Scott and I reached the trail
head and began our approach around 9:30am. The weather report called
for thunder storms, but in traditional summer time fashion, there were no
signs of the impending weather patterns.
The colors on the approach,
and throughout the weekend, were a welcome surprise. Of all the trip
reports I Googled in the days before our trip, most included photos that
could have been transmitted from either one of the Mars rovers.
Our first sight of Hyndman
from around the West shoulder of Cobb.
Another funny thing about the
Googled reports. It seems everyone misses the trail on their first
time out. Lucky for me, Scott had already paid his Hyndman Virgin dues
and missed the trail when hiking with Alyson a few weeks earlier.
Seems I got off "Scott free".
So here's the
secret: Just after the trail disappears at the Yurt, cross the creek
and look for a well beaten path leading up the center of the steep grassy
Even if there were no 12'
mountains around the scenery would still be well worth the hike. But
we couldn't help but notice that the sky had lost a touch of blue.
By the time we reached the
Hyndman Basin, a full fledged thunder boomer had rolled over the range and
began pelting us with icy rocks. We raced to the nearest almost-flat
spot and flung the tent out like a one-man fish net, snapped just enough
clips on poles to keep the structure in place long enough to fling the rain
fly over the whole works (yes Travis, I remembered the tent poles this
time), then threw our packs in and zipped ourselves out of the storm.
We couldn't stop laughing as we tried to hold the tent together from the
inside while the wind argued from every direction.
attaching the remainder of the tent from within the shelter of the rain fly,
we napped for a bit and waited for the storm to pass. Once it looked
like it might clear, we decided to see how far up Hyndman we could get,
after all, it was still early afternoon. As it turned out, we didn't
get very far before the threat of another storm sent us back to camp.
Another opportunistic nap, and
another break in the weather found us half way up Cobb. The west ridge
is a spectacular climb (as much of it as we did that is), one we'll surely
come back to finish. But on this day, the roaming thunder storms were
making us a bit gun shy and we agreed that watching that light show from the
front row wasn't such a good idea. We watched as a storm to our south
and another to the west played a thunder head version of paper scissors
rocks, to see which one would swoop in and drench us. So once again,
we headed back to camp.
But the storms turned away and
we still had a few hours of sun light, so we headed west to explore a baby
summit at the end of Duncan Ridge. From here you can see Cobb on the
right, Old Hyndman in the middle and Hyndman on the (distant) left.
They are all actually a lot closer than they look in this panorama.
It's a good thing too because, of course, while we were there, it started to
We were up before the sun to
try to get some in climbing before the storm cycle repeated itself.
From the saddle between Hyndman and Old Hyndman you get some spectacular
views of Hyndman Basin to the south, and the Wildhorse Creek drainage to the
Our route would follow
(roughly) the crest of the range to it's high point.
Next time you read a route
description that says "it's a simple rock scramble", just keep in mind that
a broken bone on the side of a slope like this is a problem far from simple.
Although the route is not difficult, there's ample potential for your day to
go very bad. Take your time, watch your step and be ready to dance.
Imagine guys with red plaid shirts and suspenders running top speed on a
telephone pole floating in a pond at your last western style logging
show. Keep that thought in mind and stay light on your toes as you
pick your way long this endless pile of rocks.
See any loose rocks Scott?
Finally, at the summit we
found some solid footing.
The view from the top is worth
See our tent?
How 'bout now?
We cheated the rocks for a few
hundred feet on our way down by taking a snow finger that reached from the
summit, nearly to the valley floor. But when it got too steep to down
climb without tools, we rejoined our Precambrian rivals for a final traverse
back to the saddle, and on to our camp.
hike back to the car (which seemed to be a mile or two longer than it was on
our way up), and our weekend in the Pioneers was brought to a successful