Mount Pugh - Northwest Ridge, November 2002
It's been just under a week since Tom and I climbed Snowking Mountain and this great weather still shows no signs of letting up. Ok, this is definitely not normal and we're destined for droughts later this summer...but, all this great weather has really extended the summer/fall climbing season for me and for now I'm definitely not complaining. So with bellies still full of turkey and ham from Thanksgiving dinner, Scott, Craig, Jerry and I set out for a casual climb of Mount Pugh. We found our turn off the Mountain Loop Highway onto FSR 2095 to be already closed for the season and so parked the truck across the road and prepared for the 1.5 miles of road hiking in order to reach the trailhead (just after 2nd switchback).
Jerry and I established an impressive pace for the first 1.5 miles of trail for some silly reason and reached the somewhat uninspiring Lake Metan in no time. We waited briefly for Scott and Craig who were close behind us before continuing up the trail towards the avalanche slopes below Stujack Pass. We reached Stujack Pass and lo and behold, there was snow on the north side. It's almost December for Christ sakes and we're hiking around in shorts and t-shirts!
We climbed snow upwards from Stujack Pass, rounded a corner, and had our first good views of the summit. The snow-covered trail traverses along the north side of the ridge until it joins the ridge top. Avoiding the exposed icy sections of trail, we scrambled directly along the very top of the snow-free ridge. With the ridge now behind us, we climbed the almost completely snow-free south facing slope below the summit of Mount Pugh (class 2 - 3) to the summit. Upon return, we followed our tracks back down to the trailhead and reached the truck just as it got pitch dark.
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