Distance: 9.5 km
Elevation gain: 825 m View map Download GPS track
Table Mountain is a colorful and fun objective in the Castle Wilderness. It is also a relatively short hike, making it a perfect adventure for a Sunday.
We started our hike at the trailhead located in the Beaver Mines Lake campground, hiking along a good trail through the forest before a steep hike brought us to treeline. We continued following the good trail into a wide gully, then followed the gully, gaining most of the elevation over this section. In spots the trail was indistinct or missing, but travel was never difficult and we soon found ourselves facing a wide scree slope and multiple possible routes to the summit plateau.
We complicated the ascent to the plateau a bit with a poor route choice, using an obvious trail in loose scree that we realized halfway up was clearly meant for descent, but the only real difficulty was the frustration of slipping backwards in loose scree. Near the top we encountered a long patch of deep snow with an icy crust that I had to kick steps into, sinking to my thighs on several occasions. Once we reached the plateau, however, the views we fantastic, with a sheer cliff on the north side and the long broad plateau stretching out to the east.
After a quick rest we started towards the summit, crossing many fresh snowpatches from a storm last week and stopping to put on gaiters to get through deep snow in a small larch forest just before the summit. While we were able to follow tracks made by a group yesterday, this snow section would likely normally be waist-deep postholing this time of year.
Views from the summit were similar to elsewhere on the plateau, but the wonderful walk along the length of the plateau certainly justified continuing to the true summit. It was also warm and windless enough that we were able to eat lunch on top before heading back the way we came.