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Trip Report    

Ruby Mountain (winter)

(May 2nd trip)
Everyone agreed to staying overnight at Colonial Creek CG, which worked well. The owls finally quieted once the nearly full moon set. A chorus of robins woke us up slightly before our agreed-upon wakeup time.

The route is broadly simple - follow the ridge up to the top. The details are anything but, with yet another buttress to surmount every few hundred yards (or so it seems) for the first 3000' of elevation gain. It is helpful to have everyone in the group scanning each major obstacle. This being my third attempt I remembered many of these, which also helped. Once finally out of the contiguous forest - and beginning of unbroken snow - routefinding is much easier. A bit above this we stashed some bottles of water for our return, because we still had over 2000' to go. Snow conditions were highly variable from icy patches to deep soft snow.

At the knob at ~6300' we agreed that some would enjoy the panorama from there while others would attempt to summit in the dwindling time available before the turnaround time limit. Managing to avoid the cornices, the adrenaline group managed to summit and start back with 15 minutes to spare. While tough, the views on this beautiful day were staggering - gorgeous views in every sector.

The downclimb was fairly straightforward if not easy (choice of sliding with snowshoes or postholing without). We picked up the party on the knob and descended to our water-bottle stash. At some point below the end of the snow we lost our track and struggled to regain it. We ended up cycling east and west of the proper track, adding about 0.5miles to our return, and having to use headlights for the final descent to the road and our exit about 20 minutes past sundown.

As on a prior trip, we found many calypso orchids - more than I've seen anywhere else. The snow conditions, while not ideal, were the best I've had on this route.

 

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