2017-11-04 | Allsmoke Mountain | 2114m | 1396m TH | 15.1 km | TA 743m | w/ Peter & David
For me, this is the last Super-Saturday of 2017 and in sharp contrast with last Saturday the weather had gone sub-Arctic in the foothills. We schemed and came up with this one to finish with - and I was quite interested as it settled some unfinished business as I hadn't summited this on the Canada Day long weekend backpacking trip. As a matter of fact, our group would have but many hadn’t brought enough water so we dropped off early from the approach from Volcano ridge and, somewhat ironically, criss-crossed the slopes of Allsmoke looking for the trail down and spend more time and energy than had we summited and picked up the trail there. It was the crux of the trip. I don’t consider myself a peakbagger but I do sometimes fixate on unfinished business when it was so close at hand. At any rate, this otherwise somewhat boring diminutive front country peak became the focus of todays attention.
After the cowboy breakfast and coffee at the Corner House café we found the trailhead at the end of the north portion of Gorge Creek trail – Ware creek parking area. Single track, snow covered, and a little dicey in places – the last bit of the drive was exciting. With temps around -18 C and all of us still running somewhat summerish blood we found even with getting geared up at the café that our fingers and toes went rather unpleasantly wooden. We set off at a quick pace thru the flat grassy pastures of the lower route and then into pine forest, much of which followed a treed ridge. Shin deep snow eventually increased to almost knee deep in places as we approached the summit. Breaks were kept short so as not to chill. I was running out of gas as we finally spotted the metal pole that demarks the partially treed summit. We shared a snort of rum, mini-mars bars and hot tea which all helped to re-energize us for the much quicker descent. Thankfully the day was calm with a mix of sun and cloud. Upon reaching home I dumped my damp gear and had a hot bath, even so my body felt just as wrecked as our season opener on Monad and Isola. I’ll chalk that up to the extra effort in slippery snowy conditions and not my mildewing carcass giving out on me. Cheers to Peter for doing most of the trail breaking, and David for persevering despite almost freezing his beard off.
© Clayton Ditzler