Ascent of Hawkins Mountain on 2017-06-03

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, June 3, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hitchhiking
Peak:Hawkins Mountain
    Elevation:7160 ft / 2182 m

Ascent Trip Report

The goal of this trip--a ski descent of Hawkins--was not a good idea in early June this year. Based on the cool and wet spring we had, a misleading NOAA snow map, and snow levels on my last trip, I thought there would be a lot more snow than I saw as I drove up past Salmon La Sac. It was bone-dry all around as I turned right on the short unsigned Camp Creek Road east a short ways and parked at 3300' just before the road got rugged, reluctantly loading up my skis and boots on my pack as I wondered when I would find snow.

But sometimes things are meant to be. I passed by a cabin right away, and the owner came out to chat, thinking I was nuts with skis on my pack. After making a wrong turn on a trail I realized I needed to hike the road, and the guy and his wife were just heading up the road to do some informal maintenance. They offered me a ride as far as they were going, and I needed less than a millisecond to say yes.

So I threw my gear in the back of his beat-up old Pathfinder (bought for $500, supposedly), hopped in, and got a ride for 1600' up the steep, rough, rugged, switchbacked road. Conan (I think his name was) seemed to be a volunteer custodian of sorts for the road, keeping it clear of trees and rocks, and he was making one of his runs, noting the location of where work was needed as we chugged up in low range. His wife Robin was a bit freaked out by the occasional sheer drop-offs but their good-natured banter was priceless. I was mildly alarmed when his truck stalled out, would not start due to the angle it was at, so he roll-started it by coasting backwards!

After gunning the truck through some small snowbanks Conan finally stopped where the snow appeared to be continuous ahead. I hopped out, offered profuse thanks, and they took off (backing down at first) while I got my skis and boots ready. I was now at 4900' and way ahead of where I would have been walking uphill with a heavy pack.

The next mile of so of road was a mixture of snow and dirt, so my plan for skinning up was not happening, but the snow was hard and made for easy walking. After some meadowy areas the road became a trail and was hard to follow in the snow, and by 5500' the snow was solid everywhere. So I just started uphill, using a GPS track, and soon found the base of an open slide area that led straight uphill towards the summit.

I skinned up this slope, switchbacking for a while until it got too steep, and then started booting instead, kicking steps straight uphill, only to posthole for a bit in slush. But overall it was not far and not difficult, and I was soon on the main summit crest, with cornices hanging off the far side. I dropped my skis and boots here and used my sneakers for the surprisingly short and easy (Class 2) scramble to the broad summit of Hawkins.

Views were good despite clouds and a thin overcast, and it was pleasant and warm for my summit rest. The summit register book dated from 2004 and had long since run out of space and had no pencil. I was on top from about 11:20 to 11:45 AM.

I returned to my skis, got all ready for my run, and was soon making broad turns down the upper slope, causing big slushalanches as I headed down. All told I had ten minutes of fun skiing down about 1200' on the open slide-path areas, and then ten more minutes of much-less-fun skiing down 600' over suncups, logs, branches, needles, and pine cones in open forest before the snow ran out on the trail. Then I hiked down in my ski boots, past my drop-off point, and once I was below any snow and mud, I switched into sneakers for the easy walk down the rugged road.

Partway down I came across two 4x4 trucks heading uphill, and one of them was too wide to squeeze through a narrow cut through a huge log--I recalled that spot from my uphill ride and Conan's old Pathfinder had fit with just inches to spare. I chatted with the folks for a bit as they tried to get by before talking off. It was not long before I was down at the cabin, where Conan and Robin were relaxing outside. I thanked them again for the ride and told them about the predicament up the road--he had guessed that would happen.

I was pleased to have succeeded in my goal--with some help and some luck I pulled off a very efficient, fun, and interesting 5.5 hour trip up to Hawkins from my car. I am not sure if the 10 minutes of good skiing was worth all the trouble--a hiker in good boots would have probably been faster--but I have done many other spring ski trips with worse hassle-to-fun ratios.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2260 ft / 688 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3860 ft / 1176 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.6 mi / 10.6 km
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Skis, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2260 ft / 688 m
    Distance:2.2 mi / 3.5 km
    Route:W Face
    Start Trailhead:High on Camp Creek Rd  4900 ft / 1493 m
    Time:2 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3860 ft / 1176 m
    Distance:4.4 mi / 7.1 km
    Route:W Face
    End Trailhead:Camp Creek Rd  3300 ft / 1005 m
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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