February 18, 2012
Morgan and I were both physically and mentally exhausted after the 10.5-hour ascent of Roche Miette in the previous day so we chose a relatively easier objective, namely Morro Peak. This is merely a rounded bump attached to the nearby much-bigger Hawk Mountain, but one cannot easily connect the two to make a 2-peak day. It might not be as easy as one would expect, especially in winter when the trail is covered by snow. There’re some hidden cliff bands and can become fairly difficult if you can’t find the easiest path.
Right near the start we made a mistake of missing the turn-off so ended up too far down the Overlander trail. The solution? Since Morro Peak shared the same approach as Hawk Mountain and we were both interested in making an ascent of Hawk Mountain (hopefully in this trip if weather would cooperate for the next few days), we decided to just continue to the Morro Creek to check out the conditions on Hawk Mountain. The canyon that separated Morro and Hawk was very steep and impressive. After this side trip, Morgan was too tired to resume the ascent on Morro Peak but I was still keen and motivated. While Morgan would rest up in the parking lot I decided to tag the summit solo.
Even though I did correctly locate the turn-off I still got off-route this time. The trail became very difficult to follow with all the snow cover and not far up I started to make my own route. Thankfully I did manage to stay relatively close to the path so didn’t have to do unnecessarily difficult scrambling. There’s a somewhat flatter forested bench that led me traversing towards climber’s right and I followed it to its end. There’s some bushwhacking and tedious post-holing higher up as the forest tended to hold more snow than it appeared from below. And once done the forested ramp I turned left on the summit ridge and the highest point was easily attained from there.
On the descent I simply retraced my footprints and had no further issue making back to Overlander trail. The rest of the return was uneventful and my round trip time was about 3 hours which I would consider as pretty slow because of the bushwhacking and post-holing. The view was okay if you haven’t done Hawk. I did Hawk two days after, and it definitely has way better view, so I guess unless you really want to check this summit off, or you simply want a short day, don’t even attempt this peak. It’s not fun and probably not worth the effort. And, next day.