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Arrowhead Mountain (winter)

Arrowhead Mountain (winter)

  • Mon, Feb 2, 2015
  • Arrowhead Mountain
  • Scrambling
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles

1/31/15 In this low snowfall winter, we thought Arrowhead might be our best chance at finding snow. We parked on the north side of the highway at a wide spot with room for half a dozen cars near Berne and walked east on the highway for about a third of a mile to a road leading down to the train tracks. We followed the road and tracks eastward until we were past the main creek draining the north side of Arrowhead and then headed almost due south, up the hillside. The valley floor had about a foot of soft snow, soft enough that we frequently post-holed. As soon as we entered the woods and started climbing, we had trouble. The ground was frozen with frequent thin patches of black ice, covered by only about an eighth of an inch of fresh powder, just enough to obscure our vision of the ice. Most of us had Microspikes, which did not do a good job of holding on the black ice. Despite walking slowly and carefully, all of us had at least a few slips. One member of the team (on his first winter scramble) had brought crampons instead of Microspikes. It turned out that his crampons did not fit his boots very well and we spent a lot of time adjusting and readjusting and brainstorming and improvising before we finally had a system that allowed him to proceed slowly. We finally reached the ridge at about 4800. Immediately, conditions improved. We had a few feet of consolidated snow with 2 inches of fresh powder. Travel along the ridge was rapid and pleasant, but due to the excessively slow progress up to the ridge and the knowledge that the return trip would be equally treacherous, we spent only half an hour ascending the ridge, reaching 5200. The return trip was indeed treacherous but uneventful and we reached the cars at sunset. Due to the concurrent Superbowl game, traffic on highway 2 was pleasantly light. We ate dinner in a Mexican restaurant in Gold Bar having the entire dinning room to ourselves. We unanimously recommend scrambling every year during the Superbowl game.


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