Snowbank and Collier Peaks 2010


Hard work on a wet and cold day is still fun in the mountains.

Note: click images to see a larger version in a new window

We left town about 6:30. It was raining. Freezing rain, actually. But we were locked in, so we rolled with the defrost cranked to high and wipers on, hoping for tolerable weather.

It took us some time to establish the correct combination of legal access and off-street parking, but Erik's smartphone helped so we were on our feet at 8:45, following the power line up to Willow Creek. The car thermometer had said 25°, but it seemed warmer. Soon, despite a range of choices in clothing, we were all pretty much soaked. So no pictures. But moving well, thanks to Tom breaking pretty much all the trail.

This picture was taken later in the day, but pretty much tells you what you need to know. Tricky navigation and no views. And Tom breaking trail. When we got to the top of Collier at about noon, my wet hands went numb and I got no picture there, either.

Collier Peak from the saddle

We scampered down off the top of Collier and found some shelter behind a tree. More layers (some of them dry) helped our humor, so after lunch I took a few pictures. The panorama above is looking back from the saddle between Collier (pictured, on the right) and the main West Mountain ridge.

From here, it was about 1.5 miles with only a few hundred feet of gain. But in a ferocious, skin-numbing wind. If you look closely here, you can see one of the towers on the summit of Snowbank. Again, Tom breaking trail.

Ghost tower

And more towers. And Tom breaking trail.


We hid behind one of the buildings and standing the whole time, choked down some more food: "Smoke 'em if you got 'em."

But the clock was ticking. Despite us each having a headlamp, I did not want to try to navigate in the dark. So at a couple minutes past 2pm, we were moving once more.


The wind was just as harsh on the way back, but the drifted-in track and downhill direction made it go pretty fast.

Once we dropped off the ridge, it became much more pleasant. Then we had to make the decision: do we reverse our tracks back over Collier, or do we instead drop off the side and chase the drainage back to Willow Creek Reservoir?


We chose the latter. At first we were really enjoying the steady downhill with fresh views. The upper bowls were quite rocky, and we could look up at the northern flank of Collier.

But then we got to the part where the drainage got its name.

It was with some relief that we ran into the top end of the power line leading back to the lake.

Then it was simply a matter of following our tracks back to the car. We got there at 5pm with 20 minutes of daylight to spare. What were we worried about?


Mr. Natural Home | 2010 | Back to top of page | Questions :: e-mail to splattski