Rather than just climb to the summit of Pasque and back the same way, many hikers do the horseshoe over the east peak. Occasionally, I hear from people who have trouble finding the way off the north end of the east peak. So here is the latest based on a recent foray.
First, a couple of observations: 1. Rather than returning to your usual starting point on Hwy. 40, which involves road bashing, it’s easier to bring along bikes (it’s all downhill on the return) or another car and park them at 751627, just east of Wilkinson summit where the old highway (track) joins back in. 2. The horse trail into the cirque meadow below east peak has been greatly improved in the last year or two, the improvements so far not quite reaching the meadow. This trail starts from the latter parking area and heads off along on the old highway heading west. It offers a way onto or off the ridges.
Back to the east peak and assuming you have two vehicles. Head north to the very end and down the grassy slope that steepens considerably as you near treeline. Either bushwhack down through trees where at some point you’ll intersect the very obvious horse trail, turn right uphill and follow it out using the cutline shortcut. Or, about a third of the way down the steep grass, turn right at 734622 onto a NE-SW cutline with a narrow tread and follow it down right through the trees to the 4-way intersection with the horse trail. Go straight on the cutline shortcut. While you can follow the horse trail all around the boonies, the cutline shortcut is a lot faster despite one small area of deadfall. Nearing the old highway, the horse trail is faint (scuff marks) where it crosses meadow and climbs a grassy bank up to the track. This is good to know if going in the opposite direction; the good trail starts in the trees at the head of a grassy draw.
For hikers with one car and no bikes, returning to the starting point involves bushwhacking, either alongside Wilkinson Creek, or via the route suggested in edition 3 that leaves the 4-way intersection of cutline and horse trail. A quick look at the latter determined that the flagging is long gone, though this route deserves another closer look from the bottom up at some future date. May have missed something…
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