Ascent of Speckled Mountain on 2014-01-14
|Date:||Tuesday, January 14, 2014|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||2906 ft / 885 m|
Ascent Trip ReportTemperature was unseasonably warm: 33-40F during my hike. This made for a challenging slog up 2,200 vertical feet on unsupportive snow via the little-travelled Cold Brook Trail. There were no discernible snowshoe tracks to speak of, and only a short section of about 0.3 miles had been snowmobiled. I parked at an unnamed, unpaved, unplowed road near some condos on the upper section of Mountain Road, NW of Kezar Lake. A sign next to the road stated "hikers welcome", although there was no official parking area. This is as good a place as any in attempting a winter ascent of Speckled.
I snowshoed up the road, which passed three camps and a large concrete water cistern, and the route continued into the woods as an old logging road. It had a couple yellow blazes here and there, so this trail does see some maintenance. After 20 minutes, I hit a snowmobile trail and followed an arrow towards the Cold Brook Trail. Soon enough, I hit the main trail and passed a junction that indicated I had been on the Evergreen Valley Connector. It is straightforward from there. Up, up, up, past the Wilderness Boundary and into a section of bare rock and alpine lichen with impressive vistas. You'll eventually crest a rise and see a sub-peak on the right and the wooded summit on the left. You'll angle towards the former, and once you hit the high point, you'll head back towards the left and up 300 more vertical feet to the summit. There is a good area with views here, five concrete footings from the old fire tower (plus steps) and a benchmark.
Total trip took me 2:10 up, 10 minutes on top, then 1:05 down. I felt awful on the climb, partly due to a lingering respiratory ailment, and partly due to the sloppy snow conditions. Following my own tracks downhill helped immensely. Wore snowshoes the entire way, although some of the bare rock was pretty glazed over with ice and microspikes might have come in handy. Enjoy!
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