Kings Mtn (East Ridge) 08-Feb-2010

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VanMarmot
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Kings Mtn (East Ridge) 08-Feb-2010

Post by VanMarmot » February 8th, 2010, 6:57 pm

It would be really complicated to explain exactly how I got a sunny Monday in February off from work. It would also be boring. So, suffice to say I did and I used it to hike the east ridge of Kings Mountain. I had done this several years ago with a Mazamas group and vaguely remembered the route. From the Kings Mountain trailhead, I went east on the Wilson River trail for about 1.4 miles until just before a bridged stream crossing. Along the Wilson River trail I encountered a sweating tree fungus.

Image

Just before the bridge, I turned left on to the remnants of an old road – which is overgrown, entangled with blowdowns, and washed out in spots - for about 0.2 mi, staying left (west) of the main stream until I crossed a small tributary coming in from the west. The base of the east ridge is about 100 yds ahead and slightly left from here. From the base, I just followed game trails uphill in a NW direction. The weather was mixed sun and clouds and at about the 2000’ level, I got a good view of some unique cloud formations.

Image

Image

The ridge narrowed and steepened as I climbed higher, with an excellent view of Elk to the east.

Image

The exciting part of this route is when it narrows to a “knife edge” with steep cliffs and wild exposure on the left. These two views are looking up toward and down on the narrow section.

Image

Image

From above the narrows, there was a nice view down to where this route starts – in the light colored trees at the very bottom of the valley.

Image

After the narrows, the route re-entered the forest and became less steep – just following more game trails uphill deposited me on the main trail about 100’ from the summit. From the summit of Kings, I traversed over to the Elk Creek Trail, took that back down to the Wilson River Trail, and hence back to the trailhead (descending the Elk Mtn trail is quick but it’s also painful on the toes and knees, so I decided to take the longer, less intense way down). I had heard that the east ridge route had been flagged but saw no sign of this. Judging from the undergrowth, it looked to me as though the route actually gets very little use – which is too bad because it’s a pretty fun way to climb King’s.

cfm
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Re: Kings Mtn (East Ridge) 08-Feb-2010

Post by cfm » February 8th, 2010, 8:10 pm

Wow, that looks like fun!

And that is a beautiful picture of the fungus.

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anna in boots
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Re: Kings Mtn (East Ridge) 08-Feb-2010

Post by anna in boots » February 8th, 2010, 8:40 pm

VanMarmot wrote:Image
Cool hike! And I get all hot and bothered when you say things like "sweating tree fungus."

anna in boots
Current trip reports at All Thoughts Work™ Outdoors
http://allthoughtsworkoutdoors.wordpress.com/

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romann
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Re: Kings Mtn (East Ridge) 08-Feb-2010

Post by romann » February 8th, 2010, 9:35 pm

Nice photos. I really like these big sky shots (and a weird fungi photo, too). Looks like it was a wonderful day out there.
Thanks for sharing.

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Kings Mtn (East Ridge) 08-Feb-2010

Post by Eric Peterson » May 2nd, 2010, 7:40 am

Did this route yesterday and man it's a real hoot. Major game trail system going up this east ridge, lot's
of piles of poop, so it wasn't to hard figuring this out but I was worried at times that I would come to
a sheer cliff like dead end and was at times crawling, had to put my poles away. Man was I glad to see
the normal trail system again when I got to the top!

DennisTheMenace
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Re: Kings Mtn (East Ridge) 08-Feb-2010

Post by DennisTheMenace » May 2nd, 2010, 11:27 am

I've always wanted to do this route. I've tried
to find it off of the Wilson trail once before but
failed to find it. So is it generally steeper than
say the trail to the summit of elk from Elk
creek campground?

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Kings Mtn (East Ridge) 08-Feb-2010

Post by Eric Peterson » May 2nd, 2010, 1:55 pm

Hey Dennis -

Yeah, I think it's the steepest thing I've done. For the first 1000' or so, it's just straight up.
It's like going up the side of a mountain except it's a ridge climb. There is no
trail per se except for where the local game makes steps and piles of poop, there is also
NO flagging that I could see anywhere so initially I was going up the wrong ridge and luckily
had enough brain power to turn around before falling and find the correct 'ridge base'.

There is another 'bunny' trail that is called the South East Ridge that I scouted before going
to the East Ridge and it looks a lot easier to follow and climb.

I was really glad when I finally hit the summit trail system, it was getting really socked in the higher
I went and the rocky spiney parts that VM talks about in his post were getting kind of scary.
Several times I thought I was going to fall or slip on the loose craggy rock.

I'm going to try the easier looking South East ridge this weekend or maybe the West Ridge game
trail up to Elk.

DennisTheMenace
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Re: Kings Mtn (East Ridge) 08-Feb-2010

Post by DennisTheMenace » May 2nd, 2010, 11:11 pm

Zerek

So would say its steep to the point of being dangerous
and not something that most people should do alone?


BTW I have one other question to ask you. Did you by
any chance continue on to the backside of Kings and then
onto the elk creek trail? If so did you notice any cougar
tracks still in the snow in the .8 mile stretch between the
junction(the Kings/Elk Creek/Elk Mountain junction) and
the end of the 4 mile elk creek trail(where there is another
junction)?

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Kings Mtn (East Ridge) 08-Feb-2010

Post by Eric Peterson » May 3rd, 2010, 6:14 am

I would say most average day hikers should not do any steep off trail climbing alone.

And I probably should take some basic climbing courses with Mazamas before doing
a similar hike again but I could be exaggerating, all I know is I am still very sore in
my arms and legs after doing this hike.

By the time I got to the dangerous parts it was getting socked in and drizzly, so I
don't know if I missed bail out paths to skirt around the razor thin ridge areas. This
would be something to check out again with sunny clear weather and a earlier start time.
Did you by
any chance continue on to the backside of Kings and then
onto the elk creek trail?
I just went down back to the TH via the main Kings Mt trail.
If so did you notice any cougar
tracks still in the snow
There was no snow anywhere at 3200'.

I did see a lot of scat all over the East Ridge and lots of flat areas where it looks like
game would rest. I don't know my scat very well but there was lots of round ones.

If you want to meet up sometime at the Kings TH we could do the East Ridge or maybe
the South East Ridge which looks easier from the base. There is also a West Ridge route
past the Kings Jr trail which looks interesting. Lots of options around Kings and Elk! :)

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VanMarmot
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Re: Kings Mtn (East Ridge) 08-Feb-2010

Post by VanMarmot » May 3rd, 2010, 9:15 am

Zerek wrote:
I was really glad when I finally hit the summit trail system, it was getting really socked in the higher
I went and the rocky spiney parts that VM talks about in his post were getting kind of scary.
Several times I thought I was going to fall or slip on the loose craggy rock.
I've done this route twice but only in nice, sunny weather. With dry rock, the narrow parts seem more solid and with visibility you can see there are less exposed ways (usually by bushwacking below the right side of the ridge) around the rocky sections. When it's damp and the visibility is impaired the route is more challenging. Between the route finding and the narrow parts, I'd say this hike, while a lot of fun, does call for extra caution - whether it's done solo or with others.

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