|4,211 ft AEG|
|Started at the Wind Cave TH with my buddy Shane around 10am. We were unsure exactly what to expect for conditions on this one. I was here a week earlier right after a good dump of snow and didn't make it too far up the trail before reaching knee deep snow. The weather since then was sunny and warm, so I expected icy conditions in the morning/evening with slushy snow during the day.|
We cruised up the Wind Cave Tr which was now packed down by the masses. At the junction to Bierdneau Peak Tr we got off Wind Cave Tr and made our way to the ridgeline on Wind Cave Way. Passed a group of 3 who would be the only people we saw the entire day. The trail was still packed down pretty well by foot traffic here.
Once we gained the ridge, we took a quick break before continuing towards the peak. A few sets of footsteps were there to follow for about half a mile, then from there we were breaking trail. Navigation wasn't an issue since the route sticks primarily to the ridgeline. This is when we started to hit real snow travel which took some work to get through. Along the ridgeline it varied from 6 inches to well over a foot in some places. We stuck to traversing the southern faces on occasion to avoid deep snow and trees on the northern side of the ridge, where the trail usually traverses.
On the bare summit we stopped for a 30 minute break to take in the awesome views and have some lunch. Both of us were pretty exhausted and starting to cramp up. We took it easy coming back down the ridgeline.
Once we hit the saddle which connected us back to Wind Cave Way, the trail was icy from sitting in the shade. We put on our microspikes and cruised down the mountain back to the TH. A fun but exhausting day!