Duchess of Kent after hours

Carla and I parked on Road 9020 where it is washed out at Alice Creek. We rode our mountain bikes up the logging road to 3,400' where it crosses the west ridge of the Duchess. We're wimpy riders so we had to push the bikes up much of this.

We ascended the west ridge of the Duchess. The ridge was steep, narrow, and very satisfying. We both really wished we had our ice axes, they would have been very useful while ascending and descending the steep, pine needle-covered slopes. I was glad we both had our helmets, there was a lot of loose rock on steep slopes.

Around 4,200' we hit a cliff and traversed south along its base until we found a steep gully. We scrambled up this gully to the col between the two summits of the Duchess. This gully was steep and challenging, on the way down we used a handline here.

The northern summit seemed higher, had a cairn, and had slightly better views.

On the way down at around 3,800' we dropped off of the ridge into the large basin that is NW of the Duchess. This involved exposed side-hilling on down-sloping dirt, then descending a slope filled with loose rock and devils club -- if I do this trip again I'll stick to the ridge.

It was dark by the time we reached the logging road. Riding down by headlamps was a challenge, but the bikes were still worth it.

Copyright © 2004 Gabriel Deal.