Searching for a Fortune of Gold
Well a week after an impromptu trip out to Blewett Pass to check out the western larches there, we decided to try for our original destination and grab or Fortune. The weather was perfect and with any luck the larches would still be rockin. Unfortunately many other people had exactly the same idea so by the time we got there the trailhead was very full.
We decided to head up to Fortune Peak via Headlight Basin on a basic easy scramble/ scree walk.Zephyr set a very fast pace to try to get ahead of everyone but once we passed one group we had yet another group. The passing of the groups continued all the way to Ingalls Pass where it seemed that every hiker was thinking of the same thing, the larches of Headlight Basin. After rushing past 30 or 40 people we finally made it to Ingalls Pass where yes we were greeted by many more people. None of us mined people but that many in this region of the mountains is actually quiet shocking. Word must have gotten around at this is the place to go for larches. Unfortunately though the larches were clearly past peak. Many of the needles had already fallen off and the ones that were out were now more bronze than gold.Still there were a couple of colorful alpine larches which made us feel rich with gold. Once past Ingalls Pass and then we took the high trail to Headlight Basin and made the scramble from there.
We picked the area closest to Fortune Peak to make the off trail scramble. Heading up we took our time up the scree fields. It was barely Class 2 and Zephyr picked a great route up the mountain from here. Soon we were out of the remaining larches and in the open. Views back to the east of Mount Stuart continued to be commanding. Soon we were on the ridgeline just sound of Fortune Peak. From there we just headed straight to the summit where stellar views awaited.
Once on the summit we spent an hour enjoying the perfect views of Fortune Peak. Clearly this peak some of the better views I have seen in quiet a while. Most of this was because of the perfect weather we had on the trip. We could see Rainier, Baker, Glacier Peak, Daniel, OverCoat not to mention closeup views of Stewart. On the summit we encounter a hiking couple who suggested we take the other way back.
On the way down we took the bootpath/ scramble back down to Lake Ann. The more establish way down actually was a little tougher than on the way up though still a very doable. During part of the bootpeth we actually lost the way down in section but we did make back down to the trail in good time. This route was much tougher than going down from Headlight Basin. Still it was great to check out because some of the views from this angle were simply amazing.
Once of the bootpath/scramble we took the Esmeralda Trail all the way back to the trailhead. We noticed a fair amount of snow on the north side of Esmeralda and we knew that winter must be coming soon. So despite there not being an many larch trees as in weeks past we were glad to get our fortune even if there wasn't that much gold.
It was the 15th summit Zephyr and I have done in a little less than three months and yet another awesome trip in a growing collection of successes.