The originally planned trip was a Mansfield Ridge traverse, but weather forecasts for the mountain top called for a high around 10F and winds over 40 mph for a wind chill in excess of -20F, so the trip was changed to a bushwack up Dewey. We met at the Underhll Center commuter lot at 9, consolidated to two cars, and headed to the Stevensville parking area (which was almost full). It was overcast and snowing as we started.
We got our gear on and started up the Nebraska Notch trail at about 9:20, immediately branching left onto the Overland ski trail. Although we were looking for it, we never saw the Long Trail crossing, as white blazes on snow covered trees marking an unbroken trail are pretty hard to find. The trail was packed along the 1.9 miles to the Devil’s Dishpan just north of Dewey which reached around 10:35. From the Devils’ Dishpan we turned right, still following ski trails around to the east side of the Dewey ridge until we branched off at the sign to Bruce Trail and started breaking trail and bushwhacking up to the ridge.
‘The sky started clearing, the temperature started dropping, and the wind (which was never too bad) subsided as we climbed the ridge, so by the time we reached the summit we had calm and cold air with sun and blue sky. The initial climb was steep through dense trees in spots, but opened out when we reached the ridge. We continued up the ridge, encountering and briefly following some old ski tracks, until we reached the first of several sets of very steep climbs at the 3 mile mark at about 12:20 PM.
The final 0.3 miles to summit took an hour and 40 minutes, and saw us clawing our ways up several extremely steep climbs and breaking trail through snow that was occasionally chest deep, with everyone shared in the trail breaking work. We reached the summit at around 2 PM and almost missed the summit canister, as only a little bit of its red color was peaking out from the snow covering it. It was also solidly frozen shut, so we didn’t get to “log in”.
After a few photos we started back down about 2:15, following our original trail, getting back to the cars around 4 PM. As Darryl noted, it took us only 5 minutes longer to complete the entire return trip than it did to climb the last 0.3 miles to the summit!
Photos thanks to Darryl and Justin, detailed times and distances thanks to Darryl’s GPS track.’
Trip leader: David Hathaway
Participants: Darryl Smith, Robynn Albert, Dan Hildebrand, Justin Siegel