NOAA had been saying the weather would be clear and in the low 40's for Friday. As I drove through Mackey in the pre-dawn dark, with three guys snoring in my ear, the truck thermometer read 2 degrees!
Since the Willow Creek camera showed a couple of inches of snow on the ground, we all brought our snow shoes. But, as the sky brightened it looked like we probably wouldn't need them.
Our original plan was heading up Howell Creek, but we were stopped by several No Trespassing signs. John pulled out my state topo map book (yes, I know it's useless, but it does help) and found an alternate route up Burnt Canyon. This route took us up to 7800 feet but quite a ways away from our objective of Jerry Peak. And guess what, NOAA was right! It was windless and close to 40 degrees.
We quickly made our way down (yes down) to the creek bed and wound our way through sage brush before we started up our selected steep ridge.
|Dylan and Dan heading up|
|John showing off the latest fashion in hiking shorts|
|Dylan and Dan with the Lost Rivers in the background|
With relatively warm weather, we sweated and grunted our way up to the main ridge at 9500 feet. Here it was apparent that the route wouldn't be a simple walk up, but we were all jazzed with what was in sight.
The last 500 feet had a couple of rocky outcroppings as well as a corniced ridge to our first objective - South Jerry Peak.
After these obstacles were overcame, we celebrated Dan's 40th peak this year with hugs all around. As you can see the views were outstanding. We had the Lost Rivers to the east, the Boulders and Pioneers to the west, and the White Knobs to our south.
|Looking back at South Jerry|
At this point we contemplated heading over to Jerry Peak proper, with John's GPS reporting it being something like 1.7 miles away. With the clear skies it looked much closer. After a bit we stopped to discuss continuing on or heading back. It was a little past 1:30 at this point and we could either make it a short day or a longer one. With plans of skiing the next day I was thinking we should cut it short, but before I could say anything, Dylan said we should go for it. So we did.
|Jerry Peak (hump in the center)|
The walking across this high altitude plateau consisted mostly of hard consolidated snow that would hold your weight, but with the varying contour and occasional post hole it wasn't too much fun. In a little less than an hour we reached our objective - Jerry Peak.
Once on Jerry we had a bite to eat and enjoyed the sunshine. At this point it was almost 3 o'clock and John's GPS told us we had a little over four miles back to the truck. We retraced our steps for a bit, and then dove off the plateau down a different ridge with the idea of looping back to the truck. Our legs were a bit tired and coming down this steep ridge didn't help them.
|The trucks down there somewhere.|
Upon reaching the drainage it was just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other as we contoured around in the snow. The sun quickly left us and as dusk was turning to dark we reached the truck.
Turned out to be a tiring, great day!
South Jerry Peak - 10,020 feet, Jerry Peak - 10,015 feet
Elevation Gain: 3400 feet
Distance: 11.3 miles