Trip Details Date: May 18, 2019 Summit Elevation: 2,348 m Total Elevation Gain: 993 m Total Distance: 11.0 km Round Trip Time: 5:13 Difficulty Notes: Class 2 Watch your footing on the loose rubble. In the winter and early season, this peak can hold a lot of snow, making it harder to pick your way through the rocks and introducing some avalanche hazard. GPS Track: Midnight
This weekend’s scramble was a classic example of heading into the mountains rain or shine or snowstorm. My schedule is going to be pretty unpredictable this summer, and I don’t know how many weekends I’ll get off, so I wanted to make the most of this Saturday despite the rainy forecast. We picked an easy scramble that Scott had done before so that we had good chance of getting to the top even if conditions were bad and it wouldn’t matter as much if there was no view.
We started by going up to Baldy Pass and then heading right at the fork to ascend Midnight Peak. There are a couple of other ways to get up Midnight peak, but this ended up being the perfect route for today since some of our best views were from the pass.
The journey up to Baldy Pass went smoothly with just a light dusting of snow on the trail. However, once we started the ascent of Midnight Peak, the snow quickly got deeper. It was fairly supportive at times, but there was also a lot of postholing and grovelling. There were a few patches of rocks mixed in. These were a nice break from the snow but were also a little treacherous. It’s hard to tell where the best footing is when the rocks are covered in snow, so the chances of rolling an ankle are high.
Things got especially tough on the last 250 m (vertically and horizontally). This section was steeper than the rest and had some of the deepest snow drifts. With the summit hidden from sight, I got pretty demoralized plodding up the slope. Then all of a sudden Scott stopped and started celebrating. From my vantage point it looked like there was still a large snow slope guarding our way to the top, so I thought he was calling it quits early. However, it turns out that we had made it to the top of the ridge and it was only a short jaunt to the summit.
There wasn’t too much to see from the summit, but we were glad to be there nonetheless. After a little celebration, we sat down to enjoy our sandwiches just in time for the wind to pick up. So we packed up our lunches and decided to look for a more sheltered spot below the summit. The wind came on hard, filling up most of our tracks and building wind slabs. The soft, fluffy snow we plowed through on the way up was now hard and scrapped our legs every time we punched through (should have brought my gaiters).
Thankfully, the snow softened up again as we approached treeline where we had a snowball fight, ate lunch and enjoyed the misty view. We saw the tracks of another party who had come up to treeline but then apparently turned around. We followed our own footsteps back to Baldy Pass where the view opened up again. As we headed down the trail back to our car, we finally started running into other parties, some of which were just beginning their day.
The snow definitely made the day more challenging and got pretty discouraging at times, but it was also part of the fun. We talked a lot about how the effort put into trip (and really any activity) heavily impacts the payoff at the end. It just wouldn’t have been the same if it was bluebird and we drove all the way to the summit.