Andy and Hart Ridge as we take a breather en route to Mount Cirrus.
If your goal for the day is Cirrus, and you wish to get to the ridge without going over Lead Mountain, you can gain Hart Ridge from Hitchens Gulch by aiming for the Lead Mountain/Mount Cirrus saddle that is just south of Lead Mountain's summit. This will require some 3rd class scrambling to gain the ridge.
Once descending Lead Mountain, Hart Ridge starts out relatively mild. It is merely a boulder hopping jaunt from the saddle leading toward Cirrus in the distance.
The ridge is almost exactly a mile in length and at about the half mile mark is when the boulder hopping turns into 3rd class scrambling. Just pick the best line through all of the obstacles along the crest of the ridge. You may have to drop slightly to the West if there is anything you wish to avoid, but for the most part there is limited exposure and nothing too technically challenging.
Note that there are quite a few loose and unstable rocks along this ridge. Use caution and test anything that looks suspect. This would be a bad spot to sprain or break an ankle.
In the summer/fall months your typical hiking gear will be required. Keep an eye on the weather, as your bail out options are limited when in the middle of the ridge. You would have to try to force your way to the west, into most oncoming weather and away from the nearest trailheads. You could also try a very steep descent back into Hitchens Gulch, but most lines looked pretty sketchy.
In the winter/spring you will want crampons and axe. Make sure you are aware of the avalanche danger on the approach.
Plane Wreckage near Hart Ridge
The actual plane crash that claimed the life of 2nd Lt. Eldon C. Hart took place on the southern slopes of Point 12,098, just west of Mount Cirrus and Southwest of Hart Ridge.
TopoZone map of crash site
Here are a couple of web pages with info on the plane crash...
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