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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Dirtyface Peak

Dirtyface Peak (Main Summit)

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

Dirtyface Peak 6240' (Main Summit)
Trip Date 05-21-2017

To be success start early, keep group small (we had three), and a very dedicated group (15 hrs from car to car). Significant off-trail travel skills are needed comfortable with class three climbing for the final summit block and parts of the final ridge.

We met at the Brickyard Park and Ride at 5 AM (earlier would have been better). Stopped at the rest stop before Coles Corner for the last bathroom break. No Pivy at the trailhead.  We were hiking by 7:08 AM.  Snow level at about 4800'.  Mosquitoes are a problem on the west side of the ridge as you go to the old lookout site.

Our route followed for the most part  Carolyn Graham description of her trip in 2014. Just add a few points.  Didn't see any flagging this time. At saddle 5600' (NW of the lookout site)
We started to descend directly from the saddle.  There was sounds of a creek running down and a moat that was forming just below the saddle.  We traversed skiers right and down climb a very short section as we made our way through the cliff section as we made our way in Dirtyface Lake Basin.  We traversed this basin saw some signs of old AVA debris. We continued to the next ridge just west of Dirtyface Lake from here we followed the ridge to the base of Dirtyface Mountain 6223'.  

It was now 12:15 PM. We were doing good. We still had a long ways to go. We had a traverse under the  Dirtyface mountain going over two bumps on the ridge to get to the base of the real climbing. As a group we had to make a decision. To stop here and climb Dirtyface Mountain and get out before dark or go for the main summit knowing we would be hiking out in the dark and won't making it home until midnight or later.  Our turnaround time was 4 PM.

Most parties will just decide they have had a enough and climb Dirtyface mountain instead. It being only a few feet shorter and a very impressive southwest face.  A very worthy goal in its own right.  If you decide to just climb the Dirtyface Mountain it will still be 12hr day or more.

Our group decided to go for main summit. As we traversed under the Dirtyface mountain
on snow and across the boulder field. We were not sure of how the snow conditions would be. With the snow baking in the sun. There were concerns of sliding and at the same time there were patches that may not be covering enough of the steeper hillside.  We used the boulder field under Dirtyface mountain  on the way to the summit and on the way back we stayed a little lower and traversed on the snow. We finally gained the ridge that leads to base of the Dirtyface Peak. It was now about  1:15 PM and we followed it more or less on top. Dropping down on either side which ever looked better. It was a mix of snow, rock, and dry ground.

At the base of Dirtyface peak on the accent we stayed just right of the ridge crest. And on the decent we took a little easier way down skiers left as it moved down on small benches until it got to the snow. Both ways work. Just remember to stay on easy terrain if you don't you could find yourself in class 4 are higher especially near the ridge crest. We reached the summit and stayed on rock not sure of the snow patch on top.

We made the summit and left shortly afterwords. It was now 3:30 PM and we had a long way to go before we would get on a dirt trail before dark.  We made it back on the trail and bellow the snow line before dark. We reached the trailhead abound 10:30 PM stopped by the rest stop to change before reaching home by 1:30 AM.

Trip stats about 13 miles (feels like more) and about 6200+ gain.  Total time a little over 15 hours. (8hrs up and 7hrs down). Our pace was moderate and took a short break every hour.
Used snow for water on east side after leaving the trail.

Optional gear brought: Snowshoes, microspikes, and bug spray.

Gear Used: Ice ax and Helmet, some used microspikes, but  most didn't. Snowshoes never left the pack. And bug spray was used by a few.