Yocum Ridge via edge of Sandy River Canyon (sort of)

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Chip Down
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Yocum Ridge via edge of Sandy River Canyon (sort of)

Post by Chip Down » November 8th, 2018, 9:38 pm

Plan was to start at the abandoned Upper Sandy Guard Station around sunrise, and follow the upper edge of cliffs and the Sandy Canyon lip up to the end of Yocum Ridge Trail at 6000' (maybe beyond if time allowed).

After a crisp sparkly frosty hike by headlamp, I found the cabin without too much trouble. Followed a trail up, parallel to Sandy, but it soon switchbacked and joined the trail to Ramona Falls. From there I just followed intuition, looking for clearings in the brush, staying as close as I could to the edge of Sandy Canyon, until I was forced on a steep route essentially perpendicular to Sandy. Ended at cliffs. I wasn't surprised. Turned right, followed base of cliffs (parallel to Sandy again). Got into some tricky terrain. Hard to see clearly through the trees, but looked like it wasn't going to end well, so I backtracked down along the cliff base until I could get up on top and then continued east (once again parallel to Sandy). Again, brushier than expected. Progress was painfully slow. Every time I got a view down into the canyon, I was disappointed at my meager progress.

Came to a high point where I finally got a nice view of the mountain (4450'). More brush, but then finally on a nice ridge, fairly clear, steep, creeks audible on either side. The gully to my right was forcing me away from Sandy, but it was a good route, so I didn't fight it.

Abruptly, at 5200', the slope eased off, and I was in snowy beargrass in an open forest. For the first time all day, I was having fun. But I started to worry. I had been assuming I had a quick easy way down once I got to the end of Yocum trail at the 6000'viewpoint, but I was starting to realize it might be tough to find the trail in the snow. Oh well, wouldn't be the first time I had to find my own way down that ridge in the snow. But it meant I had to stick to a strict time budget (had to be on a clear trail by sunset).

Eventually, inevitably, the forest thinned out, and I could see the viewpoint ahead. It looked weird in all white. I wasn't even sure that was it, but the view was amazing, and going higher would involve a steep slope leading to more brush, so this was it for me. After a snack, pics, a couple work calls, I prepared to head down, and then noticed the trail! There had been recent traffic. Well, with a safe descent route established, I could afford to go higher, so I did, up and north to views of Sandy Glacier and, what, McNeil Point I suppose. That was enough. I'd been on my feet all day, and the bushwhacking and re-routes and deep snow had all worn me down.

The hike down Yocum trail was pleasant, but the trees were dripping on me. Earlier in the day, when I saw how much snow was in the trees high on Yocum, I knew I'd have a soggy descent. Yocum pond was frozen, but just a little below was my first opportunity of the day to sit on a bare rock in the sun. Not for long though; sun was getting low.

From Ramona, I took the long scenic route. Arrived at the Sandy crossing after sunset, but alpenglow was on the mountain. I sat for a few minutes until it faded, and continued to the TH, arriving without headlamp, barely. Found my windshield icy.
Attachments
1.jpg
The 6000' viewpoint.
2.jpg
Arrow was my goal, but I just didn't have the time and energy to plod through more snow. Anyway, been there before.
3.jpg
Mississippi Head from Yocum trail.
4.jpg
Yocum pond. Trail guide says it's not a good water source. Indeed, it wasn't.
5.jpg
6.jpg
Protesting this elaborate expensive bridge, I splashed through the creek.
Capture.JPG
Yellow "X" marks the gully that forced me away from the edge of Sandy Canyon. Looks like I could have dropped i and followed it.

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mjirving
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Re: Yocum Ridge via edge of Sandy River Canyon (sort of)

Post by mjirving » November 8th, 2018, 11:03 pm

Doesn’t sound like a promising re-route of my high route!? I don’t suppose you had any new revelations about getting across Reid or thoughts about your ascent route being more in the “fun” category?

Mike

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Chip Down
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Re: Yocum Ridge via edge of Sandy River Canyon (sort of)

Post by Chip Down » November 9th, 2018, 5:31 am

Oh, hey Mike. I should have known you'd ask. Nothing I saw yesterday would be of any help to you. I don't think a PITA bushwhack meets your criteria for an above-Timberline Trail circumnav. Besides, the time/energy expended on this wouldn't make it suitable as part of a longer hike.

As for it being fun, I guess I'd have to say it was generally disappointing, but my to-do list is getting pretty short. It had its rewards. Least fun part of the day was that I was on my feet all but ten minutes.

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Guy
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Re: Yocum Ridge via edge of Sandy River Canyon (sort of)

Post by Guy » November 9th, 2018, 5:57 am

We tried this a few years ago too! Also ran out of steam the brush was unrelenting!
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=19944

If I was to try again I'd do it in the downhill direction.
hiking log & photos.
Ad monte summa aut mors

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retired jerry
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Re: Yocum Ridge via edge of Sandy River Canyon (sort of)

Post by retired jerry » November 9th, 2018, 6:39 am

I was going to say that Guy did that a few years ago but he beat me to it

I was going to ask about high route possibilities but Mike beat me to it

That trail from the guard station that switch backs was the old Timberline Trail, they re-routed it to the current route. Maybe to avoid that little cliff below the guard station

That campsite below the guard station, there's a faint use trail that parallels the Sandy River. Maybe that goes up a ways.

Just South of Ramona Falls it's not too steep and fairly sparse vegetation. I've gone up a ways. But you have to pretty quickly go up the Ramona Falls cliff. Maybe that would be a good route.

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mjirving
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Re: Yocum Ridge via edge of Sandy River Canyon (sort of)

Post by mjirving » November 9th, 2018, 7:45 am

What was your pace Chip? from the sounds of it, I'm guessing pretty slow...sub 1 mph??

Mike

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Chip Down
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Re: Yocum Ridge via edge of Sandy River Canyon (sort of)

Post by Chip Down » November 9th, 2018, 8:45 am

Yep, I remembered that old TR. Thanks for the link. I'm looking forward to reading it again.

Regarding pace, I arrived at PCT around 7:00 I think, and hit the 6000' viewpoint at 11:30. Car to viewpoint was about 5:50. Snow was almost as bad as brush...maybe just felt that way because I was tired.

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