When I attempted mount Margaret last winter, I added two miles of road walking from the winter trailhead. After post-holing along the entire Ridge to the false summit, I turned back after triggering the collapse of a large section of cornice less than 5 feet from where Maverick and I were standing.
My 7 year old nephew began hiking with me this year. So far he has stood up to every test of his stamina and will, so when poopy weather ruined the plans for a few shorter hikes to nearby fire lookouts, I was not hesitant to bring Julian for my makeup attempt.
A word to the unwise like me, who fail to read signs at the trailhead: the Mount Margaret Trail begins a few hundred feet farther up Road 4934 from the entrance to the trailhead. Do not continue down the old spur road from the trailhead. THIS IS NOT THE TRAIL YOU ARE LOOKING FOR! After a short corrective bushwhack uphill we were on our way up the proper trail.
The only snow left on the South side of the ridge is under the tall canopy of mature forest, which covered most of the second half of the hike.This was Juian's first experience hiking through snow, and I'll admit it was amusing to watch at first. Even without traction devices though, he was moving right along as soon as he learned to keep his trekking poles vertical.
Just before we reached the false summit we were passed by a large group on their way down we stopped for a quick snack with both summits in view, and it was there that Julian decided he had enough. Somebody may have promised him ice cream if he could make it the rest of the way, because suddenly he was full of energy and soon after we were sitting on the summit. As we refueled I pointed out the surrounding Peaks. Box ridge, and several other attractive destinations look mostly melted out and ready for a summer ascent.
The descent was full of slipping and sliding. Julian got a few short glissades in and I showed him the plunge step, but the snow was too firm and he is too light to get much out of it. He fell down a lot, and was covered in a slurry of mud, lichen and algae before we emerged from the tall trees. There was plenty of whining from there to the car.
Light showers continued most of the day, but visibility was surprisingly good. We had decent views of Rampart Ridge from the summit and could see clear to McClellan Butte from the lower trail.
~7 miles Round Trip
~2000' Elevation Gain
6 hours car to car with plenty of breaks