S2S = Sea to Sky Skunked on Hat Mountain - March 24, 2019 - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Default Skunked on Hat Mountain - March 24, 2019

Little report from a fun time this weekend in the Howe Sound. Group of 8 of us went up to the Hat Hilton for Saturday night, and had a great time. Another group of 2 joined us as well which made for a fun and cozy night.

The hike up from the parking lot was not bad, and we quickly made it to the turnoff to Tunnel Bluffs. Didn't see a soul after this. We filled up some water at the spring, and then had lunch at the viewpoint at 1100 meters. Very little snow for this time of the year.

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We ended up watching the sunset at the clearing, with beverages and good music. When the stars came out, we made a big fire which was awesome! Overall a great time. The next morning, Nick and I woke up at 6 AM to go hike to the summit. Armed with overnight bags, we packed up quick and headed over to the West Ridge trailhead. I have done Hat Mountain (or peak) before in the summer via Hat Pass, but I knew the west ridge would be easier to follow in the snow. The logging road ended pretty quickly, but it was a mess with taking on and off our snowshoes a few times before the snow pack became steady.

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We followed some new mountain goat tracks at around 1250 meters elevation which was cool. The actual logging road portion after the turnoff was much shorter than I had assumed. Mike has done a great job with the trail, and it was decently easy to follow. At around 1300 meters, the snow was consistent, and the route flattened out for a bit. Very beautiful old growth forests filled with large, mature douglas firs and yellow cedars. Always cool to see what the area looked like before the 1960's.

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We emerged from the forest canopy at 1400 meters, and started to climb some 40 degree slopes. Snow conditions were excellent, as it was only 9 AM and were following the north west ridge. We got up to 1500 meters, where the exposure and slope increased. We brought out the ice axe, and lost the snow shoes for this part. After some sinking, we finally managed to stay afloat. Near the top, we couldn't figure out where the route was supposed to go. I assume there was a better winter route to follow, because what we were on was very exposed and STEEP. At 1621 meters, I called it quits as the snow stability seemed questionable, and I wasn't ready to be another statistic this year. Any one have any incite on where the winter route goes? Maybe it just follows what we did, and you have to tough out the exposure for 20 more meters.

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You can see my tracks heading up to left on Nick. Almost made it to the top!

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We will be back to complete the ring of peaks from Fat Ass -> Wettin in the summer! Good to be back in the mountains, first big hike in 6 months!
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 06:03 PM
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Great to see report from you again!


I've been on Hat too the normal way but was quite intrigued by "Hat Hilton route". It was planned, but never happened. Come back in summer, I'm quite curious to see how terrain looks like at/above treeline
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-25-2019, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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Great to see report from you again!


I've been on Hat too the normal way but was quite intrigued by "Hat Hilton route". It was planned, but never happened. Come back in summer, I'm quite curious to see how terrain looks like at/above treeline
Thanks! I would definitely recommend that route if you are back here any time soon. For the most part there is no foot bed, so its a fun navigational trip through some beautiful boulder fields and cliffs.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-26-2019, 01:20 PM
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Nice, I've been up to Hat a couple of times but from the south. If I go from the west it will be without snow, as I recall reading a couple of reports that encountered problems.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-28-2019, 12:38 PM
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Nice photographs!
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 01:59 AM
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Really nice shots, like the views of the islands...

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-29-2019, 09:34 PM
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I tried it via the west ride in snow when the route was just becoming a route, I was with my gf at the time and eventually we lost the trail and had no idea where it went. It looks to be better marked now, kinda? We had to turn back, this report reminds me I should go back.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 11:10 AM
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Nice sunset pix. The GPS trail looks great on the two maps you show - what software are you using?
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 03-30-2019, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by russellcoffin View Post
Any one have any incite on where the winter route goes? Maybe it just follows what we did, and you have to tough out the exposure for 20 more meters.

We will be back to complete the ring of peaks from Fat Ass -> Wettin in the summer! Good to be back in the mountains, first big hike in 6 months!
I ran into the same problem a few years ago, took the same route with the same result. I talked to Mike about this and he says to go around the back side of Hat and ascend from the north (see pic, red line) He says this route is straight forward. I to have to get back there and do it.

Last year I did Fat Ass from the cabin and went straight up the Hat Pass trail (junction by 1,000 meter lookout). I went straight up the gully. One could do Hat from here also however I did not like the look of the ascent up onto Hat on the day that I did it so I decided not to.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 01:17 PM
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Your end point was pretty close to the route I took last June (with much less snow of course). I'm guessing you turned around somewhere near the right side of the snow patch seen top-right on my photo. I then took the left-trending snow ramp to the summit.
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 02:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectrum View Post
I tried it via the west ride in snow when the route was just becoming a route, I was with my gf at the time and eventually we lost the trail and had no idea where it went. It looks to be better marked now, kinda? We had to turn back, this report reminds me I should go back.
Definitely better marked now. A few times we lost the trail in the snow, but found it relatively easy enough with the GPS. Only places we lost the route was where the markings were either buried or it was an open area so no trees to show the route.

I would definitely recommend to go back though, a pretty easy jaunt.
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Elkaholic View Post
Nice sunset pix. The GPS trail looks great on the two maps you show - what software are you using?
Thanks! I use Gaia GPS on my phone. Its way better than any other phone app I have seen. If you don't want to spend money on a Garmin, go Gaia!
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Your end point was pretty close to the route I took last June (with much less snow of course). I'm guessing you turned around somewhere near the right side of the snow patch seen top-right on my photo. I then took the left-trending snow ramp to the summit.
Thanks for the photo, definitely looks more scary from that angle. I took a route roughly shown in red before turning around. I wonder at what elevation I would start wrapping around the base of the mountain if I was to ascend from the north side?
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post #14 of (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TimeToGoHiking View Post
I ran into the same problem a few years ago, took the same route with the same result. I talked to Mike about this and he says to go around the back side of Hat and ascend from the north (see pic, red line) He says this route is straight forward. I to have to get back there and do it.

Last year I did Fat Ass from the cabin and went straight up the Hat Pass trail (junction by 1,000 meter lookout). I went straight up the gully. One could do Hat from here also however I did not like the look of the ascent up onto Hat on the day that I did it so I decided not to.
Glad to know I wasn't the only one who found this route a bit too much at the end. The hat pass trail is awesome from the lookout spot, and thats how I summitted Hat and Fat ass the first time around in the summer. Definitely felt easier from that side.
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 04-01-2019, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by russellcoffin View Post
Thanks for the photo, definitely looks more scary from that angle. I took a route roughly shown in red before turning around. I wonder at what elevation I would start wrapping around the base of the mountain if I was to ascend from the north side?
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My line looked something like this (yellow). I don't know how it compares to the mentioned north ridge route, but it worked :-).
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