Clark Mountain (8,602ft) Attempt to 5,000ft
October 24, 2017
The Tuesday weather forecast was warm and sunny, so Duncan and I drove out of town Monday night to the White River trailhead. The previous weekend was extremely wet, with 5-10″ of water equivalent, which translated to up to 9ft of snow at the higher elevations. We thought snowline would be around 5,000ft, but unfortunately it was all the way down to 2,000ft at the trailhead.
We knew the unexpected snow would slow us down, but we decided to give the mountain a shot anyways. After a shorty foray on an incorrect trail in the morning, we eventually started hiking on the correct trail at 5am. The snow was about 6″-12″ deep for the first 4 miles, but eventually got up to several feet deep higher on the mountain. We took turns breaking trail, but didn’t reach the edge of treeline until 10:30am. The snow looked to be getting even deeper higher up, where we’d have to leave the trail.
We projected that we could make the summit (the weather was amazing), but probably wouldn’t get back to the car before midnight at our pace. That didn’t sound good to me, since I had to give an 8am lecture the next morning that I didn’t want to risk missing, so we decided to turn around.
We made it to the car by 3:30pm, after 19-miles of hiking, so it was still a good workout. Hopefully I can return soon to take advantage of the broken trail.