Hum Ridge #5

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A most amazing place, Hum Ridge is also a challenge. This time, we got peak #5.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

It had been almost a month since we did Hum Ridge peaks 1, 2, and 3. Apparently, that is long enough to forget the sufferfest, because John wanted to go back and get peaks 4 and 5.

We agreed that we should try from the bottom this time, so that we could at least use some trail.

So we were on our feet at about 8 on our way up the Split Creek trail, which is in great condition. The GPS said we had missed the turnoff for the North Fork of Lick Creek, so after going back and forth looking for it, we were soon doing a little light bushwacking.

Trailhead
There really is a trail, although it's sometimes hard to follow. Here is it heading into the creek drainage, meaning we were about to turn left and start bushwacking steeply uphill. Trailhead

Along the ridge top, there are all sorts of granite gargoyles and humps , a reminder of the huge expanse of granite lower down, off the sides. Even as we admired the slabs and weird shapes, we were surprised to see this arch.

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There are actually two arches in that rock. We HAD to investigate. Here's John in the smaller of the two.

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This gargoyle looked at first like Atlas holding the world, but then we saw it more as Eve holding an apple (going up the steep hillside, we had lots of time to consider). "Apple" it is.

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By 11, we had climbed 3500' or so. Enough to finally see our peaks.

 

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Here they are zoomed in.

The point on the left is part of #4. 4 is actually taller than 5, but farther back. The true summit of 4 is behind what you see here.

5 is in the foreground, but has a long summit ridge studded with teeth, gargoyles, and crenelations. I'm not sure you can see the true summit here.

What you can see in the photo above is that we still had a ways to go. The GPS confirmed that, saying we had 1.5 miles to #5, and #4 was another half mile.

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After climbing down off the previous bump on the ridge, we were pleasantly surprised to have a park-like section to walk. Grassy, shady, and almost no downfall. In the Lick Creek range, this is heaven! Trailhead

Of course, that sort of thing never lasts. But it got us well across the ridge.

We lost some time figuring out how to climb what we thought was the summit of 5. We even took summit photos. But as we headed off to 4, we realized the actual #5 summit was farther along. There it is. I wonder how you get up that?

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That's the summit block. The slippery lichen makes it into an interesting boulder problem. And not much room on top.

After we each tagged, it was time for an overdue lunch. We hid from the slight breeze and took a real break. It was now about 12:30, and we had climbed about 5000'. Our legs were tired and our feet were sore.

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If the summit shot above doesn't seem impressive, I think this is Hum #5 shot from our stumble down the North Fork of Loon Creek on our previous Hum Ridge explore. The true summit is the high point on the right end of the ridge. This also gives you an idea of the exposure we encountered on the summit block. Trailhead

We had been getting glimpses through the trees of #4 all along the ridge. None of them were very encouraging, but we saw some possibilities. Now it was time to go verify. We started off clambering across, down, and over car-sized blocks as we dropped down to the saddle.

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As we got close to the saddle, the hillside turned into a steep 300' slab. That forced us onto the ridge top, where we clambered across black-lichen covered blocks placed at random angles. The drop on the right was about the same height, but close to vertical. Before it got too serious, we discussed our options:

  • Continue to the saddle, if possible, and try what appeared to be a series of Class 4 ramps on the left leading to easier terrain.
  • Descend the right-hand cliff down what appeared to be a series of ramps into the cirque, and then circle around to the right
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But as we were pondering, one of us noticed that it was already 1:30. That we had 2-3 hours to get there and back to this point. And it had taken us 5.5 hours to get here already. A little math told us that if we tried for #4, we'd probably be trying to follow the "trail" in the dark. That's a No Go, 10-4 good buddy.

As with with Hum #5 above, I think I have identified Hum #4 from our previous try. The gully marked here corresponds with the talus slide in the picture above.

We made the right call. It was 5pm when we got back to the truck on wobbly legs. On the drive home, we discussed how to best get #4. It's too cool to leave untouched.

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Map

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