Ascent of Grace Mountain on 2014-02-22

Climber: Steve Smith

Date:Saturday, February 22, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Grace Mountain
    Location:USA-New York
    Elevation:4026 ft / 1227 m

Ascent Trip Report

Dayana, Shanon, and I started down the trail on the north side of the north fork of the Boquet river. The trail was well broken but wondered into more of a bushwhack than the more traveled portion of the herd path. The hike in on unmarked herd paths would normally be hard to follow but were well broken out by others (two of us had already explored the area before so we knew most of the route). Eventually, after climbing high on a hill side we hit a tee where we met up with the more standard part of the herd path. We turned right toward East Dix (Grace). We crossed two streams before hitting the flat wide area where the river widened. Shortly after this we traveled through obvious beaver lands before the trail met back up with the south fork of the Boquet river. We passed two illegal campsites. The second one had a campsite disk with an arrow indicating that there was a campsite further down the path. After what seemed to be a 1/4 mile we found the legal campsite with the cairns marking the the correct herd path. We followed this path which mostly alternated between the right (north) side of the river and walking islands in the middle of the river. There was one short section on the left side. Eventually the path ended up on the left side and stayed there until it started to gradually go up hill before going up hill much more steeply. Once we got to the slide (roughly 5-6 miles), Shanon was feeling tired and after reluctance from the rest of the group we let her turn around. We had actually passed the point you are supposed to head up the slide so Dayana and I did a very short bushwhack to get back on the slide. The day started off mild then quickly turned into a bit of an epic. It seemed that no one had been on the slide since the last few snow storms. It alternated between knee to waist deep (one short section was a drift against a rock that was almost chest deep) snow and rock with a very thin coating of ice. The snow also had a 1/4" thick crust of ice on top which ended up leaving bruises and cuts on my knees and shins as I broke through it. I was okay soloing it but Dayana has less experience and was a little nervous so we roped up about half way up it. About 100 ft from the top the winds picked up a lot and there were two steeper sections which I ended up climbing and belaying for her. What should have taken less than an hour in better conditions ended up taking 2-3 hours. We finally make it to the top but after taking a few minutes to enjoy the view and our accomplishment we realized that we are not actually on the summit but on the ridge a little ways to the climber's left of the summit. Since the ridge we were on heads to a smaller mountain that isn't one of the 46 and is deep in the backcountry, there was no apparent herd path (there is supposed to be one) or broken trail to the summit. So we were back to trail breaking in waist deep snow and spruce trap hazards. The winds up high were some of the strongest I've ever been in. I was knocked over a few times and Dayana had to hug trees to keep from blowing away. She only moved when the wind stopped. We were both excited to finally see the yellow summit disk! We were planning to do 2-3 other peaks but because of time and also because Shanon had bailed out before the slide and was sitting in the car we decided not to do any more. We ran into some other people at the junction for South Dix (Carson) and they convinced us to do South Dix. That was all broken out and an easy 1.1 miles with little elevation gain. On the way back we decided to go straight at the tee to avoid the rough trail and follow closer to the north fork. This ended up crossing the river and finishing on the south side so we had a short road walk to get back to the car. It ended up being a 13 1/2 hour day by the time we finally go back to the car.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Crampons, Rope, Ski Poles, Snowshoes
Ascent Part of Trip: East Dix (Grace) & South Dix (Carson) (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
 South Dix2014-02-22 
1Grace Mountain2014-02-22 

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