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JosephNNBlack Mountain 2015

Voted 10/10

As of August 1, 2015, everything in mrh's original post remains spot on. The slopes were fairly dry come August. The Black Mountain trail was recently dressed by the Forest Service, but only 1.3 miles of the Nub trail. The outlook at the top is still actively manned. Black Lake offers the best fishing in the afternoon. The cutthroat are stocked about every three years. Creeks on the map were all running at a trickle. Two items to be aware of- 1, the trail coming out of Black Mountain which curves around the South slope of East Sister is broken. A pal and I ended up expending a good deal of energy braking brush and changing elevation to reconnect. We picked the trail back up where it intersects Lower Twin Creek just after a marshy flat at 6000 feet. After that, the trail is easy to follow up to the Nub. We didn't go beyond that point. 2, Cliff Lake was not accessible for us. We tried hard to insert ourselves at three points from the grassy ridge to the W-NW. It was far too difficult, steep, and dangerous with our packs, and we were low on water, so we had to make the hike back to Lower Twin Creek. With careful planning a person should be able to reach Cliff Lake. The lake was last stocked in the 70's and should have Westslope cutthroat. There was a campfire on the grassy ridge West of Cliff which looked to have been used within the last year. When we made our way back to Black Lake the following day, we were surprised to find people camping + 6 pack horses. It turned out to be a local logger and his family, from Orofino who visits the lake a few times each year. He was just as surprised to see us, since he's never encountered anyone in the area other than the lookout person. In our conversation, he did mention that he hunts throughout the entire Larkins area, but just North of Black Mountain is much too dry and hard for his horses to make regular trips. When we mentioned that the Forest Service wasn't very helpful in answering questions about the area, the local complained that the Forest Service hires young people from back East who know little about the area, and that their priorities have shifted away from maintaining trails. It took 5 hours to reach Black Lake from the trail head, and about 3 hours to descend back to our vehicle. In the end, our knees, ankles, and shoulders were shot. We were in awe at mrh having completed the Nub loop while visiting peaks in just one day.
Posted Aug 2, 2015 4:30 pm

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