So, for some reason I took a pass on going with Brian, Greg and Joe a couple weeks ago to do this one in steep, soaking woods and rain. Perhaps it was the awful memory of Lowell still so fresh. No, wait, yes, it was definitely that. So I inadvertently turned the guys into my scouts. They assured me of a good route on this peak which doesn't have the greatest reputation. True friendship means sharing this info., knowing that they would never lure you up a bad route for a good yuk amongst themselves. Well, at least you hope so.
So I arrived at the Old Osseo, and as usual, was full of anxiety that someone was going to yell at me. These things seem to singularly happen to me. I went up to a small stream crossing around 1600' or so, and kept going a touch until the woods opened up, taking a bearing for the SE ridge.
The hobblebush cleared up quickly, and in short order the ridge defined itself well enough. Woods were mixed age hardwoods. The steepness, though not excessive, was beating me up though, and I kept checking the elevation. Altimeters suck when you realize you're doing 50' between stops. I finally found an appropriate pace and around 2800', I started hitting thick stuff, but this disappeared it 10 or 20' every time I ran into it. Sweet! This is only about 300' below the summit.
There was only one patch of young fir and blowdowns that lasted maybe 5 or 10 minutes, but that was the worst of it. Next on the plate was a high ledge at 3000' and two more just before the summit plateau, all easily skirted. Nice little summit, and as seems to happen a lot, that's when the sun came out. I had to be pleased with this route, as I've heard about more than a few others not being so happy, including those coming up from the west. What was even better was I was expecting dewed up trees, and they were dry as can be except for a little on the summit. Still better, there were zero bugs except for one dopey black fly that met its demise at the Palm of Death. What a difference from being eaten alive last week.
I intended to take the ridge back down, as I don't mess with good woods if I find them. :) Around 3125', I stepped down this little drop on a herd path and stopped short, standing just right of a 6-8' long chasm, about 1.5-2' wide. Ordinary enough until I could see that the bottom was at *least* 15' deep. OK, that is not what I'm used to seeing. Looking a little more, I saw said chasm right underground for as far as I could see, right under the place I had just stepped. Not cool, but at least it supports the moose. For now. This may be the only time I've had serious reservations about hiking solo, as the smooth and tight walls might make for difficult shimmying, and it'd probably swallow the sound of a whistle. Ah well, might want to keep my eyes open a little more. Maybe. No bones at the bottom, BTW.
Note the herd path on the second picture.
Moving on from my Drama Queen moment, I hit consistently thick stuff from 2900' to 2800'. By many mountains' standards, not a big issue. As it turns out I was off my upward track by a small bit, just another reminder how a small distance makes such a difference. So again, once i hit 2800' it was easy going. Around 2400' I realized I had fallen off the ridge and was instead heading straight for the ravine. Not remembering how far the slide stretched and wanting no part of that alone, I regained the ridge and then just followed the sun, which would bring me a bit north of where I entered. Came across a line of flagging heading straight for the summit. Sigh. It was somewhat aged, being brittle, and pretty tight around one of the larger trees. I took whatever I came across. Wished I had studied the entries a little closer. Assuming they made it.
I got home before noon (11:59 - no kidding), much to my wife's shock that I had actually predicted a time accurately. So thanks to the guys for the great route!