Mount Dickerman
May 22, 2022
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Mount Dickerman is one of the mountain loop classics. Unfortunately, with the plethora of choices in this area like Columbia, Silver Tip, Del Campo, Vesper Peak , and the rarely climbed Big Four Mountain, it’s not often I get around to climbing it. When my girlfriend Elena sent me a message telling me the mountain loop highway had opened for the season, I thought Mount Dickerman might be the perfect way to introduce her to the magic of the highway that started my climbing ambitions. After all, how do you impress a girl used to climbing in a place like New Zealand? Mount Dickerman seemed the perfect start to an early season.

We started late in the day, and with the season still being young, I wasn’t sure how tough it would be to navigate to the top this time of year. The few trip reports we could find from the day before said the snow was soft and other hikers had turned back. But, that left the two of us undeterred.

early waterfall along the trail
waterfall along the trail
start of the mount dickerman trail
start of the trail
navigating on e of the several blow downs along the trail
one of several blow downs

The start of the Mount Dickerman trail was snow-free, and while the switchbacks are steep, clear trail made for a nice easy start to the day. We navigated a couple of blow downs with ease, encountered one sunbathing snake, and made it to the waterfall crossing in no time.

section of snow free trail
lower section of trail
snake sunbathing along the trail
sunbathing snake

The waterfall crossing is where things started to get a little more serious than this peak is during its normal summer season. With the quantity of snow in the gully, the normal trail was not really an option so we opted to climb straight up the center of the creek. Despite the snow being soft, navigation was easy with the right gear and knowledge. If you do choose to come up here in the early season make sure you know your stuff when it comes to snow conditions. Things can go wrong very quickly with a simple misstep.

first sections of snow just below the waterfall
first sections of snow
snowy section just before the waterfall
snow covered section of trail
ascending the waterfall gully on mount dickerman
ascending the waterfall

Above the waterfall crossing, there were a few other footprints that looked fresh and we chose to follow those most of the way. At one point they veered off in a direction that seemed like a bad choice to me and so we set off, breaking our own trail approximately following the summer route.

From this point, we were navigating our own way to the top. Things went well but very slowly in the deep, wet snow. As the views opened up, it took some of the pain off our legs and we pressed on taking turns working our way uphill.

Del campo from one of the view points
del campo from mount dickerman
view out from the winter trail up mount dickerman
view from the route
trudging through very deep snow in the winter route of mount dickerman
trudging through deep snow

As always the climb to the top of Mount Dickerman is a steep trudge and it will hurt. But the icing on the cake this time was seeing no other footprints. Judging by the fact that there were no other tracks and the highway had only opened one day prior, I am pretty sure we got to be the first to the summit for the year. It might not be a first ascent but it certainly felt like a privilege.

snow sinkhole near the summit of mount dickerman
sinking in the snow
nearing the summit of mount dickerman
nearing the summit

Just after us, two other hikers reached the summit. Even when covered in snow, don’t expect to be alone on the top of Mount Dickerman for long.

summit shot from the top of mount dickerman
summit glory acheived
summit selfie after a succesful trip
summit shot of Elena and Waterboy
summit views mount dickerman
summit views
summit views from mount dickerman
dickerman summit views
sloan peak from the summit along mountain loop highway
sloan peak from the summit

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