Left the Y trailhead solo a little before 8am with beautiful clear skies. Hiked fast since a storm was forecast for later in the morning. After an hour the clouds had moved in and the wind was picking up. I decided to keep going until the rain got heavy or the storm started thundering. Luckily, the rain didn't come until a couple hours after I was off the mountain.
I hiked up Slide Canyon to Bear Meadow (where the big rock is) and then took the trail to Maple Flat. From Maple Flat it was just routefinding to the summit. I followed a rock band a bit above Maple Flat that inclines as it goes south. It offered a good path.
As I moved higher the snow got deeper, and I definitely appreciated my gaiters.
I didn't stick around long on the summit since the storm was coming.
Round-trip GPS stats: 7.22 miles, 3h23m
Gear: bit of water, waterproof shell, thermal underwear, gaiters, leather hiking boots. Didn't take an ax.
I hiked on a whim up to Maple Flat for a bit of exercise. I started around 4pm and made it up by 5:15pm at a pretty quick pace.
I planned to just turn around and head back down, but the views were too amazing to leave. The leaves were changing colors and the sun was setting. I spent over an hour at Maple Flat exploring and taking pictures. Some of them are available at http://www.brucec.net/pictures/mapleflat2006/.
It got pretty cold as the sun set, and I was glad I brought gloves.
I'd definitely recommend doing this hike at sunset at this time of year. It's gorgeous.
I hiked this one solo after exploring the area on earlier outings in the winter and summer.