TOTAL MILES: 9.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: ~3400 ft
PACE: “Quick” (~2.5 mph)
DIFFICULTY RATING: Very Difficult
ESTIMATED HIKING TIME: 6-7 hours
PERMITS: None needed
RSVPs will open on 4/11/12 at 7:00am
CARPOOLING: RT mileage is 80 miles, give or take; we suggest a mileage donation of 10 cents/mile/person, or $8.00. Exact change makes it easier to divide among our drivers. No one will be turned away for an inability to contribute. Thanks!
Skip’s trip a couple of weeks ago got me thinking about how long it’s been since I’ve done my absolute favorite hike in the Gorge (11/11/11, to be exact), and this past Sunday I could hear Heartbreak Ridge taunting me from afar…
Starting from the Bonneville Hot Springs Resort, we’ll take the Dick Thomas Trail up to Carpenter Lake, then we’ll follow the old logging road up as if we were going to Greenleaf Falls, hit the PCT and turn left (towards Canada) for a slightly longer, more scenic, but less step route up to where we’ll meet East Heartbreak Ridge. This is where the fun begins! As we head up Heartbreak we’ll gain ~800 feet over 0.6 miles, catch our breaths and check out the Saddle Viewpoint, then gain another ~950 feet over 0.6 miles, with a 300 yard “scramble” up a talus slope and ever improving views, until we reach the blissfully level top. Once up top, if the Weather Gods deem our efforts worthy, we’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of Hood, Adams, St Helens, and Ranier (and maybe even the tip of Jefferson). After we’ve refreshed ourselves with lunch and scenery, then the fun *really* begins as we start our descent down West Heartbreak Ridge. Some of you may have heard me say that “it’s not a hike until someone ends up on their butt” (usually me, by the way), well, this is the part where the “real” hiking begins. Even after a prolonged spell of dry weather, this part of the trail is slick with loose rocks, and there may be some residual snow/ice on the trail to boot, so this section of the hike will be the most dangerous (I’m just saying this in the interest of full disclosure; so long as we take our time we’ll get down in one piece). Once we get off of the scree and back onto regular trails again after about 0.5 miles, it’ll be smooth sailing as we head back down to our waiting cars and home via a slightly more direct route than the way we came up.
Snow is the most obvious wildcard. It looks like the worst of it has receded up the sides, but there’s probably going to be quite a bit of it up top. I’m not bringing my snowshoes, but I am bringing my Ice Trekkers along just in case I need some extra traction. Hopefully it’ll be packed enough that we won’t be post-holing too badly up top.
Please note that there is a MANUAL waiting list for this hike. What this means is that if a spot opens up everyone on the waiting list will automatically receive an e-mail notifying them of the opening. The first person (whether on the waiting list or not) to RSVP gets the spot.
NO DOGS, please.
What to bring:
• Sturdy hiking boots/shoes with at least one change of socks
• Three to Five light layers of clothing that can be adjusted or removed as necessary (NO COTTON!!!)
• Rain gear
• Safety whistle, preferably on a cord around your neck (highly recommended)
• The 10 essentials*
• Trekking poles (never a bad idea)
• Lunch, snacks and plenty of water
*Navigation, Sun protection, Insulation, Illumination, First Aid, Fire, Repair Kit/Tools, Nutrition, Hydration, Emergency Shelter. For a more detailed description, check out “The Ten Essentials” on the Portland Hiking Meetup Group’s FILES page.