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South Mt. Ozbaldy at night
posted by John : February 22, 2008

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Moonrise over Amabilis

Fresh from the heat of Disneyland I headed out with Daryl to tag Mt. Ozbaldy. A week later I wanted to return to the Cabin Creek Sno Park to tackle Ozbaldy's unnamed southern sister and since the two peaks are related (according to me) I called Daryl's wife, Michelle.

Since the anonymous bump is just to the south I have dubbed it South Mt. Ozbaldy and henceforth it shall be known by that name (on this website).

We rolled into the parking lot and again found it virtually deserted. A few cars were iced over. I figure those folks must have cabins somewhere around or perhaps they were camping up on Amabilis Mountain, the only real destination from the Sno Park.

South Mt. Ozbaldy rises steeply from the parking lot so we didn't have far to go before we started climbing. Like the last trip one step off the packed trail meant we sank deeply. Although there is a road/trail that circles the little peak we chose to eschew the established route in favor of a more direct approach.

The downside was we were pushing through trees for much of the climb. The moon was hidden behind clouds so there wasn't much to see anyway. In no time we were on the north summit of SMO (I'm tired of typing the whole thing). We wandered over to the south summit mostly to say we'd been there. It was a little more open so I tried to take some pictures, but the clouds had the moon all but trapped high in the sky and far away from us.

Instead, I poked around the south side and found a way down. Someone else had also been this way recently and we followed their tracks for a short distance. In the trees (more mature resulting in fewer branch slaps) the snow was rock hard. Anywhere it was a little more open the snow was softer. The difference between the two meant we frequently found ourselves not exactly on our feet. Entertainingly, Michelle made far more entertaining noises in the squeaking and squealing departments when she fell.

It seemed longer going down than coming up (for once), but eventually we found ourselves on the loop road on the south side. I had hoped to see the Yakima River that flows just to the south of SMO and we could hear it. We detoured through the woods and small meadows a bit, but didn't get close. Finally there was a steep slope down to the river so I dropped in for a visit, but found at least a 10 foot drop to the river itself and nothing to see in the darkness.

(Of course, a little ways down the road I could see where the Yak flowed through an open area that looked like fun, but time was growing short.)

The loop seemed interminable and eventually we had to climb over a berm at the edge of the parking lot. Blech.

As we were putting all our gear away a beat up car pulled in saw us, and took off. I can only guess they were looking to make us victims of a car prowl. We're heros! Hurray!

Total distance was about a mile and a third and 300 feet of gain.

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