Start Elevation: 11,539 ft. (Hoosier Pass)
Summit Elevation: 13,352 ft.
Elevation Gain: 2965 ft.
Round-trip Mileage: 8.79 mi
Start Time: 9:30am
End Time: 4:07pm
TRIP REPORT:We hit the trail from Hoosier Pass at 9:30am. The weather looked perfect for the day. There was a fair amount of snow on the ground at Hoosier Pass and so we started right away with snowshoes. The main trail heading east was well packed into the trees and so its possible snowshoes weren't entirely necessary, but we always like to have them. It was a clear trail to follow that led us out of the trees and into the shorter brush. We ascended mostly to the north of the crest of the ridge. At around 12000 we left the last of the brush and it was open meadow ahead of us. At this point there was also no clear trail anymore so we just navigated by sight to what seemed the high point of the ridge.
As we progressed further east-ward we got great glimpses of Mt. Silverheels to our south. We were surprised to see a set of power lines running up through the gap between Hoosier Ridge and Silverheels. The snowcover on Silverheels was thin enough it appeared to also be a safe winter climb at this point in the year. We continued to find mostly solid and wind-blown snow as we continued on the ridge. The wind got steadily stronger as we moved on.
The summit was windy so we didn't stay long. Sadly we did stay long enough for me to drop my Droid Bionic into the snow. I had been putting it into a zipper in my jacket and this time I forgot to close the zipper and it fell out on me. Was fortunate that the snow seemingly didn't affect it even as a chunk of it got in the headphone jack. We spent no more than 6 minutes on the summit and then headed down. We were wondering if we could catch Dad on the descent if we kept moving well enough. We made great time on the descent but the ups we hit were quite a challenge. We could feel the burn in the legs every time we had to go back up 100 feet just to get past another hump. As we descended back around the bend on the ridge and started heading west towards the Pass we stayed closer to the crest the entire way. This put us south of our ascent track which would come into play as we started nearing the snowshoe stash. We were looking attentively for them as we descended but came down about 300 feet away. As we reached a point where I was sure we'd passed them I checked the GPS and sure enough it showed we were off from the stash waypoint. I backtracked uphill and to the north a ways and found them, thankfully. We put them back on to ease the descent and made our way back to our tracks from the morning. We never did see Dad on the descent and as we proceeded I texted with him and found he'd already made it back to the car. We made great time coming back down into the trees and to Hoosier Pass. It was 4:07pm when we completed. This put the ascent time at around 4hrs 15 mins. The descent time at 2hrs 12 mins. We never did have to worry about facing the dark.
TRACK:BackCountry Navigator on my Droid Bionic worked splendidly for this entire hike. It even survived my own stupidity in having dropped it in the snow on the summit of Hoosier Ridge. Included for download here is a KML including the track taken by BCN.