We hit the trail at 6:10 a.m., it was cool but not cold. The night before was clear, but it got cloudy before morning which kept the temp up a bit. We entered from the Devil’s Lake Trail Head and the trail was clear with patches of snow. After about 500 feet of elevation gain (approximately 5900 feet) we hit snow. As the night did not get to freezing the snow was soft and forward progress was slowed a bit. After the initial 1000 feet of elevation gain we broke into the meadow. The slope mellowed, but the snow did not, so we used snow shoes for the next mile or so, until we started the push to ridge. The snow leading to the ridge varied in its firmness depending on its exposure to the sun, which was now out if full force. We kick stepped our way to the ridge (Approximately 8000 feet) and were greeted by a partially clear trail. The parts of the trail that were not covered with snow were scree and we almost wished for snow again. At about 9000 feet the trail was again enveloped in snow. It was snow the rest of the way to the top and as bad luck would have it, just as we hit the summit weather started moving in. We grabbed a couple of quick pictures and plunge stepped down to the scree. We had to put up with some whiteout and freezing rain for the first part of the decent, but once we dropped below 8000 feet the whiteout cleared and shortly there after so did the rain. Once again it was a clear sunny day and we finished our hike, tired but satisfied. This is a long trip, made even longer by the soft snow conditions. I would like to extend a special thanks to Steve who had posted a note on our van proclaiming he had found a pair of binoculars and if they were ours please call him. We had lost the binoculars early on as we crested into meadow and took a close look at the mountain to determine the best route to gain the ridge. Thanks again Steve.
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