After navigating some interesting terrain along the pass at the head of the valley between Sheep and Horseshoe (@ N 50 5.802, W 114 20.400) the trip just became a bit of a slog. We had to put up with snow that generally held our weight and than collapsed past our knees or deeper without warning! The trees weren't too thick but the views weren't great and the summit seemed to never arrive. Every time we thought we were close there was another false bump or dip or traverse through trees and waist deep pockets of snow. I'm sure we are one of the only people to ever hike up this diminutive summit!
[Wietse approaches Horseshoe Ridge.]
[It certainly wasn't difficult on the lower grassy slopes.]
[Starting to get more trees the higher we go?!]
[Views north to Livingstone (L) and Saddle (R).]
[Signs of spring.]
Wietse and I built a nice bonfire on the summit of Horseshoe while we waited for Sonny which was kind of cool. I've never done that on a summit before! We kept warm by the fire and eventually Sonny showed up and we prepared to bushwhack back out to the valley and then trek back to the car along the road. The bushwhack wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been. I'm sure there are hoards of mosquitoes in the summer (boggy terrain) but we had fairly supportive snow and the trees weren't too thick. Within an hour we were hiking back on the logging road, enjoying the evening sun.
[A nice warm fire on the summit of Horseshoe Ridge.]
[Looking back at Sheep Mountain.]
[Dealing with Ridge Creek on exit.]
[Walking back to the car.]
[The road was a bit choppy...]
Our round trip time of 9.5 hours was pretty long but we took our time and enjoyed a fairly windless and very warm spring day on the front ranges. I would recommend doing Speke and Sheep together from this road (bike or drive to the pass on the logging road) - the south ridge on Speke is much more enjoyable (but a lot longer) than the north access between Livingstone and Speke.
For very energetic folks you could start at the pass between Sheep and Horseshoe ridge, bag Sheep Mountain, traverse up Mount Speke and then proceed to summit Livingstone, Saddle, Hornecker and Windy Peak for a 6 peak day. That would be something to brag about!