Tuesday, July  16, 2019
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Mckenzie Range
Summit Buildings
Another peak for Caroline
courtesy JInnes
Summit Binoculars
Checking out the view
Andrew and Jenn, Whiteface
Rather than simply return the way we'd come up, we decided to make a little mini-loop out of the summit terrain. We headed west, down the "tourist" walking path that led up along the western ridgeline. This path has railings, steps and other aids. It would be a fantastic natural trail without this stuff, for it follows an even more open and craggy bit of ridgeline than the one we had ascended.
courtesy JInnes
The summit's tourist trail
Another craggy ridgeline
Approaching terminus building
The tourist trail led down to what I call the "terminus" building - a castle-like structure partially built into the bedrock of the mountain at about the 4600-foot level. It is here that the auto-road terminates. In the summer season, this building has washroom facilities, a gift shop, and a cafeteria. If you like having a plate of fries after climbing a 46er, then this place is for you.
Terminus Building
Archy Architecture
Down the upper auto road
We walked through the terminus building and onto the auto road, which we followed a short distance back to the upper hairpin. Here, we joined back up with our ascent route, and began our descent back along it. Fortunately, the trail/snow conditions were still good enough to permit bare-boot travel.
Down off the road
Pleasant Snowy Highway
The descent was relatively fast and uneventful. A couple of sprinkles fell on us from the now-unsettled conditions, but these passed quickly and it soon became sunny again. We elected to skip the side trip to Esther on the way back, and it wasn't long before we were descending back towards Marble Mountain, re-encountering patches of muddy ground, and then back to completely snow-free terrain. Ditching the traction aids, we picked our way down the tedious bouldery Marble Mountain trail, arriving back at the car at a very reasonable 3:30 pm.
courtesy JInnes
Mossy Boulder Love
Back down in no-snow land
Brief Final Uphill
Not a long hike, but all in all, a very nice day out: good weather, good snow conditions, not a busy summit, no bugs yet, lots of views. Many more positives than negatives!

PS - after getting back home I did a bit of investigation about the SOA Lake trail closure (for the Mckenzie range approach). Turns out that a re-route had indeed been put in place, and wasn't all that far from where we'd parked. Sure would have been nice if they'd tacked that bit of useful info to the bottom of the trail closure sign. Oh well.... at least we can go back some other time and do the loop.
Chiller Pillar
Interactive trackmap with photo points - Whiteface via Marble Mtn TH - click map to view

Whiteface from Marble Mtn TH - Hike Data
Start Time:
8:41AM
Start Elevation:
1992ft (607m) *
End Time:
3:33PM
Max Elevation:
4884ft (1489m) *
Duration:
6h52m
Min Elevation:
1887ft (575m) *
Distance:
12.21 km (7.59 mi)
End Elevation:
1994ft (608m) *
Average Speed:
1.8 km/hr (1.1 mph)
* : +/- 75 feet
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