Peak Above the Nubble
December 22, 2009
This hike marks another uninterrupted solstice hike for at least ten years now for Bob. I have missed the last 2 years because of knee surgery (TKR). The annual solstice hike marks the beginning of the winter hiking season, Today we were joined by Steve Zimmer, a long time hiking companion who has made several hikes with us both in summer and winter. Later this hiking season we plan to summit Carragain, Vos Spur, and 2 bush whacks to the summits of Anderson and Lowell.
The weather today was crisp and cold with light snow in the air. The Peak Above the Nubble (PAN) is located north of N. Twin Mountain. PAN is considered a trail-less peak, but a bushwhack trail has been marked starting from a fire road on the east side of the mountain. We drove to the Town of Twin Mountain and turned onto a side road that is easy to find, a large sign “The 7 Dwarves Motel” sits on the corner. We followed this road, past the motel and just beyond found a good size parking area that was plowed. We strapped on our gear and followed a well marked snow mobile trail “over a river and through the woods” for about ½ mile until we reach USFS forest road. Just to the right of the entry onto the road is another forest road with a large boulder marking the entry point to the road.
We followed this road for about 2 miles. It was an easy walk in snow shoes with only a few downed trees in the path. We came to a well marked red tape trail that was recently brushed out. We climbed steadily through a hardwood forest, with a clear-cut to the right. The trail becomes increasing steep and after about a mile of steady climbing the trail started a very steep climb up the first peak. Snow levels increased to about 2 feet and climbing became difficult in snow shoes. We changed over to crampons and thankful we did as the trail became more steep with several rock and ice scrambles. Bob did a good deal of breaking the trail for Steve and me. We had to watch carefully for trail marking and Steve’s familiarity with the mountain (2 climbs previous) helped us to keep our bearings.
We climbed to the summit of the “first peak”, followed the trail into a small col and then it became the scramble to the summit of PAN. We reached the summit at about 1:00 in spitting snow and a dense cloud cover with no views. Not that there is much of a view, except to the south there is a small clearing that looks out over a ravine to the north and N. Twin Mt. beyond. We ate our lunch, signed the log which is fastened to a canister on a partially downed tree, took some pictures, listened to Bob scream because his fingers were very cold and then headed back down the mountain the way we came.
We arrived back at the parking a lot around 4:15 just as it was getting dark. This was a very challenging hike because the route we followed took us up the rock cliffs on the east side of the mountain. However, this is the best route as it is well marked by tape, brushed in areas, and the most direct route.