Crater Hill, Lambs Knoll & Cave Knoll

We got up early to head to a short objective I wanted to do before meeting Bo, Tanya and Mike. Getting there at daybreak or so, the north-facing route was completely snow/ice'd over. Back to the visitor center to get the packs ready and peruse the black book.

There, we bumped into Mike. He told us that Bo and Tanya had needed to cancel at the last minute and said he was gonna snap some pics and then head home. Hmmm, what to do...? Fun stuff!

Mike told us about the "Guacamole Trailhead", a mountainbikers' trailhead near the head of Dalton Wash. Getting there, we found park signage saying no bikes. But Crater Hill was nearby...and we found it unpleasant. Ball bearing rubble over frozen dirt. From the summit, good views of a peak that Bo and I failed on Dec 31.

After that, we headed up onto the terrace to explore around a bit.

Lambs Knoll turned out to be delightful. The views from the summit are by far the best I've seen from any summit in that area. From Timbertop to Smithsonian Butte and all things in between...not to mention Signal Peak, etc. behind you.

Trying to turn the route into a loop, I noticed a hidden slot with a curious...rap station at its entrance! Creeping down to it, I found a stunning +/- 120' near-vertical drop down a slot to a sunny wash below. I didn't have a rope with me, but will certainly return to check out this really pretty rappel.

Next, Cave Knoll via its full north ridge. I dubbed it "Hoodoo Ridge" for obvious reasons, but I could have dubbed it "A Cougar Is Nearby Ridge". Stumbling across cat prints in the snow, I found that the very interesting route finding to get to the summit required that I follow, you guessed it, the cat's route. I followed
those prints up, over and around hoodoos, slabs, short canyons, etc. to within 75' of the summit. After all, the animals figured it out long before we did.

Anyway, very interesting scrambling and route finding on this route/peak. One I'd do again.

Glad I never saw the cat. I wonder if he saw me.