Howard Mountain's South Ridge runs from the summit of Mount Cumulus for about a mile and a half to the summit of Howard Mountain. See the Mount Cumulus Page
for approach details.
From the summit of Mount Cumulus follow the ridge north to the summit of Howard. Your best bet is to stay exactly on the top of the ridge. That is where the rock is most solid and the scrambling is most straightforward. There is one major notch in the ridge about three fourths of the way across (going S-to-N). Descend the ridge down to the notch slightly on the east side. The ascent up the north side of the notch is straightfoward.
BAIL OUT OPTIONS:
There were many places where you could bail off the ridge to the east or west. However, bailing off the ridge still puts you a helluva long way from anywhere, or even timberline. The traverse from Howard to Cumulus took us over three hours of solid scrambling and little resting. If weather looks iffy I would not attempt the traverse.
I would estimate that at least 50% of the rocks I touched on the ridge moved. It didn't seem to matter how big they were - grapefruit-sized and television-sized rocks seemed just as likely to move. At one point I concluded that it wasn't a matter of "would the rock move"
, it was more a matter of "how much would the rock move."
Take great care in selecting your footing and handholds. The ridge would be a bad place to sprain an ankle or break a leg.
During the summer hiking season no special gear is needed, just standard kit for hiking in the mountains. During the spring or winter axe, crampons, and perhaps skis/snowshoes would be in order.
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