|Dec 27, 2005 (Tue)
|Dial Mountain [Failed to Summit]
|Elevation: 4020 feet; Order of Height: 41
|Participants: Andrew Lavigne, Jennifer Innes
Today's hike was the first of the official 'winter season'. I wanted to kick it off with a couple of winter 46ers that I had not done, and that would also make a couple of winter AND regular 46ers for Jenn.
(If you'd like to see this text inline in the image gallery for this hike, follow the image gallery link at the bottom of this page)
Initially I had thought about a loop that would summit the Wolfjaws, but, as we arrived near the trailhead, I saw how wonderful idea it was looking to be (as in, clear beautiful skies). I decided that perhaps we should switch to an outing that had more views. I thought perhaps Dial and Nippletop might be a good choice. Similar in distance to my original plans, and with a good view from Nippletop, and from the 1999 burn area, which I had heard about but not yet seen. I suggested the idea to Jenn, and she was agreeable.
Progress up the Leigh trail to the burn area was rapid, even with Jenn's pulled muscle. The first glimpses of the Burn area were quite interesting, especially in how almost all of the existing forest had been razed by the fire and was replaced by millions of young saplings of some sort.
Up and through the scenic burn area we went, and then down into a deep 300-foot dip between the shoulder of Noonmark (which we were on) and Bear Den Mountain, the sub-summit below Dial. The descent portion was very open and in the burn area, whereas the ascent of Bear Den was out of the burn area and in thick coniferous forest. Blowdown (which I had been a bit worried about) started to rear its ugly, snow-laden, messy head.
Eventually we got to a point where the ATIS trail markers stopped, and we reached an area along the ridge between Bear Den and Dial (about halfway, I'd say) where there was either the mother of all blowdowns, or we got ourselves slightly off-trail (can't be too off trail when you are following a ridge-trail!). We traipsed around for a good 20 minutes and could find no sign of further ATIS markers or the faint snowshoe tracks. Given that, Jenn's muscle thing, the time, and just the sheer annoyance of it all, we decided to call it quits (we were about 1.1 straight-line kilometres from the summit of Dial).
As consolation, the clouds had mostly cleared, and the views from the burn area to the mostly clear Great Range were simply spectacular.
Trip Reports, Image Galleries or Other References:
Image Gallery: December 2005 Dial Mountain Hike