Maria has been trying to get me to go on a trip with her for quite sometime. Our schedules never really line up but finally everything fell into place. She was going to go up M.S.B and asked if I wanted to join so I said "sure sounds good" I didn't have to do any research for the roads or route she has tried to get up it a few times.
The gate is open and 4wd HC is definitely recommended past the first waterbar. It's a very steep road, the winter storms have made it very loose. The Toyota pickup did great and got us upto snowline 670m. This meant a very short walk to the start of the trail.
The snow conditions were kinda hit and miss, some poor sap postholed the whole way to the summit a few days prior judging by the freeze thaw holes. We put snowshoes on right away and made the best of the changing snow conditions. A few moats to jump over, a few trenches too narrow for snowshoes side by side, and a few blunders getting off route, you know the usual. We arrived to the lake in now time.
From the lake upto the ridge it's well marked on the trees, there are no switchbacks it's just straight up, no messing around to get onto the ridge with the odd tree well fall.
When we arrived on the ridge we had a quick snack then carried on. The weather was being kind of moody and the Southwesterly winds were bringing in more clouds. We finally got a look at our peak. The North ridge looked really tempting but without crampons or her having an ice axe it was definitely out of the question. So we carried on below the peak to jump onto the standard East ridge.
Same as before getting ont on the ridge was nothing more than straight up, steep, firm snow at times or snow that would slide out from your snowshoe.
With all the hard steep grunt work out of the way it was just a casual stroll to the summit where we didn't get the views that we wanted, but at least the wind was tolerable and in the name of social distancing had to poke her with my pole.
After a respectable summit lunch, and making snowshoe angels Maria suggested going down the South ridge. I was quite shocked, but I will never turn down a loop, so I quickly looked at Gaia, saw it was doable so off we went, plunging in the snow, falling on the steep sections, and buttsliding whenever possible. It was easy enough to follow, a few times had to check the gps to make sure we would intersect the lower logging road which was very important.
Once on the logging road it was time to put on cruise control, there is one really long switchback that we decided to just bash straight down the forest. Not the brightest idea as it was tough on the steep snow, but once we hit the snowline, hiking in the boots on the steep soft forest floor was quick and enjoyable. We popped out onto the gravel logging road and started the last leg to complete the loop. This loop resulted in about 300m more gain to finish the day and more km's than Out/Back would have been but where is the fun in that. Loops rock!