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Clear Creek Conditions
One can drive all the way to the Clear Creek Trailhead. Summit passes, wilderness permits and human waste packout bags are available for self-issue. Waste packout bags are located inside the restroom facility. The last 1/4 mile of the road to the trailhead is often in poor shape. One can park just shy of the trailhead if needed, or higher clearance vehicles can make it in. Four wheel drive is generally not necessary however.
Out of the Clear Creek Trailhead, follow the trail until patchy snow makes following the trail more difficult. When in doubt, walk up slope paralleling Mud Creek Canyon. Mud Creek Canyon is a major feature of this side of the mountain. Use the canyon as a "handrail" both for ascending as well as descending the route. Climbers often become lost on this route for whatever reason. Never should you be IN the canyon, but always along or near its northern rim. Follow the canyon rim up to treeline, on snow currently, where you will begin to traverse over to the spring and camping area, approx 8,300 feet. A few camping locations have melted out. The head of the spring and its stream is covered in snow, but lower a small opening with running water can be found.
The route to the summit ascends up and climbers left out of camp onto a broad shoulder. An ice axe, crampons and helmet are necessary at this time. On can link continuous snow if desired, or climb more direct and encounter a few rock/scree crossings. Skiing is possible but past prime, sun cupped, dirty and not for the faint of heart.
Conditions change quickly this time of year. Feel free to call the ranger station for the latest or further details. 530-926-4511