdrifts and light-snow-covered rocky/grassy terrain. I arrived at the summit by 6:30 AM, made certain to visit each of the three distinct rock outcrop highpoints, and signed the summit register (located within tall metal pole). The views were great, especially of nearby Clark Peak. Tiffany Mountain has the height, prominence, and popularity, but Clark Peak is a better mountain to visit from a pure mountaineering objective. Just my opinion.

The descent back to the car was quick and uneventful. I was back before 8:00 AM. I have had several opportunities in the past to visit Tiffany Mountain, but I am glad to have experienced it while it was still covered with snow. That aspect definitely improved the overall aesthetics and experience, and the solitude was nice for what is such an otherwise popular mountain.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1646 ft / 501 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.4 mi / 7.1 km
    Route:Freezeout Ridge Trail / Backcountry
    Trailhead:Freezeout Pass  6599 ft / 2011 m
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cold, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:0 Days 1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:0 Days 1 Hours 0 Minutes

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