I had attempted Boundary Peak twice before; first in November 2003 when strong winds turned me around, and again around September 2004 when Dinah & I drove from Sunnyvale, CA at near sea level, and I developed altitude sickness at about 12,500 ft.
This time we arrived at the start of the 15 mile road to the trail head on Friday afternoon, 11 June 2010. I packed my pack and drove from the motor home at 5,00ft to the trail head at 9,000ft, set up my tent, and spent the night, giving me some time to acclimatize. It snowed a little during the night and the morning was cold. I started hiking at 6AM, but soon ran into snow flurries, and turned around just below the saddle 2 hours later. I was concerned about possible snow, high cold winds, and low clouds limiting visibility. I was wearing new boots and they hurt, and I didn’t have the right equipment should I need to cross or climb on snow. I returned to the motor home, repacked, and spent the night there.
Sunday I was on the trail at 7:30AM in warm temperatures (low 50s), bright sunshine, and little wind. This time my pack weighed 22 pounds and included boots, crampons, and snow gaiters as well as extra warm clothes, rain gear, food and water. On all three previous attempts, I had been unable to find the trail across an area of scratchy desert plants below the saddle and ended up going cross country. But coming down from the saddle on Saturday’s attempt, I had found the trail, and so I was able to follow it back up, saving some time and effort. Two hours to the saddle and three more to the top. Hiking got harder as the air got thinner but there were no particular problems. Just below the summit it was necessary to climb about 20 feet of snow, but deep footprints were already in place. The trail was otherwise pretty much free of snow. I spent a little over ˝ hour at the summit with a guy and his dog, then headed down. About the top third of the hike is over medium sized rocks. The middle section is small rocks and loose gravel, and the bottom third, from the saddle down, is dry stream bed, brush, and meadow. Coming down, the center portion was the toughest – slipping and sliding as gravel underfoot slipped on rocks like ball bearings. I reached the trail head at 4PM, tired but happy. 44 down, 4 to go!