Golden Ears - April 18th, 2015 - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 04-19-2015, 04:57 PM Thread Starter
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Default Golden Ears - April 18th, 2015

Golden Ears is a special hike to me as it's the first one I did alone with Foxy and found myself a hiking partner. That turned into Flora Loop, Flora Peak, Webb, MacFarlane, Coliseum (almost!), Swan Falls Loop, and hosts of others. She was such an eager hiker and when we lost her I lost a bit of the urge to hike. We love you and we miss you Foxy!

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Ben and I had bought some snowshoes last fall so that we could extend the hiking season into winter. The low snowfall out here in the Valley was disappointing and we didn't get many outings. So with the longer opening hours of Golden Ears Park starting April 1st, Ben and I were contemplating going up there with our snowshoes to see how far we could get. With the glorious weekend weather it was a no-brainer.

Our hike started at 8:40 and it didn't take long to start shedding the layers. From there on it was shorts and t-shirt temperature almost all the way! Everything was very dry and summery until cresting the ridge where snow cover was patchy, soft, and about a foot deep. At this point gaiters went on. We ran across a solo female hiker who was just turning back due to routefinding difficulties but she continued on with us.

Once on Panorama Ridge snowshoes are a must and make for easy travel. After a while we left our companion behind (she was trying for the shelter, and even without snowshoes we think she nearly made it!) and headed upwards. There seemed to be a well-beaten track all the way up but we weren't 100% confident of anything at that point.

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Our disbelief was not misplaced as the track led to a small knoll to the far left and then ended. From here on we were laying fresh tracks. We headed for a snow gulley that seemed to lead to the summit ridge, but it appeared too steep and underneath the top layer it was all corn snow with no purchase. We then tried to follow what we thought was the normal summer route, but the snow was too steep and there were no handholds on the nearby rock. Finally we found our way up to the summit ridge by skirting to the backside (left) of the ridge, using veggie belays and scrambling over rock and snow.

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The final ridge was a beautiful jaunt of only 15 minutes.

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Coming down the ridge was a bit harder becuase of the exposure and tendency to slide. The snow was quite wet however and tended to bunch up and not slide too far. More fear than reality! Once off the ridge, we tromped down the snowfields, did a few bumslides, and took in the scenery. Too bad it goes by so fast when you're going downhill!

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Left parking lot at 8:40
Arrived summit at 15:05 (total ascent time 6:25)
Left summit at 15:30
Arrived parking lot 19:55 (total trip time inc. breaks 11:15)

Thanks to Ben for the iPhone photos as I ended up lugging heavy camera + lenses for nothing as I hadn't checked the battery. Doh!
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 11:33 AM
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Wow... 200 views and not 1 comment. Tough crowd around here sometimes. Looks like you guys had a nice day.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 12:51 PM
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Nice report ... and a respectable time (I am all about the long car to car hikes)

How did you like the new graded trail they have recently laid down before Alder Flats?... I find that walk out after a taxing hike just bores me tears now... previously, at least you have some foot bed variety to keep your mind busy.

Also to note... I saw some construction equipment near hikers beach the last time I was on the East Canyon trail so they may be preparing to reconstruct the bridge soon, so you will be able to cut down a bit of walking in distance/time when doing Golden Ears or camping at Alder Flats once this is back in... You will be able to walk/ride the East Canyon trail to the bridge and come up from under Alder Flats.


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post #4 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 01:45 PM
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See any snow slides or avalanches? With the warming trend and fresh snow I would have expected some instability
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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@Rex, yeah the car-to-car is my kind of hike too, at least while I still have kids too young to come along. The trail out is mindless now ... just endless plodding. There's a sign saying no bridge yet at Hiker's Beach.
@Dru, no evidence of any slides or avalanches. Just some debris fall of the type in the second photo. In the more shaded areas there's a layer of corn snow between a crusty top and a more solid layer about a foot deep.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 01:04 AM
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Great report, and beautiful shots. Enjoyed them.

I think you may have had Foxy with us when we hiked Conway some years back.

Understand surely how you miss.. your beloved companion.

K
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 03:47 PM
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I enjoyed your report. Congratulations for passing the end of the previous tracks and traversing worrying conditions to make summit.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 04-23-2015, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KARVITK View Post
Great report, and beautiful shots. Enjoyed them.

I think you may have had Foxy with us when we hiked Conway some years back.

Understand surely how you miss.. your beloved companion.

K
Thanks Karl. Yes, that was Foxy up on Conway with us.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 04-27-2015, 04:51 PM
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Nicely done! On my to do list, especially now that I live closer and the park is one of my go-to spots for hiking.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 05-02-2015, 01:41 AM
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Great shots. Amazing feat going up there with the snow. Getting to the summit in the summer is already hard enough!
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