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Bearhead Mountain, WA | FEB 2019

WU7H's picture
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Decent, workable
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This was a winter activation of Bearhead Mountain.

WW7D and I decided to give this a shot based on some WTA trip reports that indicated it was possible to drive to the trailhead. We took my 1988 Toyota 4x4 truck that has big tires and is fairly capable off road.

The road up to the trailhead (same TH as Summit Lake) is pretty bad even when there is no snow. We made it a few miles before we hit snow. We were able to drive to within 1/2 mile of the TH before we decided we better not push our luck - we were nearly high centered in the deep snow a few times. We parked and slapped on our snow shoes for the 1/2 mile walk to the TH.

About an hour of hiking in pleasent conditions got us to Twin Lake, where the trail splits: go left for Summit lake or right for Bearhead. There were no visibile tracks to Bearhead - no one else had been that way on this day. We set off through deep powdery snow for Bearhead.

The first mile was nice. Once we started to traverse along the west face of Bearhead, things were far less nice. The slope was steep and very icy, which is not fun to walk on with snow shoes. Eventually we came to a gully with a lot of exposure and neither of us felt comfortable crossing it on snow shoes. After a few mins of consulting the topo map, we decided to just head straight up toward the summit. We didn't have too far to go, so we just kicked steps and stayed close to vegitation. 

Eventually we made it to the activation zone and had a fine 2m activation. We were cold and in an akward spot so we skipped the HF and started down-climbing back to the trail. We made it back down safely despite a few tricky spots (ice axe and crampons would have been nice!). 

Back near where we parked there was a big 4x4 truck that tried to drive further up the road and was stuck. We had a shovel in the truck and helped him dig out. Then we got stuck briefly and had to dig a bit =) We all made it down safely!