Northwest Ridge Update

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Trip Report
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jun 30, 2014
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Northwest Ridge Update
Created On: Jul 1, 2014
Last Edited On: Jul 2, 2014

Getting there corrections

As you drive south on 89 you will see Emigrant Peak dead ahead on some of the straightaways. The other directions all say to turn west at the town of Emigrant onto Murphy Lane. You actually turn east which is toward the mountains. Go about 1.2 miles and turn right on East River Road. There is no sign here. Just stay on the paved road. It's about 3.3 miles to 6 Mile Creek Road and it sneaks up on you. Turn left on 6 mile Creek Road you will bear left at the only junction which is 6.5 miles down. Here you come to that last 1/4 mile of dirt road that was described as a single track in other posts which means a trail to me but it is really a rough double track dirt road. My buddy's Ford Fusion made it so any car can. Park at the sign. The road goes a couple of 100 feet more but there is no parking there. If you Google Earth it you can see the junction, our road going left and just barely make out the sign at the trail head and you can see a forest service white and blue trailer to the right.

Trail what Trail?

Other posts put the elevation gain at 4000 to 5000 feet. The elevation at the parking area is 5918 and the peak is 10,921 so that's 5003 feet gain. I am guessing the trail is about 5 miles with 1000' gain per mile. This is not an easy trail!
However the trail does start easy enough which lasts about a mile. Around the 2 mile mark you will hit a pretty steep section which will bring you out to the meadow. There are a couple of cairns and then nothing and no trail. We just followed the fence line through this sloping meadow to just below the trees. There is a brand new trail being constructed that you will see to your right which runs pretty flat to the south. Nobody was working on it that day. We got on this but figured out that it wasn't going up the peak when it just ended. We peeled off and up onto a non-trail zone and just followed the ridge up. Then magically a trail reappeared. It's actually an easy to follow but very steep trail that has many sections with loose rock and we did kick a few loose. The cornices near the top had melted out so there was none of the hairy snow ridge walking described earlier. In fact we only walked on about 20' of flat snow the entire hike. We made it to the peak in 4 hours and 40 minutes. Those guys that did this in 3 hours must be supermen. We spent about a half hour on the peak and went down the rocky ridge trail part the same way. I kept looking for a trail which would connect us to the one in the lower meadow but I never saw it and we had great views of just about the whole mountain side. We could see everything. The ridge trail just petered out and we ended up taking a side slope sometimes game trail which connected us to the top of the meadow and we walked down to those lower cairns from here. Perhaps the plan is to connect the new meadow trail with the rocky ridge part. I think the real trail is closer to the fence and straight up through the trees as others described it. Everyone just fans out in the big meadow so there is no trail there connecting the 2 sections and that new trail through us off the track. And FWIW there is a trail on Google Earth which zigzags through that non trail zone. I don't think that's correct, at least we never saw it. But I did notice another trail section in the trees a bit north of where we went. That would mean there are 2 parallel trails through this section just above the meadow. That section that we missed still had some snow so maybe we did that right thing anyway. The day was perfect with little wind. A really beautiful hike!

Update to the Update 2 days later
I talked to the ranger at the Livingston forest service office and she said that this new trail will indeed connect the upper and lower portions. She is not sure if it will be done this year. The new trail was just broken clumps of grass when we did it so it was not that great.   Yet!!!!  
Check out that pic for the details.



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