A Little South of Bessemer Mountain

Not so much a mountain climb, rather a long, long mountain walk. Even moreso on snowshoes!

THE SHORT VERSION

  • Approx 12mi RT, 4000′ gain
  • Snowshoes handy after 3500’ish
  • Trailhead is basically a gate with barely anywhere to park.
  • Beautiful views, few people!

GOING UP

There was only one vehicle parked at the trailhead when I arrived. Two sets of footprints headed up the gated road.

A little more than a mile out, the road hits the old CCC road. Here I followed the CCC road right for around a quarter mile. At that point I turned uphill, while the CCC road continues into the forest.

Not long after, a scale house for a small quarry appears on the right. The road makes four switchbacks after this bend before making a long line northeast.

Frozen puddles and sparse, crunchy snow progressively transformed into powder as the steps went by…

At about 3200′ I broke from the main road and followed the tracks up what is marked as a 4×4 road on the maps.

When I got up to 4000′ I broke off onto untrammled snow in the direction of a borrow pit approximately in between South Bessemer and pt. 4965. Had a bite to eat and considered heading towards pt. 4965, but the pre-stomped trail going up South Bessemer was a little more appealing.

Speaking of those tracks, I ran into their creators not long after my stop at the borrow pit. Met them at about 4300′, where the following transpired:

“You’ll see the tracks split up ahead; Go Left! We went right and ended up scrambling steep snow to the top. That’s when we noticed the easy way down. Go Left!”

Indeed, just a few hundred feet below the summit at another snow covered borrow pit, the traveler’s tracks split. I took their advice and went left.

Wind was blowing pretty good at the top, so I didn’t hang around too long, but spun around enough to take in the vast Middle Fork views.

GOING DOWN

Brrr! It was getting cold, but luckily it got a whole lot less windy coming down.

The snow covered trees and icy hills began to glow in golden light as the sun disappeared behind the cold haze of the horizon.

The light gave up the ghost with a few miles left to go. I draped my headlamp around my neck, but never turned it on.

A sliver of moon and the twinkle of stars glinted off the frozen road way; a ghostly, guiding iridescence in the indifferent cold of winter…

“Oh hey, headlights! Woot!”

DEBRIEFING

  • Snowshoes were very handy, if not required.
  • A mountain bike could be used to reduce some of the walking time.
  • Many more miles of snowy road to explore, Pt.4965 appears to be a good snowshoe objective as well.

PAPERWORK

A Discover Pass is currently required to park at the sparse trailhead.

HAPPY TRAILS!

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