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The trail was a bit of a surprise. Dave's guidebook mentions some old logging roads and cow trails, but this was a bonafide trail, perhaps developed after the book's 2009 publishing date. It starts off using an old road, but becomes a good trail in short order, winding its way through forest for about a mile and quarter until treeline is reached at the base of the NE Ridge. The trail actually curves right to end at the moraine leading to the easier North Ridge, a route I would use for the descent. It's the NE Ridge scramble that is highlighted in the guidebook and it was this route I planned for the ascent. From the time I left the trail to the time I reached the summit, 45min was consumed, a decent amount of time for a scramble. There are two scrambling sections on the ridge. The lower one is a broken, not-quite knife-edge ridgeline with a narrow path to walk along at the top. The going is standard class 3 with steep drops off both sides that make it feel quite committing. This section can be bypassed with a talus traverse on the right (northwest) side of the ridge, but that would be missing out on half of the fun. Following a tame middle section, the ridge steepens with a second class 3 section, this one characterized by broken slabs that make for some fun scrambling as well. Easier ground can be found to the left, but I thought it good fun to stick to the very ridge (the right side drops off in extreme cliffs). The guidebook says, "this is a serious undertaking, sometimes turning back experienced scramblers." My take is, if it turns you back, you aren't an experienced scrambler. Good fun, this one, but hardly what I would term "serious."
The summit had a CMC register just over a month old, and already there were almost five pages and over a hundred entries. This one seems quite popular, though I don't know how many of those used the NE Ridge. The North Ridge is pretty tame by comparison, a heap of talus with a use trail of sorts running along much of its length. Near the bottom, the use trail becomes a bit steeper and sandier as it veers right to drop down to the moraine found on the north side of the peak. One needs to cross this boulder & talus field to get back to the trail to the east. The moraine is more settled than these things usually are and it takes about ten minutes to cross it. Once back on the trail, it took less than half an hour to find my way back to the TH, finishing up by 9:30a. The hike itself took about two and a quarter outings, making for the shortest effort in the past few weeks.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Lone Cone
This page last updated: Mon May 18 11:00:55 2020
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