Fighter pilots became/become an ace after five kills. As we were descending Mount Rose this past Sunday, me for the 5th time this year, I figured it made me an ace on this trail. Just one of my random thoughts while semi-mindlessly descending the beautiful white wintery scene, where the only sound is the swoosh and crunch of snow, and the occasional bird chatter.

Why hike it so much? Well, it’s the best distance/gain trail close to Olympia. A great training hike they gains 3,500’ in 3 miles. Only an hour and 15 minutes from home.

I’ve been going alone over the winter but this time Jean joined me. Her first Mount Rose summit this year.

Boots on the ground at 7:30AM, with one car in the parking lot (they only went a short distance past Horse Camp), and one arrived shortly before we set off.

I was not a speed mission on this day so noticed things I don’t normally.

We took a steady pace, ascending about 1,500’/hour give or take. A dusting of snow beginning around 1800’ elevation.

Just seeing a dusting of snow.

By 2,400’ or so we hit solid boot packed snow that was firm and a bit icy with just a light dusting of new on top. And slippery! Technically we should have put on microspikes at this point, but was manageable so waited until Horse Camp we took only a brief break since I was still on my 16:8 fast. That’s 16 hours not eating followed by 8 hours of time to take in calories. Ultimately I did the entire 5 hour up and down on no food since 8:30pm the night before. And did surprisingly well.

Above Horse Camp (HC) we eventually passed where the earlier couple had turned back so we had a1/2” new on a solid boot pack. the snow tended to ball up on our traction devices, but easily knocked off.

The final ascent up the last slope to the summit block was well tracked but a bit dodgy in spots. Just required careful steps. The snow has really filled in the summit block area. the weather cool with low clouds. Only a glimpse of sun. Shortly after hitting the summit the two guys who arrived at the parking after us showed up.

At the summit Jean at a few calories and drank so extra. I had water. After descending the summit slope some other hikers were heard up. At first I thought I knew the first person in-line (Ron Holcomb and fellow Mountaineer member and scrambler) but then I wasn’t so sure. Maybe. Nope, not him. So we shared only passing comments about the beauty of the day and weather. Maybe something about the boot path. Long story short, after thinking, is that Mathew? About that time he recognized Jean and I saw Dean. Okay. It’s the Dean/Ron/Gary/Mathew clan. But missing Bob today. We chatted a bit and we continued down while they continued around the loop.

The descent went well. The snow was softened up, and we were back to the car in under 5 hours total. My record with 20 or 30 pounds (don’t remember) and snow is 3.5 hours RT.

Today’s reward was a stop at the Model T Pub and Eatery in Hoodsport. Jean got a BLT. I had a French Dip. We each had beers. No photos. I followed up my lunch with an ice cream from the coffee place across the street.

Only the second time eating here. It’s actually pretty good. My friend Jeff snd I stopped just last Wednesday, March 22nd. I had a French Dip that day also.

I have grown to like Mount Rose in the wintery months. The snow makes each trip different. I’ve spent time post-holing, making fresh tracks, and walking on a firm boot pack. What will the next time be like? Different, Im n sure!