Kathy had the idea to climb Mount Monarch during this long stretch of high pressure. The plan was to ride up the Pinochle Creek Trail and ditch the bikes at Hicks Creek, cross, and hike to the summit from there. We started riding down the trail before sunrise, but ran into quite a bit of overflow ice. As the trail steepened it became difficult to ride. Finally we ran into more continuous overflow and we ditched the bikes below the pass.
Overflow continued to be a problem north of the pass. We left the trail before it descends to Hicks Creek, and dropped into the canyon to find extensive overflow on the creek. We scouted a bit before we put on crampons to cross. There was open water and thin ice around so we wanted to get back to this crossing while there was still some daylight. We hiked on and off game trails through hills and low brush for a few miles until the base of the peak, where the terrain turned to scree. We followed the scree to the summit and soaked up the views. It was a long ways back so we didn't hang out long before we headed down. We found a good route back down to the creek crossing as the last bit of light faded. Once out of the canyon the headlamps and full moon helped light out way on the trail. Crampons helped us cross the creek again, climb out of the canyon, and walk down the icy trail. Right after I retrieved my bike I accidentally popped one of it's tires with a crampon...I wonder how often this situation happens. My brakes were locking up anyways, so I couldn't have ridden down. We traveled 21 miles and climbed 6300 feet in 14.5 hours.
The bikes didn't save much time, but the short ways we could ride helped us get to the summit earlier. This gave us more time to navigate some critical sections with some light. In the summer much of this (ATV) trail would be very muddy and unpleasant to hike or bike on. If you can look past that it's beautiful country.
Nice section of the Pinochle Creek Trail.
Ditching the bikes.
First look at Mount Monarch.
Descending to Hicks Creek.
Crossing Hicks Creek.
Heading up the scree.