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View Full Version : Mt. Flume 3/21/08...........almost



billysinc
03-22-2008, 07:25 PM
With all the talk about insane winds we decided to hike Mt. Flume by the Osseo trail. We figured it's location would be pretty sheltered from anything big. We got a little bit of a late start due to the traffic coming through Boston but we finally got underway at 10:00am.
The LW trail was well packed out and even with snow shoes took under a half hour to reach the Osseo trailhead. Once on Osseo we had to break through the 4 or so inches of fresh powder that fell the night before and the lower section went quickly. The winds so far weren't anything to even worry about and it looked like our plan had payed off. Once we got to the switchbacks the winds picked up some and it began snowing or at least it seemed like it was snowing, who knows. Once we got about half way up the switchbacks it became ever more difficult to follow the trail. Any evidence of a trail was gone and the blazes were getting tougher and tougher to find. A couple of times we got off track but managed to find our way by turning around and looking at the backsides of trees for blazes. Judging by the amount of time we were chewing up we decided that we would turn around by 3:00 whether we reached the top or not. We finally reached an area somewhere near where the ladders should be when we could no longer find the trail. My altimeter read just over 4000 feet and we were in a section of steep snow that was loosely drifted waist deep. I tried going up and just found myself gaining a couple of feet then sliding back the same. The wind was now cranking and the visibility was going away quickly with all the blowing snow, the temp was hovering at 10 degrees. The other thing that was happening was that our tracks were filling in quickly as well. I searched the area a little bit more but I couldn't find anything that looked like a trail anywhere except straight up. Jay searched the area just below my position with no luck as well. Even though it was only 1:30 we decided that going on from there not knowing exactly where we were going and with no visibility and high winds was just not safe so we ended it there. My guess is that the steep section I was on had a ladder buried under it which would explain the lack of blazes. The trip down was quick with ever increasing winds. This time it just wasn't meant to be but even though we didn't reach the top we still had a great time instead of hanging out in our cubes at work.

I didn't get too many pictures, I'll try to post what I got soon.

dangergirl
03-23-2008, 07:37 AM
Nice report! There is so much snow right now that it seems to have burried everything! I really don't remember so much snow late in the month of March. It is definately still winter up north! Can't wait to see your pics!:D

KD Talbot
03-23-2008, 10:13 AM
Yeah, that Osseo Trail is nice in good weather, but it was a real challenge in the snow. We almost turned back at several points. Not too sure how we made it, just dumb luck I guess. Probably the hardest climb we had this winter. Same problems, up a few feet, slide back twice as far. This trail defeated some really hardcore hikers this winter according to some trip reports I've read, so you're in good company. You'll get 'er next time!

KDT

FisherCat
03-26-2008, 04:41 PM
Sorry about the fact that the blazes almost vanished after the switchbacks, reason being we were only able to put new ones up last year just to the top of the switchbacks, maybe a little beyond. What you saw after that were old ones which are barely discernible as it was. We should have the latter half done after this summer. Nice report by the way!

KD Talbot
03-26-2008, 07:53 PM
Just as a side note, Scott, keep in mind there is up to 8 feet of snow in places out there right now. A lot of blazes are under the depth of the snow, and that is without drifting. On our trip we had trouble above the ladders, where the trail jogs to the west through the thick trees. After a few failures we figured out the way. I have read several trip reports where people gave up in this section. I'm not sure what could be done to make this section easier to navigate, an arrow, I guess. It has been an extraordinary winter as far as snowfall goes, when we climbed in June I thought the trail was well blazed.

Keep up the good work out there. This trail has proved to be one of the harder trails to conquer this winter because of conditions. Without your dedicated work it might have been impossible.

KDT

billysinc
03-26-2008, 08:46 PM
Thanks for responding FC. I'd like to head back up there this year once everything thaws out to see where we really needed to go. You guys do a fantastic job with your trailwork. This might be one of those sections that's very obvious when the ground is clear.

FisherCat
03-26-2008, 09:40 PM
I saw on a posted trip report from earlier this year some of the blazes below the switchbacks were already at knee height so I'm not surprised if by now they were covered in spots. Depending on what the next 2(or more) months entail, its going to be a wet late spring/early summer for trailwork. It will be interesting to see what the full melt does to trails throughout the Whites.