Ascent of Bridge Mountain on 2010-11-27

Climber: Robbie Mize

Others in Party:no one.
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, November 27, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Bridge Mountain
    Elevation:6988 ft / 2129 m

Ascent Trip Report

this climb was amazing. the whole day was fantastic. kind of eerie and dark but i really enjoyed being out and alone in it. the day started clear and cold. around 30 degrees at the house when leaving. ice on the winshield had to melt for a few minutes before i could go anywhere. got to Pine Creek TH at 6:15am, was on my way by 6:30. the north fork of pine creek canyon (fern canyon) is one of the most amazing places i have ever been. once above the main waterfall in the canyon the feeling of isolation is splendid. perhaps it is because it is so cold and nobody is here is why it feels so isolated. going through the canyon is awesome. beautiful and full of water and lots of ice everywhere!! some water crossings were harder because of water levels and ice.
routefinding in the canyon is never easy, but never really that tough. there was a climbing rope that was anchored above a fifteen foot cliff, allowing for passage up and down. later at a small waterfall near the head of the canyon i climbed a short face to the right of the falls and found a badly severed rope at the top of the falls wrapped around a tree. i had nothing on me to cut the rope all the way through. this would have been best since it was so messed up i didnt want to leave it for someone else to accidentally use thinking it was safe. i coiled the rope and put it under a heavy rock so wind or water or whatever couldnt accidentally push the rope down.
at the head of the canyon, i trended up and right, following a lot of cairns and weaving my way through a series of ledges and shelves, all precariously sloping towards the cliff below me. the exposure is great, the setting fantastic, bighorn sheep evidence everywhere. some seemed very fresh too. i thought i heard them at one point but i might have just connvinced myself a sound was them because i wanted to see them so bad. anyways they are defnitelyhere at some point. i almost didnt find the my way to the chimney/chute and was close to turning around. finally found my way to a chute that seemed to offer the best way up. up the chute and exiting on the right face, traversing right over towards the base of the bridge mtn headwall.
once i got up here the weather had changed from sunny and clear to very windy and dark and cloudy. very windy. i proceeded to the headwall and up the 4th class crack, missing the turnoff and continuing on to no mans land on rock that was steadily getting more difficult and more exposed. soon i was a bit strung out waaay up the crack, the wind really started to pick up, and i was about 2200 feet above the first place i would stop if i happen to slip right now. oh yeah did i mention it was like 28 degrees up here and the rock had ice on it in the cracks from the previous days' snow and i had to climb with gloves on? damn i love this stuff! but seriously it kinda freaked me out for a few minutes. i contemplated while at a good stance, then decided to proceed upwards. i climbed using very cold, sloping holds, about 60 feet right of the normal 3rd class ledges to the tree. i ended up cruising right up to the top of the bridge, missing the normal turnoff for the way to the bottom of the bridge. i the way back i could barely discern under some snow a painted on arrow pointing to the turnoff i missed. I DO NOT RECOMMEND PASSING THE TURNOFF. it was very scary for me.
anyways, the tinajas were all frozen, even the two big huge ones, one by the bridge with the huge tree (ponderosa?) and the other above it. great hike!!!!!!! happy to find the better route down the headwall. the way down the canyon was much quicker obviosly than up. about half the time.
did i mention that the waterfall in the canyon was surrounded by ice from all the frozen mist? it was beautiful. i failed to spot any of the frogs that inhabit this pool. not sure if this is ue to the not seeing them/looking in the right places or being too cold or hibernation (for frogs?). anyways i did see a lot of bighorn evidence and lots of cool birds. even a few 'packs' of birds if you will hanging out in the bushes and hopping/flying low when i came too close.
all in all a great hike and day i will be back.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4033 ft / 1229 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    Route:North Fork Pine Creek (Fern Canyon)
    Trailhead:Pine Creek TH  2955 ft / 900 m
    Grade/Class:3rd/ 4th class
    Quality:10 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Weather:Frigid, Very Windy, Low Clouds
very cold, very windy, threatened to snow.
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 10 Minutes

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