Gardner Mountain (Jun 12-13, 2004)

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gardner_mtn_coverConditions: Backpack
Gear: overnight gear, ice axe
Map: USGS Midnight Mountain, USGS Gardner Mountain, USGS Thompson Ridge
Area: Methow
Reference:
Stats: 27.84mi, 7959' gain (round trip)


This was my first trip into the Gardners. I got the invitation to join Jim and Beth. I'd never been to the area so...why not go?

It was mid June and he days were warmer and longer. Unfortunately, we didn't get the bluebird weather we were hoping for on this trip.

We began the long drive up over Hwy 20. My about noon we were hiking up the Wolf Creek trail. It was sunny and warm. Nice. Little bit by little bit...that warmth and blue sky began to disappear. About 7 miles in the blue sky was gone and the rain started. Time to don the rain gear and put pack covers on. If you've hiked this trail you will know what I mean...there is that stretch of dead snags...when the wind blows it sounds like a pack of wolves howling (or sirens or a train...)...it didn't disappoint on this trip. I called it the "screaming trees".

About 10mi in, we headed up grassy slopes a few hundred feet toward Wolf Creek Basin camping in the soggy wet basin.

The rain continued through the night but we were up early and thankful to see some blue sky. However, we were surprised to see a fresh dusting of snow higher up on the slopes above camp. We hadn't counted on this. But it was worth taking a look and seeing how it went. So, up we went, first going up grassy slopes to a basin higher up where we could see Pt8487. We continued up the snowfield which got steeper and harder, then even steeper and harder. We got to the ridge crest and then to Pt8487 where I was nearly blown off my feet by a gust of wind. Wow!

We ducked behind some rocks, put more clothing on and continued on along the ridge. I couldn't believe how strong the wind was, several times I was nearly knocked off my feet by a gust. Fearful of taking a spill I called it quits. I hunkered down behind a large rock and told Jim and Beth to continue...I didn't mind. I could easily enough make my way back down to camp.

I could see Jim and Beth at points along their route to Gardener. I was glad to see it looked like they would make it. They eventually returned to my hiding spot (I'd decided to wait for them) and then we plunge stepped and glissaded down hill. In one glissade run Jim went first setting a nice track. I followed and.....OUCH...hit a rock...and HARD. I thought I'd ripped myself open. Thankfully I hadn't. I had just ripped open every layer of clothing I was wearing and managed to give myself a nice bruise on my tailbone.

Then it was time to get back to camp, pack up, and begin the really long hike out.
 
Gardner Mountain Slideshow

gardner_mtn_map
(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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