South Camp Creek Ridge to Nick Eaton

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

South Camp Creek Ridge to Nick Eaton

Post by Chip Down » March 31st, 2019, 7:25 pm

A few weeks ago I descended from 4000' on Nick Eaton ridge via a spur that drops west to Herman Creek. When it got rugged at about 2400' I bailed from the ridgecrest and dropped towards Camp Creek to the north (parallel to my ridge). Today I went back to ascend that ridge, on crest as much as possible.

Left the Herman Creek trail at 1300'. The ridge was well defined, there was little brush, and it was a somewhat pleasant climb. Hit a little step, decided to go around it on the right, good decision, immediately hit a chimney that was easy to climb up, and then I was back on crest. That was the only time I was forced off crest on the entire route.

Nice variety of terrain on the bottom part of this ridge. Got a little scrambly at times, but nothing that made me uneasy.

As I approached Nick Eaton ridge, I started seeing beargrass, knew I was getting close.

On Eaton ridgecrest, I saw no footprints. Hmm. Dropped down my ascent route just a tiny bit, and started curving right until I got back on Eaton crest. That must sound odd, but the thing is, I think it's one of those weird situations where the spur ridge seems more prominent and in better alignment than the main ridge.

Descending Eaton ridge was fun. I didn't even bother trying to find the trail in the deep snow. I know it's often off the ridgecrest. I stayed on crest as much as possible (it's almost always possible). The snow was deeper and firmer than my ascent ridge, with better coverage, and I made great time, sliding a few inches with every step. Had to be careful though, as I occasionally punched through. Wouldn't be safe to go as fast as I wanted to.

At the junction where one can turn east towards Deadwood, the snow abruptly ended and the trail flattened, then undulated until the dreaded switchbacks which I once again refused to descend.

I left trail around 2500' and caught the little ridge that runs parallel to the Eaton switchbacks. It wasn't great, not recommended.
Stacked neatly.
Found the salt shaker again, right where I left it.
Crest of Nick Eaton ridge, where my ascent spur met it around 4000'.
Volunteer signs, I suppose.
My descent ridge. This is about as charming as it got. Mostly it was a PITA.
Appropriated my map from last TR. #1 is today's ascent, #2 is descent.

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