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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Hibox Mountain

Thunderstorms turned us away 300 feet from the summit, but we had a great time anyway.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trails (when used) were in fine shape. 

Remember the old "fortunately, unfortunately" game we played as kids? Well, our trip was sort of like that, except we had more fortunes than unfortunes.

Fortunately, we chose to climb Hibox, a scramble much loved for its final summit block of acrophobia inducing exposure. Fortunately, we chose to take the seldom used "Tom Cushing" approach, skirting along the flanks of Lobox Mt, then running Hibox's southeast ridge.  We went along the trail for about a mile, to just before the trail crosses a creek. We then starting brush-bashing, keeping the creek on our left. Unfortunately, as forecasted, the brush-bashing was brutal and everyone was questioning my choice of routes. "Just be patient" I kept assuring them, promising gorgeous country once we broke through the infernal brush.  Fortunately, finally,  we broke through the brush and entered a veritable Garden of Eden. The canyon from 4800 feet to the pass at 5200 feet is stunning, the pass itself is breathtaking with amazing views, and the plateau at 5400 feet is a unique forest of miniature trees resembling bonsai.  And  then the real fun starts, with a rocky ridge  full of rock scrambling terrain. 

Unfortunately, just as we approached the col and the junction with the standard route, we were hit by a thunderstorm.  Fortunately, the nearby standard route afforded us a quick and safe way to descend.  Despite the rain, the way down was leavened by a blanket of wildflowers in bloom and our spirits were lifted (as were our glucose levels)  by the traditional ritual of eating summit brownies (even if they were unearned). 

Back at the cars, everyone was eager to try the mountain again. They were unanimous in agreeing that the Tom Cushing approach is far superior to the standard approach, even in the face of a hour or two of brutal brush-bashing.  If someone knows a route to the base of Lobox that avoids brush-bashing, please let me know!