Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More North Fork Wanderings 12.28.10

    With the new storm system making it's way onshore yesterday and dumping a large amount of snow over everything worthwhile I grew concerned about a safe choice. I only had a short day that ended up being pared down from that. I decided that I didn't have enough time to get far enough East to find snow conditions that I was comfortable with.  It was time for some dumpster diving in the North Fork of the Snoqualmie drainage. There are still many knob, knolls and bumps that I haven't climbed so I thought it wise to use this day for that endeavor. My wife came down with a cold so I got the kids up and let her sleep in. She was out and by the time she got up I had to shorten the list of victims. I was hoping to do both Mud Devil and Deep Devil both plays on the lakes they reside next to and the fact they are on the Devil's Slide Quad. On a previous trip I had done Black Devil so I knew the route. With my day being shortened I knew the 13+ miles of road walking would be all I could fit in if I was lucky. I parked at the last gate before the Wagoner Bridge and was off. There is plenty of active logging in the area so I kept the mutt on the leash for most of the day just to be safe. I made good time to the crossing of Deep Creek where I contemplated using my route that I used for Black Devil since it would be much shorter than using the road. I decided to keep on the road and shortly thereafter I reached the mainline. There were plenty of full logging trucks to be wary of. Shortly before Mud Lake I came to a rather large operation that was up and running. The smell of fresh cut trees filled the air as I made my way to my turn. Once reaching my spur I took a right and headed up. It felt good to finally making some elevation gain. Once I rounded to the East side of the ridge my goal came into view. I had nearly another 2 miles to go and was running low on time. I decided that I had enough. I had a hearty debate of which route to take home. I wanted to shorten the distance. It appeared I could traverse the clearcut underneath Black Devil but the South side looked brushy. In the end I decided to retrace my steps. The way out was long but I did give the legs a bit of a stretch. My shins didn't seem to like the walk on the hard road and are crying at me as I sit here. I think these bumps are better suited to a cross country ski when snow permits or a mountain bike when snow isn't present. I guess I could pony up the money and buy the gate keys and just drive to the top.

Approx 10 miles 3:20 car to car

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cle Elum Point 4040' Peoh Point 4000' 12.21.10

I was just looking for a short day to get out. Since I was solo I wasn't looking for something overly technical but I still wanted to get out. I thought I would give the South of Cle Elum a shot. I hadn't been in the area before so it took some extra time for me to find a suitable jump off point. I was able to find my road but there are so many no trespassing signs I couldn't find the trailhead that is shown on my map. I decided to park near the power lines and walk the lines until I could find an area that wasn't posted NO TRESPASSING. I was able to wear down a strip to park so that I wasn't blocking either the road or the right away for the powerlines. I suited up in view of my goal but the route was obscured by clouds. I figured I would walk the powerlines and see how it would go. Thankfully the topography and matched my map perfectly so I was fairly certain of my position. The right of way was packed so I kept the snowshoes on my back. I passed a couple of promising roads but I really didn't want to trespass and risk meeting up with some cranky landowners.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cle Elum Ridge 3760+ 12.15.10

What to do, what to do? I struggled mightily this week because of the wild weather and tough conditions.  I had planned on my usual Tuesday but Monday night had other plans for me. Just before turning in the roof was pelted with enough debris to warrant a look outside. I took one step outside and heard the wind whistling through the tops of the trees and immediately came back in with stern instructions for my wife to get the kids to the basement. In hindsight I probably overreacted but with the news coverage one could understand my misgivings. I love the fact that my yard is the home of some majestic trees but with the very wet weather combined with wind the trees lose some of their luster. I am thankful that the basement doubles for a guest bedroom with a comfortable bed that will fit nicely the wife and kids but not so much for me. I had great concern for my kids and the certain reality that they were scared by both being uprooted from their warm safe beds and the fireworks that was going on outside. My concern quickly dissipated when I went to explain the dilemma to the kids and my youngest had the biggest smile I have ever seen. It seems that adversity is her time to shine. Since my only option was the floor the floor is where I chose to lay my head, though the worst was far gone I felt compelled to sleep very uncomfortably next to my family to show my concern for them. Since the night was very restless and I resisted in making the short climb upstairs to get enough blankets to stay warm I wasn't motivated in heading out on Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Swauk Ridge 4205' 12.7.10

   After a stressful week that included my car developing some expensive problems I was looking forward to getting out. The West side forecast didn't seem very good and since the snow conditions still are  very suspect  I opted to head East. I was also without a partner so I settled for something more benign and not overly taxing. I had one more peak on the Liberty Quad to do to close it out, so I thought it would be a good day to tackle the high point of Swauk Ridge. I would guess there are many ways to tackle this short one and I could only find one report that involved a very long ridge walk. I didn't have that kind of time and I wasn't sure about a direct route from Mineral Springs. I decided to head a little further along 97 and turned onto the Durst Creek Road. I had some trouble making it past the first portion where the snow was sloppy. I could have parked there but I am never too thrilled to suit up anywhere near where the dog could run into traffic. I pushed through the slop and found better going after crossing the bridge. I turned around a short time later and tried to park along the side of the road. I wasn't able to get far enough off the road to allow easy passage from any cars that may have come by in my absence.  I instead broke out the snow shovel and cleared a spot nearby and parked.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Snoiwshed Butte 3798' 11.30.10

   With a strong front moving in ONELUV1 and I had a healthy debate about what to do today. We ended up just meeting up and winging it. The original plan was to do something around Easton but the Avy danger seemed too high for that.  My second choice was off the Middle Fork and then we tossed around the idea of some dumpster diving on the North Fork. When we reached North Bend the rain was driving and it seemed unlikely we would reach the snowline without walking a long ways in the windy rain. I decided that I would rather chance it on making it over Snoqualmie Pass and avoiding being in the rain altogether. As we made our way up to the pass it changed to heavy snow. Just as we reached the pass it turned over to freezing rain. It certainly made trying to see out the windows problematic. I have saved Snowshed Butte for a day like this. While it isn't blessed with a lot of prominence it would do for this day. You can see this easily when travelling West bound and it is directly over the Snowshed (short covered area on I-90) and that is where it derives it's name.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Kachess Beacon 4615' 11.23.10

   With a great day playing in the lowland snow yesterday I was eager to get out again today. I did have concern over the very cold weather so I layered up with more layers than I have ever put on BEFORE even leaving the house. I was concerned about the roads after watching all the horror stories from last night's newscast. But I had no issues whatsoever. I was hoping to meet ONELUV1 but the roads near his house wouldn't allow for it. I left later than usual but the roads required care but they only slowed things slightly. I was hoping to climb Little Kachess Peak via Silver Creek. I new this was going to be tough with out any extra horsepower to break trail. The Kachess Dam Road is only plowed for a very short ways. The remainder had been driven on and gave me some concern because it was deeply rutted. I was able to make the new spur that leads to the Silver Creek Trailhead. This road was also recently travelled so I pushed on. The road soon became too deep for me to continue so I found a small area to back into keeping me off the road. Shortly after parking the rig that had broken trail passed me and was the only person I saw on this day.  Since I was already dressed I just added boots and gaiters and I was off.

Monday, November 22, 2010

November Snow Storm 2010!!!!

Well the weather man certainly didn't get this one right. I did expect some snow but certainly not nearly this much. For once I had sleds BEFORE the snow arrived. We bundled up the the kids and headed to the neighbor's pasture. There was just enough snow coverage to make it fun but no enough to smooth out the bumps. I had an immense amount of fun acting like a kid with my oldest on the sled with me. I did manage the little one for one ride but that was the extent of her participation.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mount Phelps 5535' (Attempt)

With the recent balmy wet weather turning more winter like, I wanted to try to squeeze one more worthwhile summit in. I felt like the new system moving in is going to dump a lot of snow making any peak with prominence a real chore. It looked all week like Tuesday was going to be the best chance at a reprieve from the wet windy weather. I was hopeful that we could make it to the snow line before being caught in any major downpour. While most people opt for the Blackhawk Mine approach I figured that would be a soaker going through the clear cut so I opted for a more obscure route. I had read a previous report of walking to the end of the spur road instead of  heading towards the mine. The route winds through old growth and sparse brush and rejoins the standard route near the saddle between Phelps and McClain Peaks. It is good to know that most maps have these two peaks swapped on maps. While Phelps is the bigger brother to McClain it a far more easy ascent.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Red Mt. 5576' (Money Creek)

With the weather turning Wintry, I thought it would be a good idea to see it first hand. I was thankful that ONELUV1 signed on because that greatly increased chances for success. I had reports that the Money Creek Road was now open and since I was betting it wasn't snow covered I thought it would be a good time to make my way up before it became snowbound. The road was in good shape with the exception of a few short portions that put the Subaru to the test. Once reaching Lake Elizabeth I backed down and turned around, thankfully not putting the car in the ditch which has been my MO recently. We layered up since it was quite breezy and chilly. There wasn't any snow on the road but that didn't last long.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Suncadia 11.2.10

   With the wife turning 40 I thought I would treat her to a night away. The inlaws were in town which provided an opportunity to have someone watch the kids that we trust. I hadn't told her until the day of providing a surprise. I was stoked the weather was picture perfect enabling us to take most of what Suncadia has to offer. The drive over was mostly spent on us reconnecting. With our busy lives sometimes we don't have enough time to do the most basic of things, unbroken conversation. I have been by Suncadia numerous times but I had never been on property. I was instantly impressed with the setup. It reminded us both of where the inlaws live in Colorado Springs.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Terence and Michael Lakes 8.4.98 From the vault #1

With recent wet weather and not being able to go out this week,. I thought I would take some time to look back and reflect on some trips that I did in my younger days. I have never posted these trips and it is fun for me to look back and remember the earlier days. I am sad that I don't have any written records of other trips I did prior to 1998. I guess I will have to make the most of what I do have.

This trip was from the summer of 1998, things in my life were somewhat different. I had just met my wife and we were dating and didn't have a mortgage or kids. My time was much less burdened than now, but I would have to say less fulfilling.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mount Finn 5280' 10.26.10


With the heavy snows in the mountains I was eager to get out and see it for myself.  Since I knew the weather would more than likely be rainy I wanted to avoid hitting the worst of it by driving through it. The Tonga Ridge Road is a good way to get up high without getting out of the car. The goal was Mount Finn which is a play on it's taller neighbor Mount Sawyer. Although Finn would be tall enough to be included in the Home Court 100 it lacks 100' of prominence to be included. I thought I might be able to drive all the way to the Tonga Ridge Trailhead but I was only able to make the spur to the trailhead before snow became deeper than I felt like the Subaru could handle. There were some tracks of some bigger rigs but the center portion of the road was too deep. I slowly backed down to the intersection but began sliding and couldn't stop until I had firmly planted my passenger side wheels securely in the ditch. For those of you that follow my escapade this sounds eerily similar to two weeks ago when I did something just as disconcerting. I quickly got out to survey the situation and again only gave myself a 10 percent of actually making it out under my own power. With my trusty snow shovel in hand I dug a quick bare spot under the two wheels still on the road. I got it and tried moving forward with no luck. I rocked the car back and than forward with the pedal to the metal and was able to regain the road. I again backed down the road turned and thankfully parked.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Morpheous 5432' ( attempt )

With another stellar day forecasted I hoped to push the limits of what one might expect to do in mid October. I picked up Onelove1 in issaquah and we were off. The North Fork road was in great shape and we parked at the end of the road just past the Bare Mt trail in short order. It still was cold so we layered up and since it was going to be brushy we added full rain gear. It was cold enough that I wished I would have added gloves. The cold was short lived as the sun quickly warmed things. After 1.5 miles we hit a split in the road and headed right. Soon the road turns into the Lennox Creek Trail. I use the word trail loosely since this trail was never very good and now sees very little use making it unpleasant at times. The trail is muddy, rooty and very narrow and extremely slippery in places. This made the going quite slow. Thankfully the climb isn't steep and isn't very long.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Squak Mt South Access Road 10.12.10

  After yesterday's escapades I had a day to spend with the little ones. I swapped places with my wife and I had the kids for this Tuesday. I had to ferry the youngest to school and then ran some errands with the eldest child. I then returned to pick up the little one and we all had a nice picnic in the warm sun. After taking the oldest to school I asked the little one what she wanted to do. " I want to go on a hike" was her reply. Since we had to go by Squak Mt. on the way home I thought that would be a good test for the 3 year old. When we reached the access road I gave her the option of doing the Pretzel Tree Trail, the trail or the South Access Road. She chose the access road because she wanted to see the princess towers ( the kids name for the microwave towers) on the summit. I really didn't expect too much but the little one was intent on making it to the top. We were able to make it to the 1.5 mile mark before time became an issue. We had a nice talk as we wound our way up the road. The sun was out and fall was definitely in the air. My little one managed to walk most of the way down before deciding that she would be happier perched on my shoulders. I was very proud of my little girl and had a great time today spending some extra time with my girls. It certainly gave me a bigger appreciation of what my wife does on a daily basis.

Approx 3 miles 900' of  climb 1:30 car to car

Monday, October 11, 2010

!!!!!! 5000 Hits. !!!!!!!

After 6 weeks another milestone! I will be curious to see how long it will take to get to 25,000 page views. Looking forward to making the trips that will provide the impetus. I hope that people are finding this blog entertaining as well as informative.

Thanks for reading


North Fork Snoqualmie wanderings and other misadventures 10.11.10

     Well I try not to take myself too seriously and today is among the many reasons why. I added this map first because this day might have been more productive had I looked at it at some point. I usually am fortunate enough to get out on Tuesdays but this week I wouldn't be afforded that luxury. I work Sunday nights and have a hard time going home and going straight to bed enabling an early Monday morning start. I wanted to be available to the family in the late afternoon and as I stated didn't want to get up early. I needed something close and short. I have been meaning to make my way up Phelps for some time. It is a distinctive looking peak that can be clearly seen from Seattle. There is some confusion about the naming of the peak because most maps mislabel the peak McClain Peak which shares the same saddle but is to the SW. I have read enough reports of Phelps that I felt like I could make the round trip somewhere around 3 hours. The route is steep but it very direct. The plan was to do a variation of the Blackhawk mine route. I wanted to avoid the clear cut which I would expect slow wet and slippery going. The intent was to drive to the end of the spur road instead of heading to the mine. It is reported that the old growth starts there and there is far less brush. Well I had a plan..........

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Atrium Peak 5359' Big Heart Lake 10.5.10

With an expected stellar weather day on tap I wanted to make the most of it. ONELUV1 signed up for a long trail day. I had been to Big Heart Lake 10 years ago when my wife and I made the jaunt to an overlook of Angeline lake where I proposed, so needless to say I many fond memories of the area. The goal was to climb the high point between Angeline and Big Heart Lakes at 5359' Atrium ranks #73 on the Home Court list. While there is a way trail that nearly goes overtop Atrium, the distance from the Trout Lake Trailhead is a worthy defense.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mailbox Peak 9.28.10

With an emotional week and a compressed time frame I was looking for something closer. I needed something efficient and with some elevation gain. Mailbox was the perfect fit for this day. I had hoped for some good weather so I could run the ridge to reach West Defiance (Dirtybox) which is on the Homecourt 100 and I haven't climbed as of yet. The weather was wet and very humid so I packed up some extra layers to ward off the wet. Since I was going to be on a popular trail I off loaded some extra weight that I usually carry. Even with the lower weight couldn't offset my heavy heart. It has been almost 8 years since I have done a trip with only one of my dogs. Last week's lost Beagle didn't turn up and since I had more than one report of him along side Hy 2, I finally resigned myself to the fact that I have lost my faithful partner. Since I had been keeping myself busy at work I hadn't really dealt with the loss. On Sunday before work I decided to look through years of pictures to make a folder commemorating a dog's fine life. This provided an emotional two days that took a lot out of me. Undaunted I pushed on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Badlands 6245', Painter's Thumb 6744' 9.21.10

 I was very happy to see a improved weather forecast and since I had an entire day I thought I would give the legs a good stretch. The main goal was Painter's Thumb which is just West of Painter Creek and can be attempted in a variety of ways. While the Peak itself poses no special problems it is defended by sheer distance. The shortest route is via Hatchery Creek and that is still 18+ miles and because of the ups and downs of the route has 7100' of climb. Using Chiwaukum Creek would be longer but it doesn't have nearly as much vertical. Since the Badlands trail nearly goes overtop the high point of The Badlands I thought this would be the route of choice for this day. I was happy to see some piercing sun when I arrived at the Hatchery Creek Trailhead. In fact I took a picture of my shadow since it seems to be such a rare sight for me of late.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lanham Lake, Jim Hill Mt. 9.14.10

I haven't had the best of the weather lately so I did the only sensible thing one can do in this situation...... I bought new rainpants. The last few trips proved to be too much for my old ones so a replacement was in order. True to form the weather forecast was stellar for Tuesday. When I woke I was suprised it was cloudy thinking I might be in for another wet trip I pressed on. Thankfully after leaving Monroe the clouds broke and I was treated to some sunshine. I was so happy I let out a yell that scared the dogs. I knew I needed dry weather to make this trip go. The plans was to use the standard North Spur Route of Jim Hill. I parked near the Lanham Lake Trail, this was an added bonus because I had never been on this trail. I probably looked as I was staying a few nights with my bloated pack. I knew the route above Lanham was steep and I was unsure how I would handle the initial portion of the East Ridge. Since I was solo I wasn't leaving anything to chance I brought everything. The weather couldn't have been more ideal as I made my way to the lake. The trail did have some brushy areas so I was glad for the drier weather. I was able to make the lake in 45 minutes. I was surprised by the healthy surface action, the trout were all on top feeding, I was also surprised by the lakes lack of appeal. It was much smaller than I expected and not very scenic. I was also taken back by the fact that the outlet had no water flowing in it. It seemed strange since there was decent flow at the Mill Creek Road crossing. I found a nice sunny spot to have a snack, I gave some serious thoughts about just planting myself and enjoying the warm sun.

Monday, September 13, 2010

!!!!!! 1000 HIts !!!!!

Well a little more than 2 weeks in and 1000 page views! I wasn't sure what to expect but this has been a fun experience. I still have many years of reports to enter and indexed but the base is set. Once I get the reports all entered I will start with adding pictures and maps linked to the reports. Revenue has started but still not much more than a cup of coffee. If at some point if I could make enough to pay for gas for my trips I will be most pleased. My biggest hope is that this site can and will be used for those looking for beta for trips in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area.

Good reading everyone and don't be shy about clinking links:)


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bill's Peak 9.7.10

 The weather hasn't been my friend of late, the last two outings resulted in no summits and very wet gear. I monitored the weather all week and it looked like once again I was in for a wet outing. I tried to make the best of it by doing something in Teanaway and hoped for the "Teanaway Effect" that has served me well in the past. Since Bill's Peak is one of the few remaining victims in the area, I thought I would roll the dice and see if the weather gods would afford me a break.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Icicle Creek, Frosty-Whitepine 8.31.10

After being drowned on last week's trip and not summitting anything I felt like I had to have a big day to make up for last week's lack of success. I was drawing near to the close of my vacation and the weather didn't look like it would cooperate. Since Monday evening was nice I thought maybe I could out run the weather by hiking thru the night. I usually try to do one long trip per year and I felt like by leaving during the night 30 miles and 10,000ft of climb could be done. The plan was to do a loop from the washout on the Icicle Road going over Frosty Peak, Snowgrass, Ladies Peak and Cape Horn and coming out Chatter Creek. My first thought was to do it going up Chatter Creek first but leaving during the night I felt like walking the Icicle Road and Icicle Trail would be better done with the headlamp.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Chain Lakes 8.26.10

When I was much younger my family would go to a special beach every year and every year it was a soaker. I would wonder why we would put ourselves through it each year. Finally one year the weather was perfect and the answer was apparent. I feel like Chain Lakes is my new soaker. I had been watching the weather closely and it seemed less than ideal but I felt like being East of the crest maybe the weather gods would be kind to me. It is amazing what a difference a day can make, yesterday it was 92 degrees when we crested Snoqualmie Pass on the way home from Cooper lake and today it was in the mid 40's at Chain Lakes. I had a leisurely start and still made it to my jump off point on the Upper Mill Creek Road at 1pm a full hour faster than what I was hoping for. I had already packed so I just donned the rain gear. There was on car at the parking spot and the man chatted me up. He was waiting for his wife to meet him for supplies as she is doing the PCT thru Washington. Since he planned on meeting her a Lake Susan Jane I suggested the shortcut that I was to use. I walked him to where it starts and then we parted ways. From the onset I felt great, the legs felt strong and the pack seemed light. I was able to reach the small pass above LSJ in 35 minutes and quickly

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cooper Lake 8.25.10

With my vacation finally arriving I thought a night out camping with the family was in order. I pondered a long time before settling on Cooper Lake. I wanted something that we didn't have walk too far and with some improvements. The kids are still a little too young to appreciate the true nature of backpacking. After what seemed like a million stops we were finally on our way. Thankfully there wasn't too many campers so we had our pick of sites. As we found out later we weren't even on an improved site. After making what seemed like a million trips to the car and back we finally had set to our liking. The weather was ideal warm, sunny, light breeze and best yet NO bugs. The views from camp of Lemah and Chimney Rock were outstanding and it was fun to point out the peaks to the family who did there best to seem interested. I set up the poles for the kids to try for the numerous fish that were feeding. The grew more interested in playing in the water so I shifted gears to beer tanning as I sat in my chair next to the water and did my best to support local breweries.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mac Potholes 8.16.10

I had hoped to get an early start to both avoid the heat and also enable a summit of Mac Peak. I had to be back early due to family plans. I wasn't able to get out the door as fast as I might have liked putting the day's goal in jeporady. I was happy to turn on the much improved Tonga Ridge Road making for some quick driving. I was becoming very sleepy and I had to pull over and take a power nap. I still am not sure how long I slept but I did feel much better. I parked at the Deception Creek cutoff and packed up. I descended quickly to the crossing of Fisher Creek. There are some nice campsites that are located at the Fisher/Deception confluence. The trail winds for a short ways before it crosses Deception Creek. Then it meanders through some wonderful old growth making for a most pleasant walk. Soon I reached the junction with the spur that connects with the PCT above. After reaching the junction with the PCT I merely stepped over the trail and continued East. The going is open and I shortly reached a boulder filled area that I followed for a short ways before crossing and climbing the subtle ridge above. The short steep section was rewarded with easy going. I saw a small pothole below me so I dropped to it to give the thirsty dogs some water. The

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No Revolution 8.11.10

Last week I needed something close so that I could devote what little time I had to hiking instead of driving. I hadn't used the trail from the Middle Fork Road that connects to the Granite Lakes Road before the road crosses Granite Creek. I was able to easily find the trail and I was glad it was in good shape and easy to follow. I crossed the creek and started the mindless road walk to the ridge line. About a mile I stopped for a short break and could never regain any ambition to continue. I started back and then turned around and started up again. This didn't last long, I was just plain worn out and couldn't push myself to go any further. Making my way back down I entertained thoughts of a virus or some other ailment that was sapping my energy. Throughout this week I felt better and yesterday I kept in low key. This summer work schedule seems to be taking more of a toll on me then what I suspected. I had plans for this evening so I was out the door at 0700 and quickly made my way to my jump off point. I wanted to do the same hike to see if there was any improvement to my stamina. I was able to push up the steep areas and quickly joined the GLR. I suspect this shaves nearly 30 minutes of the standard approach and even more for the descent. I was able to keep the elevation ticking away. I reached an overgrown area that was soaked with recent rains and promptly got quite wet. The fact that I was now in the clouds didn't help things as it was very wet for August. Instead of staying on the mainline I took the spur that traverses to my objective of Revolution Peak. I reached the end of the road and added some waterproof layers and made my way up the soaking slopes. I made the ridgeline quickly and that is when things slowed down. The ridgeline was slow going with gnarled trees and slippery duff slopes all with no visibility. I reached what seemed like the highest point around and I was dismayed that I was short the needed elevation to be Revolution. I was starting to feel sketchy being solo with the uber slippery slopes. I found a way to traverse just below the ridge and started making up some ground. I reached an area that I would have to traverse some wet mossy down sloping slabs. I gave some debate but decided since more than likely I will need to reclimb it anyway when I make my way to Russian Butte I didn't think the last few feet were worth the added risk. On the way down I attempted a downward traverse using veggie belays to keep my footing intact. I thankfully reached the end of the road for the long trudge back.

While I can't say that I felt 100% I do feel much closer to normal.... whatever that is.

Approx 12 miles 4400' of climb 6 hours car to car

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hard Knox 7.28.10

Some years back I had made my way up the Kachess Dam Road towards the ridgeline before the road was washed out and I was forced to walk to the ridgeline. On that day the objective was Hard Knox. I ran over my allotted time and climbed the peak just to the West. At the time I was quite sure that this point was higher than Hard Knox because the topo maps show the elevation to be higher. The sight lines weren't great looking East but visually it seemed higher. For some time I thought the makers of the Home Court 100 had made an error. I read a report some time later suggesting that I was wrong. Since this is often the case I thought some day I would investigate. Since I had a long hard work week and was feeling the effects I thought an easy day would be best. What better than to knock off a couple peaks when I could drive most of the way there. Thankfully the washout that had stymied me years ago had been fixed and I was able to continue on until the road's end at 5200'. I really did feel like cheating but I wasn't going to let that slow me down. I followed the trail over Hard Cheese 5766' and then dropped steeply to the saddle and reclimbed easily to Hard Knox 5841'. Visually I still thought the peak to the West looked taller so I continued on and climbed that as well. I took a GPS reading and indeed it did read higher but than as if became locked in the reading dropped and settled on 5835' a mere 6 ft short. I then returned to Hard Knox and my GPS showed the same elevation as the topo map at 5841'. Looking back to the West I think the trees that are on the West Peak give it an illusion that it is much taller. I christened the West Peak as Not Knox which I felt a fitting name. As I lazed on the summit and taking the great vantage point I noticed a boggy area below that still held some snow and I could see a logging road a bit further. I had remembered that there was a creek below from my previous trip so i thought I would mix it up for the descent. I easily dropped to the basin below and followed the dry stream bed until it hit the logging road and then walked the road back to the car. I saved about 150' of climb via this route and it was nice to complete the loop.

Approx 4 miles 1500' of climb 3 hours car to car

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Harding 7.20.10

I was looking for something with some mileage and some elevation gain and Harding certainly fits the bill. ONELUV1 signed on again and we managed an early start. We made the Scatter Creek Trailhead a little before eight and the temps were perfect. What wasn't so good was the hordes of mosquitos that made us quicken our pace. The unrelenting onslaught forced us to slather on the Deet which did help. Soon the grade lessened and we reached the junction with the County Line Trail. Here we headed North and crossed a couple of creeks before reaching the boggy meadows beneath Fish Eagle Pass. I was careful to make a mental note of where we entered the meadows because on two previous trips I had overshot the creek crossing making for some interesting route finding. The meadows seemed easier to navigate than in past trips and soon we reached some heavy avalanche debris that also seemed easier than I remembered. Soon the climbing returned as we made our way to Fish Eagle Pass. Here we dropped pack and had a short break. The views are worth the effort.

From the pass we easily found a great boot path that does a descending traverse to the large rock slide beneath the pass between Harding and Fish Eagle Peak. We skirted the boulder field at the bottom of it which I believe is much easier than trying to traverse it. The route is obvious to the pass and is only mildly annoying with some small scrub trees and loose footing. We made the pass and again dropped pack. I scouted around to see if we could drop to the North and I did find a route down to some snow fields below. We decided not to use this viable route on our return. We followed the ridgeline mostly on the South Side and we easily reached the summit. We had a long lunch and enjoyed the summit which felt like the central seat in the area.

We signed the summit register which only had 13 entries since it was placed in 2002. It seems interesting that such a good boot path is in place despite the loneliness of Harding. We made good time back to the pass and did some boot skiing in the soft sand of the upper gulley. I was thankful that there wasn't enough snow to impede route finding but enough to provide more than adequate water for both of us and the dogs. The balance of the descent went well and I regained the bootpath at the bottom of the rockslide. ONELUV1 traversed the rockslide and we met up for the 700' of climb back to Fish Eagle Pass. I know we were both not looking forward to the climb but we managed to plug our way up to the pass. At the pass we had another short break and while we were lounging I noticed a good trail that I haven't seen on any maps. I don't know if it is an extension of the Van Epps Trail but it leads to the Solomon Creek drainage. If this trail could be accessed by the Jeep Road that leads to Gallagher Head Lake it may provide the shortest route to Harding. After our break all that was left was the descent to the car. We stayed on route and I thankfully found the creek crossing without overshooting it again. The bugs returned with a vengeance and the remainder of the trip was spent trying to descend as fast as I could while continually swatting at every open area of skin.

Approx 13 miles 5500' of climb 9:10 car to car

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cedar Butte 7.19.10

With a day to watch the kids I thought it would be a good chance to stretch their legs. A couple at work wanted to tag along with their 4 year old so we again had a plan. We met at the Iron Horse Park trailhead under cool and cloudy skies. I hadn't done much research on the route but I felt like even just walking the Iron Horse would make for a good day. From the outset the two year old made it apparent she wasn't going to walk anywhere. If I had been alone with the kids I may have pushed the issue but I certainly didn't want to expose the rest of the gang with a hysterical child. So on my shoulders she went and remained that way for the entirety of the trip. We were able to find the trail to Cedar Butte without issue. The trail is in good shape and reaches a junction in short order. The arrow points the way and we followed. The grade eases and meanders for way too long. The trail has ups and downs and one doesn't net much of the needed gain. Finally we reached a saddle and another junction. The signage is most confusing and we ended up heading down the wrong branch. After the trail starts a steep descent I had us turn around and take the trail that even the 4 year old was sure was the right one. The trail starts switchbacking and finally gaining some elevation. Finally we reached the summit bench and famous "Cedar Butt" benchmark. We had a hasty lunch due to the hordes of mosquitoes. I had made the mistake of telling the group that this has been the best bug year ever. I hadn't even seen a mosquito before today. For the descent we used the trail that we had mistakenly taken earlier which thankfully was much shorter way back to the first junction. Soon we were back to the Iron Horse and the short ways back to the car. I again am most proud of my 4 year old who led the way the entire way. It was fun for me to see her passing on her knowledge to the other 4 year old in the group. Note to self carrying a 2 year old on your shoulders for 3:30 doesn't do much for ones neck.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Davis Peak 7.13.10

I had climbed to the Davis Peak Lookout many years ago but I didn't make my way to the true summit further West. I had read some reports about traversing to Goat Mt which is included in the HC/100 and thus needed to be climbed. I felt like it would make a good combo. I had some plans in the evening and my cousin inlaw Scott was in town so I had a plan and some company. In order to make it fit into the time frame I had him spend the night avoiding my having to pick him up in Downtown Seattle. We were out the door shortly after 5am and after a few stops we were heading over Snoqualmie Pass to some blue skies. I had some concern that Scott didn't have any gear and bought trail running shoes the night before. I was concerned that there would probably be some lingering snow patches that wouldn't be passable with trail running shoes. I was able to drive the Subaru all the way to the trailhead only after we moved a large log blocking the road. I was very surprised that we were able to move it at all, I guess it was the big breakfast I had. We travelled light and made good time up the many switchbacks. I remebered that there wasn't any water so I had brought plenty extra for myself and the pups. A small squall blew in and we layered up only to take the layers off a short time later. Soon enough the enormous windbreak came into view. We had a short rest and soon thereafter we headed on the easy to follow boot tread heading West. The route cleverly avoids many of the obstacles on the ridge and we had no problem topping out on 6490'. There was a point to the North that was a little higher but I believe the point we were on is considered the true summit. I scouted for a short time to find a way to make my way below us in order to traverse to the notch in the North ridge. I found a safe way down but the notch was guarded by some low angle snow slopes. I felt like this wasn't a prudent move to continue so I climbed back up to the ridge. There was an inviting unmapped pond just West and below the summit. We retraced our route and dropped very quickly to the valley below. We passed a group of five who were waiting for their sixth member to catch up and later we passed a solo climber that had made it to the lookout while we on the true summit. It was nice to get out with Scott again and I very much look forward to doing it again next time he is visiting from Indiana.

Approx 11 miles 4300' of climb 5:45 car to car

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grindstone 7.7.10

Well this one didn't go as planned but I made the best of it. I managed to get out of bed at 4am hoping to beat the expected high heat. It took me a bit longer than expected to reach the washout on the Icicle Creek Road due to many of my stops involving stores that were yet to open. Thankfully it was cool as I geared up. I made it about a .25 mile before realizing that I had left my trekking pole in the car. I felt it would be useful higher up so I turned around to get it. As I made it back to the car a truck with two dogs in it was just pulling in. In an effort to unlock the car I dropped the leash. The shepard decided to say high by jumping up on the side of the bed of the truck making some deep scratches. I wasted some time giving the unhappy driver my personal information so that I can fix it. Now after getting up early with not nearly enough sleep was a bit more than I could handle. Thankfully I was able to channel my immense displeasure for my dog into pounding out the mileage to the Chattter Creek Trailhead somewhat faster. I reached the trail and began my way up. The first portion meanders a little before crossing Chatter Creek and then the work begins. This steepness arrived with full sunlight and much warmer temperatures. As is the case the first warm hike of the year takes it's toll on me. I pushed on thankfully reaching the cool shady area of the recrossing of Chatter Creek. I was pleased that the water was lower than other trips making it much easier to get all three of us across. After the creek crossing there is some more climbing before the grade eases off when reaching the wonderful basin at around 5100'. This is where my fix job on the dogs pack came apart making it useless to me. Since I had no room to stow anything else in my pack and the idea of throwing it over my pack didn't appeal to me I wasn't certain what my next move would be. I found a nice sheltered spot to drop pack and weigh my options. I decided it would be best to stash most of my gear and go light with just what I needed to bivy. It amazed me after off loading a few pounds how much better my legs felt. In short order I was at the basin before the trail makes it's final push to the pass. Here the snow started and was mostly continuous to the summit. I had reports of staying on the ridge until 7400' but that didn't look appealing because of the massive cornice that overhung that route. I could see someone had kicked steps directly underneath it and skirted it's side. I am sure the condition might have been better when this was done but I don't think I would try that no matter what the circumstances were. I put on crampons and kicked steps the short steep portion to reach the ridge at 7000'. Here I had to try to find a way down the other side. I removed my crampons and was able to find some dirt and trees that gave my some security to reach the more mellow slopes below. Once again on snow I had to traverse some ways before I could make the last push to the summit. I was thankful that this portion was under the cover of snow because I am sure that this traverse is mostly loose rock and would be very tedious. With the worst past I now had to try to determine which of the many summits was the true summit. I remembered some pictures from a previous trip that looked like the way so I followed. I was able to see some footprints coming down of the ridge from the 7400' level and I made my way towards them hoping they might have an idea of the best route. When I intersected the track I surprised to find that it was laid my mountain goat. I followed until I broke out on the summit ridge where I traversed to the small saddle and then switchbacked to the summit. The views were tremedous as I sat among the hordes of ladybugs. I thumbed through the register which was placed in 1994 and saw many familiar names. I was shocked to see so many entries, I wouldn't have thought it would see so many visitors. I had the honor of being the first entry for this year, although I thought there were signs of skiers up on the higher slopes.

Some of the many pictures I took. It seems that none really came out well

I debated on what to do next. I saw a gap on the North tending ridge that leads to Cape Horn which was the next stop on my itinerary. There was small pass with easy slopes on the West and it appeared mellow on the East as well. I gave much thought of going through the gap and traversing to Lake Edna. In the end I decided that it would be best to head back to my stowed belongings. I chose a more direct descent of a nice snow filled gully. The beagle found something to investigate and lingered and I was able to shoot some interesting pictures of his descent.

Once back on my uptrack I followed in footprints until just before I reached the way I had come down. Here I angled a little further East and reached bare dirt that lead me easily to the ridge. I made quick work back to my makeshift camp. Once back I realized I still had plenty of time to make it out since I had only 2 hours to get back to the car. I debated while making dinner and sometime after until finally deciding to stay the night. I had a great night sleep and finally got out of the sack around 8:30 and made some coffee and hit the road. When I reached the car there were plenty of official vehicles so I inquired on what the issue was. I had a tough time to get anyone to acknowledge me. Finally one man told me that someone possibly needed help on Jack Ridge. I know that they were trying to formulate a plan but since it was apparent that I had been on more than a day hike I would have thought they might be at least interested on where I had come from. Granted I don't know all the particulars but if I had seen something it could have proved valuable to their efforts. All in all it was another satisfying trip.

Approx 14 miles 5500' of climb 27 hours car to car

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Little Bulger 6.29.10

As is my pattern I don't always do things the way things are normally done. Little Bulger is one of the rarer visited summits of the Home Court 100. While I don't have any concrete information to prove this but I would be willing to bet it doesn't see many summits. The standard approach is via Dingford Creek and leave from between the two Myrtle Lakes. I wasn't thrilled about doing that route and last year I set out from Dorothy Lake to Bear/Deer Lakes. I ran out of enthusiasm without mustering an attempt. Today with ONELUV1 signing on for another outing I had more hope for success. We managed good time to the Dorothy Lake Trailhead and soon we were underway under mostly cloudy skies. The trail is great shape all the way to inlet crossing. The bridge is still out so we switched to sandals to manage the crossing. The trail to Bear/Deer Lakes is in great shape and we easily made it to the saddle above the lakes. Here we left trail and traversed above the East Shore of Bear Lake. I had used this route from return from my trip late last year. We finally made it to the meadow area on the SE side of the lake. Here we had a short lunch and plotted our next move. I thought I had remembered a nice gully that would take us to the upper slopes, but this gully was mostly melted out and had quite a bit of moving water. This didn't appeal to me so I led us across a creek that had some healthy flow. Once on the West side of the creek we headed mostly due South until we reached an East/West tending ridge at 4200'. This portion was rather brushy greatly slowing our progress. Once on the ridge we turned East and the brush abated. I was able to follow something similar to a trail. I am guessing long ago there was some mining up high. After a short boulder field we were stymied by some rock outcroppings so we traversed on some sketchy snow until we were a able to take a nice ramp that led to some open snow slopes. The snow was great for kicking steps and we made good time to reach the what I thought was the summit area. I was hugely dismayed to see an impressive pinnacle that looked nearly unclimbable that was certainly higher than where we stood. Further along the ridge I saw an area that looked to be 100' higher. We had to drop some elevation to make the snow slopes that led us thankfully to the true summit. Once on the summit I was quite surprised by how steeply the ridge dropped to the potholes below us. The vantage of the pinnacle was also striking showing that the slope was actually more than 90 degrees. While the views of Big Snow and the surrounding peaks was impressive it lost some of impact due to cloud cover. We had some discussion about our return but I felt the known was better than the appealing more direct line. The descent went very quickly. I erred on the last 200' and we ended up in the next bay to the West. We decided to head along the West shore for the SHORT ways to the trail on the North side of the lake. Well the way was very brushy and thankfully we made back on trail without too much bloodletting. Once on trail we made much better time. On the descent to Dorothy the beagle fell through some rotten snow and completely disappeared only to reappear 15' further downhill from underneath the snow. He didn't seem bothered in the least and we had a good laugh over the episode. We reached the inlet and reapplied sandals which we both kept on for the rest of the way to the car. While I am not sure I would recommend this route it went and it was a very rewarding day. I was thankful for another day with great company.

Approx 14 miles 4300' of climb 9 hours car to car

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sherpani 6.22.10

I had posted a thread for partners and had quite a few responses but slowly most went on to other plans. ONELUV1 met me at the Issaquah PR and we waited for the third who never showed. We stowed the gear and I broke him in to my annoying dogs and their penchant for barking at each and every car they see. Thankfully ONELUV1 didn't jump out of the car before we hit I-90. Soon we were heading on past Salmon La Sac Campground and the road was much better than last week's bumbfest on the North Fork Teanaway Road. We parked at the Paddy Go Easy Trail in front of the huge anthill that has been there for as many years as I can remember. The weather was glorious with unbroken sun with perfect temps. We were making good time, maybe slower than normal since ONELUV1 hadn't been in the area before I was pointing out many of the points of interest. We reached snow around 5400' and left the trail shortly thereafter. I had read a spot on report from Ragman and Rodman so route finding was very easy. The intial portion was unpleasant for me as I broke through a few too many times. I dropped a little lower finding much better snow conditions. Once we were below the saddle we quickly reached the ridgeline. I figured there would be much more and better quality snow on the East side of the ridge and I wasn't disappointed. There was a ton of snow and it was very consolidated. We traversed to a small shoulder and then dropped a bit to again climb to another saddle. Here we dropped pack. We took a direct line to Sherpani's East Ridge and kicked steps to the summit block. We had to tease out a few options before we settled on the South side traversing the East side and corkscrewing all the way to the South side. Once we reached the "coffin top" perched on the summit a small jump up and we were on top. There is a wonderful summit register with many familiar names. The regsiter pays homage to the Prater's and it is apparant that they had many admirers. One entry stood out to me, a 7 year old had made the climb. I found this most impressive. As is usual for me I found it difficult to hang out on the summit even though the summit flat and large enough for a larger party. I downclimbed back to the base of the summit block and had a quick bite. The return trip went much faster than I expected, once on the West side again I dropped lower to avoid the post hole hell of our ascent. I found great snow in the trees and would have saved considerable time had I not started descending too early. We traversed for quite a ways before we regained the trail. Thankfully reaching the trail again we put it on cruise control and soon we were back at the car.

Approx 9 miles 3500' of climb 6:45 car to car

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gene's Peak 6.15.10

With the less than stellar forecast I was hoping that the Teanaway effect would be in full force. I was lucky enough to have Blane one of my co-workers sign on. True to form as we crested Snoqualmie Pass the weather cleared and the sun broke through. I did have some concern because I saw a few large thunderheads further East. I was dismayed by the condition of the North Fork Teanaway Road, it was a pot holed mess. I have been on this road many times and I have never seen it anywhere close to this poor of condition. Thankfully we finally reached the Iron Peak Trail. I wanted to use this trail to avoid any creek crossings. I have some not so fond memories of crossing both Bean Creek and Beverly Creek and wanted to avoid any chance of a repeat. We decided to pass on taking the snowshoes but I did stow my crampons just in case. The trail was in good shape as we made our way up the easy grade. We reached snow around 5200' and it soon became consistent. The snow slowed our pace along with my taking 6 weeks off from climbing. Soon we were at the saddle between Iron-Gene saddle. There was some sign of recent passage so I followed. We quickly left snow for some loose rock scrambling. I decided on the way up that I would prefer to find a different line for our descent. I found it interesting while I was doing my best to avoid rock, Blane clearly was steering towards it. Finally I dropped a small ways to allow me to access the snow field that lead all the way to the summit. Thankfully on snow again the pace again quickened and we were both on the summit. The views were great for what we could see. It appeared that we were in the only sun filled spot for some distance. I watched cloud bursts pound all the nearby peaks for the time we were on the summit and yet none were able to burst throught the Teanaway effect and we managed to be in full sun the entire day. After lounging for some time we decided to make our way down. I led us further East and soon we were cliffed out. Unwilling to admit defeat I climbed back up a short ways until I found a snowy ramp that led to a very glissadable gulley. After reaching the bottom we wove our way through some gulleys and loose scree. Finally we reached the bottom only to realize that we had to climb 500' back to the saddle. Now we were in full sun and it was getting warm. I couldn't help but think Blane was thinking why didn't we just come down the way we had come. To his credit when I broached the subject he just replied, that we both probably could use some extra conditioning. Once at the saddle we stopped for a short snack before the short descent to the car. I was surprised to see some fresh prints going down and in short order we crossed paths with those who had made them. A nice older couple out for a nice hike. A truly beautiful day to be out among some great company. On a curious side note, there seems to be some conjecture about Sherpa's Peak balanced rock in relation to the height of the true summit. Gene's Peak has a great view of it. I am mostly positive that the balanced rock is higher. I am not sure if this picture does a good job of showing it but it does seem apparent from the field.

Approx 9 miles 3500' of climb 5:30 car to car

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mariner's Peak 6.8.10

With the sun finally coming out on a day I didn't have to work I was anxious to get out. My wife's busy season is finally coming to an end, but I still had the kids so something I could drive the Audi to and was easy for the kids was in order. I want to get them used to the longer drives to some of the areas I love so I thought something in the Salmon La Sac area would be good practice. I gave the kids some options and the river walk won out. I was able to coax the Audi to the trailhead for Cooper River/Waptus lake and parked. The intial portion winds next to the Cooper River and it is enough of a drop to the river to give me some concern for the kids. Once the trail reaches the junction to Polallie ridge it breaks away from the river and is a nice trail for my little hikers. After stopping for a short time a couple with a dog passed us on their way to Waptus Lake. As I was looking around I noticed a small slabby area above us that might provide some views. Soon we were on our way for the girl's first official "scramble". After reaching the top of the slabs there was a perfect rock bench to have lunch. It really looked as if someone had chisled the perfect place to sit and eat. It was a very special moment for me watching the kids eat their lunches, I have to admit I was teary eyed. The slabs kept going up so after lunch we followed a short ways until we crested a small point. I told my oldest since she was the first to ascend this mighty peak she had earned the right to name it. She was quick to name it Mariner's Peak. While most of the peaks were not visible I found an interesting perspective on The Lourve and what I think was Teanaway Peak. I cautioned the oldest to be very careful on the descent and with some advice on how to fall, if you are going to fall. I carried the little one on my shoulders which made some interesting balancing for me. The way back was a quick jaunt with a short tense moment passing near the river again.

Approx 2 miles 600' of climb 1:30 car to car

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Squak Mt. 6.1.10

with the combination of work, my wife's work and the inlaws in town getting out hasn't been an option. For me not to get out tends to make me more than a bit edgy. Since the rain finally let up for a day I thought it would be a good time to get the kids back into the swing of things. Since I am putting up the baby backpack on the auction block I thought it time to wean the littlest one. I didn't have much expectations for much of a walk but I thought you have to start somewhere. Much to my surprise the little one far out did my hopes. While she has been to the summit with her older sister, I had carried her. I was so proud of my little two year old when a single hiker passed us and was shocked that she had walked so far. To add to her proud papa's glow she walked another half mile before deciding she had enough. As is the family tradition we planted a stick that we had found on the ascent. This both marks our highpoint and provides inspiration for the next jaunt. Hopefully the stick will soon be planted firmly on the summit. On the descent we were treated to two beautifully fit horses running up the road. I marvelled at the sheer size of both of them. It was interesting to see the veins pumped full of blood just sticking out, certainly a memorable sight. It was nice to finally getting my legs stretched some even if it was just for a short time.

Approx 3 miles 800' of climb 1:30 car to car

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Teanaway Road 5.4.10

With the elevated avy forecast I wasn't too enthused with climbing anything. I still wanted to at least get out and check out the conditions. I thought I might have a shot at some sun in Teanaway and with the roads opening up I thought I might give the Beverly Creek Trail a go. I also had hope that the Eastern Crest would have been spared the brunt of the previous day's heavy snow making the conditions markedly safer. I stopped at my usual tanking up spot and once again won $50 on a scratch ticket. With the day off to a good start I made my way over snowy Snoqulamie Pass. True to form the weather was partly sunny East of the crest. The fresh snow started just before the 29 Pines campground and covered the road shortly thereafter. The snow was rutted from previous traffic so there were not issues. When I reached the road that branches off to the Beverly Creek Trail it hadn't been driven on and looked as I was going by that it wasn't passable. My next thought was to see how far I could drive. After another mile I was stopped by snow too deep to proceed. I found a nice spot to park and suited up. Even though the sky was mostly cloudy the sun was unbroken on me for the entire trip. The road appears some time away from being drivable. There are three trees over the road, the first is very large and may be able to be winched out but more than likely it will have to be cut by a very large saw. I plodded on hoping to reach the trail that climbs to the saddle between Gene's Peak( Teanaway Peak ) and Iron Peak. It appears that I misjudged the distance I had to walk to reach this trail sapping my desire to continue on. I could see the ridge above me heavily corniced in full sunlight. Truthfully this time of year it doesn't take much to convince me to come home early. I always have in the back of my mind that the fish could be biting at home. I start to think of how much fun it would be to be tooling around the lake with the family in the boat. I retraced my steps marvelling how much of the road was reclaimed by the warm sun. As I past the Beverly Creek turnoff I was dismayed to see the road completely melted out as far as I could see, making me wish I would have given it a go.

Approx 5 miles 400' of climb 2 hours car to car

Monday, April 26, 2010

Anderson Lake 4.26.10

Late last week the forecast for Monday looked to be stellar so I had planned for a longer outing. After a wonderful annual fishing derby event on Saturday and a day to recoup I was excited to head out. The weather was warm when I woke up so I decided to stick with my original plan. I had hoped to add a partner to share the day with but I was without any luck. I was happy to see the Middle Fork Road had recently been graded to help to keep my teeth rattling out of my head while I made my way to the Taylor River Parking area. I was hoping to see the gate open for the rest of the MFR but no such luck. The weather was much cooler than when I left my house so my aspirations didn't feel as rosy. I have many fond memories of the Taylor River Road in my youth and it has been several years since I have been on it. I was surprised at the condition it was like a super highway much better than the last time I was there. I named the bridge of Marten creek the 45 minute bridge since it always seemed to take me 45 minutes to get there. I was dismayed that I arrived after 51 minutes giving me for the first time proof I am slowing in my old age. Not to let that fact dismay me I walked 150 or so feet, just past the pair of jeans hanging in the tree and headed up. There was at one time a miner's trail that made it's way to Anderson Lake. The initial portion was full of blowdowns but since it wasn't steep they didn't really impede my progress. I was happy because my legs felt better than they have felt in a long time as I blazed the 2400' of climb to Anderson Lake. I was able to follow the old trail for long periods of time and the brush was very minimal. I hit snow around 3600' and shortly thereafter started a rising traverse to the lake. I resisted putting on the snowshoes, although I am not sure why. Once at the lake I could hear the wind howling above me and the leading edge of the rain was coming. I had hoped to climb to the East and run the ridge to Morpheous. I figured I had 3 hours up and back which would have put me home before my expected time. However I knew I wouldn't be able to outrun the rain. I had some qualms of making the long descent back to the Taylor River Road. With everything wet it would have changed the complexion of the descent. I had this intense feeling I was a long ways away from anything. I reluctantly decided to put on the snowshoes and head down. If I had some company I surely would have been comfortable continuing but it wasn't the case solo. The route down went very quickly thankfully without a tense moment. I stopped for a short lunch at the new bridge over Marten Creek and enjoyed the nice walk back to the car.

Approx 8 miles 3100' of climb 6 hours car to car

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bing Peak 4.15.10

With all the unconsolidated snow in the hills I wasn't looking to climb anything this week. I did hold out hope that someone would summit something this weekend giving some broken trail to follow. When I saw Martin S. trip report for Bing Peak I knew that was the ticket. Using Martin's great directions I easily found my logging spur on the Money Creek Road and parked. The road was overgrown but passable. When Martin was there was snow from the onset and I hoped that that wouldn't have changed making route finding a breeze. But there was very little snow from the onset so when I reached a road junction I headed right instead of left that I should have gone. After leaving the road and pushing through some wet brush for a short ways I started to feel like this wasn't the right way. I retraced my steps and took the proper branch. I was able to see some signs of recent passage so I felt like I was on route. The going weaves through some wonderful old growth and the brush is manageable. I saw some flagging bolstering my confidence that I was still on route. Finally the snow appeared and was deep enough that I could find the previous parties trench. Initially the trench was obscure enough that I made the dogs walk behind me so that it would be easier to see. As I climbed the way became obvious and I just put my head down and plugged away. Around 3700' the route starts a flat traverse to some open slopes and I switced to snowshoes. These open slopes had a foot of new snow covering the trench slowing me some. I was very thankful that someone had punched in the route because there is no way I could have made it solo otherwise. Soon I reentered the trees and the trench was scoured undoubtedly by the previous groups glissade. I dropped pack and took off the snowshoes that I only had on for around 400' of climb. Since the route now was steep and the snow firm I broke out the ice axe. I finally broke out on the ridge and the going slowed to a crawl. Even with the previous track I had a couple portions where I had to scrape the top layer of snow and pack it into a step so I could continue. One particulally bad portion was too much for the Beagle and he remained behind. After going over a few bumps I finally topped out. Even though I had an easy route finding day and the peak is not well known it provided a very good challenge and some sweet satisfaction. Thanks Martin for doing the grunt work allowing my success

Approx 4 miles 3100' of climb 5:45 car to car

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Temple Mt. 4.13.10

While this was most assuredly not the goal for the day it did provide a fun outing. I had an early morning meeting to attend on my day off so that ate up some valuable time. One of my co-workers had shown some interest in joining me so I waited after my meeting for Blane to arrive losing even more time. The weather was a steady downpour so I had doubted Blane would be in for a long day in the rain. To his credit the weather was never an issue. I had some reports of recent climbing activity in the area and the snow conditions didn't seem like they were going to be very good. I thought it best to once again pirate someone else's hard work. I had heard that a group at tried for Cleveland via the traditional logging road approach so I thought that would be a suitable goal. I was able to drive to the first switchback putting the Subaru's ground clearance to the test. I did a 100 point turn and parked. The rain had stopped enroute and the skies seemed to becoming brighter. We walked the road for around 1.5 miles before switching to snowshoes. The going was easy and we made good time. I grew weary of the road walk so we cut some switchback and actually found good snow conditions in the shelter of the trees. After cutting one switchback we popped out on the road to find no trench. I had assumed previous group had used the road until it's end. I wish I would have continued on the road but I wanted to use as much of the broken trail as I could. We headed left(down) and rejoined the trench. I was amazed that I could barely follow the trench in the trees. After attending the Mariner's game yesterday with my wife and not seeing the kids for the entire day, I started to feel guilty because I knew that I would be back to work and wouldn't see them too much in the next two days. I decided that Temple Mt. would have to do to allow some time with the little ones. I thankfully was able to spend a couple hours of great family time before they went to bed.

Approx 8 miles 1800' of climb 4 hours car to car

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Maloney Ridge Road 3.30.10

After a most disturbing week of work, I needed to get out and think some things through. With all the new snow and the high avy dangers climbing anything seemed out of the question. I desperatly wanted to stretch my legs however so I decided to see all this new snow first hand. As I made my way up US 2 I couldn't believe that there was snow just outside of Index. I made my way up the Foss River Road and then turned on the road that leads to Maloney Lookout. I was able to drive to around 2400' before I decided that the snow was deep enough to warrant stopping. I packed up and booted my way up the snowy road. The snow depth increased quickly and I switched to snowshoes. The weather went from heavy snow to sunshine to heavy snow back to sunshine. After reaching the junction I stayed on the road leading to Evans Lake. The snow here was easily more than 2' which made the beagle have to bunny hop from one of my steps to the next. I had to laugh looking back and seeing that my prints were as deep as he is tall. I half intended on going to Maloney Lakes or even the little bump to the NE of the upper lake. After pushing the beagle a little further I realized that would be too much for the little guy. Thankfully I was able to sort out my thoughts and made it home to spend some extra time with the family.

Approx 5 miles 800' of climb

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Miller River Road 3.23.10

With the nice weather predicted for today I was excited to get out and start subtracting some peaks off my list. I went to Preston to pick up Bruce only to realize that he PM'd that he wouldn't be able to make it. I intended on a pretty stout off trail day and it lessened my enthusiasm to being solo. I pressed on making good time to my parking spot at the start of the West Miller River Road despite nearly falling asleep. After a 10 minute power nap I was recharged and ready to go. I have a strong dislike for the WMRR because of the rough slippery nature of it. I knew I wasn't going to be spending too much time on it so that lessened my angst. The plans was to leave the road at around 1600' just after the fresh rockslide . On the map it is just after where the the creek used to flow. I gave some thought of emulating the Quartz Mt report I had read recently and using the gully itself. I had read two reports of using the ridge and both made it sound steep but uneventful. I found the initial portion steep but mostly open. Upon reaching some mossy slabs I wove my way through them and began to see this efficient route was much more than expected. I pushed on for a short ways before I started to feel like a solo trip was not a wise choice. I traversed back towards the gully and was able to catch a glimpse higher up and it seems like it would work. I gave some thought of dropping into the gully but it was nearly 100' below me. I decided that the day would be better spent doing some chores at home. As I descended it became clear to me that I had made a wise choice. The moss on the steep slopes is not well mated with the slabs making for some unnerving descending. Thankfully I made it back to the road and stopped long enough to soak up some sun and eat my lunch. After making it back to the car I decided to see how far I could drive up the Miller River Road and surprising to me I could drive all the way to the end.

Approx 2 miles 800' of climb

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teanaway Ridge 3.16.10

I had been monitoring both the weather and avy conditions all week trying to get a trip that would go. Thankfully the avy conditions lessened enough to give me lots of options. After enjoying a balmy 66 degree day on Monday I could feel the winds of change. The forecast looked like the rain and wind would hold out until the afternoon giving me some hope. After the wind kicked up in the evening I was sure that the rain would arrive early. Yet when I awoke it was warm calm and dry. I picked up Bruce in Preston and had a debate on where to go. I had hoped to try for Cleveland but I was unsure if the weather would hold out long enough for that. The clincher was when Bruce asked me about my other attempts for Cleveland and why I hadn't been successful. My reply was it was that it pouring out. To that his reply was maybe we shouldn't do that. So East it was. I had been looking over the quads and noticed that I hadn't done Teanaway Ridge 4943' so there it was. The weather was actually cold when we reached the Iron Creek/Hovey Creek junction off of HY 97. Shortly after the sun peeked over the trees it warmed considerably and remained dry and windless for the entire day. We booted up the Hovey creek road passing one junction and then reached a second one that matched my map. Heading up the road started going the wrong direction so I led us up through the freshly logged area for 300' of climb until I saw another road beneath us. Thinking this surely must be the right road we gave up some hard earned elevation to reach the road. I then decided that that didn't look right either. We started off cross country for a short way before I decided thigh deep snow in a recent logged area didn't suit me. Becoming frustrated I led us back to the Hovey Creek Road for plan B. We walked the road until we reached a junction where the main line had been bermed to keep motorized traffic from continuing. The spur heading to our right looked interesting because it didn't appear on my map. We followed this to it's end. The area above us was open and mostly snow free. It was somewhat steep and the footing was soft and loose but it afforded quick elevation gain. We quickly reached the ridgeline just West of 4002'. We climbed a short steep snow slope to reach a well defined ridgeline which we followed towards the day's goal. After pushing through a short area of brush we reached some open slopes for the last 300' to the summit. While 4943' is a nice seat for regional views the tree cover prevents easy viewing. I managed to contort myself to catch some clear views through the branches of the trees. We had a quick lunch and didn't waste much time making it back to the car in less than 90 minutes. After being pounded by wind and rain on the ride home I was thankful to take Bruce's advice and head East. We surely would have had a miserable time West of the crest..

Approx 7 miles 2300' of climb with detours 5:15 car to car

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tusk O' Granite Aka West Granite 3.9.10

I had hoped to start this week with knocking off peaks off the Home/Back Court 100 but I had only a half day and didn't think I could fit one in. I needed something close which is becoming hard to find one that I haven't done yet. I decided that West Granite should fit in my time frame. West Granite lacks less than 100' of prominence to be included into the Home Court 100 so it is a worthy objective. I had read of a few routes but I chose the most direct line hoping to speed things along. I parked at the Pratt Lake Trailhead with only one other car in the lot. There was a light snow in the trees from the previous day but nothing substantial. The weather was a little brisk but much nicer than expected. I suited up and was off. I intended on using the trail until the first major creek crossing after the junction with the Granite Mt. Trail. I crossed the creek and made my way up a couple of switchbacks and on the last one I headed off trail. I was able to follow a fairly worn boot track under the snow cover and the both the grade and the brush were tolerable. Around 3600' the grade steepened and the brush became very annoying. The ground had a light cover of snow with the ground being very firm underneath. Trying to get a good push to bull my way through some of the thicker brush was very time consuming and frustrating. I kept getting my pack hung up and would have to untangle myself frequently. I decided on the way up that there was no way I was going to descend via this route. Finally at 4000' I hit solid snow. I switched to snowshoes but I think either booting it or crampons would have worked. Now on snow the elevation started ticking away at a much faster pace. I had good legs so I stayed on the ridgeline instead of traversing towards the nice basin to my East as I had planned. Soon I crested Red 2 and dropped 100' to the saddle. From Red 2 the summit of West Granite looked quite far away. From the saddle I pushed up the steeper slopes and very quickly I was on the summit. Now it was time to figure out how I was going to get down. I had thought of heading East and Making for Granite Mountain proper but since I had already been there many times it didn't hold any attraction. I thought of traversing the lovely basin below me and climb out of it and traverse to the Winter Route for Granite but that didn't seem appealing. I followed my ascent until I reached the saddle and I dropped to the West. I know that this is usually the route of choice for ascending West Granite so I felt pretty good about this choice. After dropping 200' I decided to take off the snowshoes and just plunge step my way down. As I headed West I tried to angle to the South to try to cut some distance off. I Traversed to a wonderful snow slope that had perfect snow for descending. As I nearly reached the bottom I turned back and looked at my steps through the otherwise untracked snow and that was the highlight of my day. Soon I reached the bottom of the snow slope and was in the trees. I crossed a creek and started looking for signs of the Pratt Lake Trail. Soon I spied a trench in the snow on the other side of the creek and when I looked down I was practically on the trail. Thankfully I joined the trench for the much longer than expected route out. Once I reached the junction to Talapus Lake the trail became exceedingly slippery and much care had to be taken. Even with this vigilance I managed to take a hard fall, but thankfully no damage was done. I had expected the weather to worsen as the day went along but the sun broke through and made for a nice walk to the car.

Approx 8 miles 3800' of climb 5:45 car to car

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Dungeon 3.2.10

When it comes to obscure you can't beat Peakbagger.com for ideas. While Dungeon would be well up the list of Homecourt 100 peaks it just lacking the benchmark prominence of 500'. With 400' of clean prominence it seemed a worthy objective. Dungeon can readily be seen from Snoqualmie pass . I believe this is the play where it derives it's name. I have to admit it took me a while to make the connection. While Dungeon sounds like a cool name for a peak it doesn't really make any literal sense. I believe that the it is a play on it's taller neighbor Rampart Ridge and the dungeon does tend to be below the castle's ramparts. If I had my choice I would have tried a day earlier when the forecasted weather seemed more cooperative, but alas we don't always get the best option. So with today's messy forecast I picked up Bruce in Preston and we were off. The drizzle evaportated into some sunny weather as we crested the pass. It seems every time I use the road that parallels on the North side of I-90 I have to park further back. There was very little snow on the road that was "closed" as much as I wanted to subtract some of the mindless road walking I for once obeyed. The road where there was snow was packed down by heavy snowmobile use the going was fast. Soon we reached our first junction and continued straight instead of following the main line. This road leads to the fisherman's trail that I have used to acess Lake Lillian and today would be our route of choice. After two hours we reached the dogleg in the road where the roads starts back to the South and here we continuted North. I half expected firm snow conditions but instead we had soft heavy snow so we shoed up. I led us best I could by memory of where I thought the trail went. I erred a bit and was following a feeder stream instead of the main water course coming from Lake Laura. We did a uncomfortable traverse across snow bridges to hit the crusty snow under the trees. Soon the going got icy and steep giving me much concern for our descent. We reached a small flat area and stopped to catch our breaths. I was able to see some signs that we were on route so I led us up a small sub ridge to some more steep areas. Feeling pretty sapped already I stopped and ate a quick lunch. Thankfully I was able to see a small gap to aim for that I surmised was the route to the lake. Once at the lake the views were worth the effort that we had expended so far.

Even though rationally I knew walking on the lake was safe I had a hard time venturing too far out on the ice. Once back on solid ground we caught our first glimpse of our summit. After crossing the outlet and another gap we were finally on open slopes. After about 200' of gain we hit a short nearly vertical slope that I could not make with my snowshoes on so I retreated a dropped the snowshoes and my pack. Once over this steep portion the grade slacked for a short ways until we reached a buttress that we bypassed on it's North side. Here again the pitch steepened and I found renewed legs. Once around the buttress the slope again slackened and I could see what I thought was the summit close at hand. The views were just beginning to open up.

Again the grade steepened which was much easier than the postholing in the flatter areas. I reached a corniced edge which I went around and finally saw our summit another 150' above us with again lesser slope. I was a bit demoralized because I thought we were about to top out so I had Bruce take over trailbreaking for the last push to the summit. Thankfully we reached the summit for some impressive views.

Running low on time I pushed the pace back to the lake and soon were making our descent back to the valley below. I wanted to avoid the icy stretches so I aimed for some more open areas of softer snow that I had avoided on the way up. I had a short tense face in descent of a slabby watercourse with rotten snow but that was a small price to pay to avoid the iced over steeper sections. Soon we were back on the road for the long slog out. For good measure the weather had been much more agreeable than expected but our luck ran out as it poured the last 4 miles back to the car. Thanks to Bruce for making this trip a success I am rather doubtful that I would have made it solo. Another wonderful day to be out. Even though the vertical on this trip was only moderate it was a very taxing day.

Approx 13 miles 3200' of climb 8:30 car to car

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bearscout 2.22.10

With company in town I had given up on going out this week. Much to my surprise my wife "suggested" I should go out and take advantage of the beautiful weather. Evidently cleaning house is much easier without two dogs and a husband to get in the way. Not to stare down good fortune I was out the door before she could change her mind. I had a plan just for this contingency and I made a quick stop to get some liquids.

I had an interesting exchange with the cashier Me " I will take one of those lottery tickets" Her " this one" Me "no that one isn't speaking to me" Her "so this one is" Me " yes it is". I went out and scratched it and not too surprising to me I won $50, which I went back in to redeem. I knew now I was going to have a great day.

The goal was Bearscout , an unnamed peak, Which lies above the head of Hansen Creek and derives it's name from the two lakes is watches over. Scout lake to the North and Bear Lake to the South. I had been up the Hansen Creek Road two weeks ago when I did Humpback so I knew I could drive to the 4wd road that I would use for my approach. The weather couldn't have been nicer and I only wore shirt and shorts for a Winter's summit, wow who would have thought. The initial portion of the road was melted with some ice but very passable. Soon the snow started and it was very firm making for easy going. I had read a few reports and I wasn't enthused with crossing Hansen Creek to get to Scout Lake and the reports of the West Ridge was the route I used. After reaching the end of the road I pushed through 300' of climb through small densely packed trees. I switched to crampons here as I crossed a small feeder creek. The trees became a litte farther spaced apart helping with the annoying factor. I drifted too far West and I popped out on a logging road at 4000' feet.

With the worst over I followed the road a short ways it's end. I angled to the SE to a wonderful stand of trees that had perfect cramponing snow. This mini glade was the highlight of the whole trip for me. The grade was easy and I quickly made the 400' to the West ridge. The rigde is open and had softer snow but nothing warranting putting snowshoes on that were to remain strapped to my back for the entire day. Most reports I read had all descended the East Ridge so I expected some sort of shenanigans but the ascent was very straightforward. At about 5000' I hit open snow slopes on the South side of the ridge. The footing was so great that I didn't bother to break out the ice axe. A slip here would have made for a long slide down. With such great snow and nothing to hinder my progress I quickly made it to the summit. I dropped pack and couldn't believe my good fortune to be on such a wonderful seat with such perfect weather. It was warm and calm and I didn't even have to add any layers.

After snapping quite a few pictures I retraced my steps back to the upper logging road. I was thinking that the reason most people descend the East ridge is to avoid the unpleasant portion of the upclimb to the West ridge. I had a brilliant idea to avoid this by walking the road at 4000' until I was closer to my car. This in the end went well but not without some tense moments. I walked for about a half mile where there were some steep snow slopes of bullet proof snow that I quickly descended only to find a small 25' cliff barring any further progress. I am sure that I could have found a way but I instead climbed 200' back to the road above me and walked for another half mile where I spied a mostly snowless descent with some open rockslide beneath that all going straight to the car. I took off the crampons and made my way down to a small basin and know I needed to drop through a swath of pygmy trees to access the rock slide beneath me. The snow was hard as a rock and I didn't want to take the time to put my crampons back on. Thankfully I reached the rocks slide which I rode to it's end and entered the more mature forest which was much more open and quickly I popped out on the road just feet from my car. Just a stunning day that I was overjoyed to be able to make it out.

Also the Hansen Creek road can only be accessed by using exit 42 and heading East on road #55. The usual route is closed for a logging operation.

Approx 6 miles 2400' of climb 5 hours car to car

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mount Kent 2.15.10

I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to make it out this week, but as it worked out I had a half day. I had seen a post from Flow looking for a partner and we exchanged information and we had a plan. I had been doing some research about some South side of I-90 peaks and saw a great report from Justus on the Duke of Kent. While I wasn't planning on doing that climb I thought a bird's eye view of the gully would be interesting. Since Mount Kent was so close it seemed like a worthy alternative. I think the standard route uses the McClellan Butte trail and meets up with some logging roads and makes it way to Alice Lakes and summits from there. In Justus report I saw the open slopes of Kent's NE side and looked like an easy ascent. I picked up Flow at the Issaquah Park and Ride and we were off.

I thought since the snow level is quite hight right now I could bypass the McClellan Butte trail altogether by using the road past the Ollalie Campground. The road was in good shape and made the mistake of not going far enough before I turned around. Had I driven another 50' I would have seen Kent's impressive North face. After turning around again I finally reached the abrupt end of the road near the washout by Alice Creek. We packed up and headed up. I was happy to miss out on 800' of gain by starting here. I was surprised that there was some patchy glare ice from the onset and we reached snow at around 2300'. There was a well worn skin/snowshoe track so the going was easy. I noticed some fresh bootprints in the snow which again was unexpected. Soon we reached the end of the road and I marvelled at the steep gully to the North of The Duke of Kent. There was a solo climber just beginning his ascent of the gulley. We instead did a descending traverse to cross Alice Creek at around 3100'.

While the snow was not deep here is was pretty crusty and held Flow's weight but not mine. After we reached a small flat area I switched to snowshoes which I kept on for the entire ascent. Flow followed behind and just stayed in boots. As I led us up I angled to the West where I was able to connect with some mostly open slopes. While the sun was out the snow was mostly stable. It was however very wet and heavy making for slow going for me. There was enough tree cover to make me disregard some of the avalanche warning signs. As we climbed the views opened up to the East. Josh started to grow weary of my less than sonic pace and started to make his own way up. His steps weren't helpful for me so I made my own way up. The going was sapping but I managed to keep the elevation ticking and soon I popped out on the summit just minutes behind Josh. The weather was as nice as one could expect for mid Feb. The wind picked up so as my usual case I snapped some quick pics and beat a hasty retreat.

I managed some low speed glissades on the way down. I really had to laugh watching Josh bound down the slopes like a kangaroo. Oh to have 17 year old legs. With my 41st just around the corner it really highlighted the difference in our ages. We made good time back to the road and I saw signs of a couple more travellers. It is good to see the area being used for something more than target practice. Thanks to Justus for the picture that inspired this trip. It really is a wonderful way to do this peak. Thanks to Josh for spending the day with myself and my ever annoying dogs. It is good to see Josh taking that boundless enthusiasm for climbing and perfecting his craft.

Approx 8 miles 3500' of climb 5:45 car to car.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Humpback Mountain 2.8.10

As of late I haven't been feeling very well and this has now extended to my family. This has made getting any sleep nearly impossible. I only had a small window for the day so I needed something on the shorter side. When Bruce suggested Humpback I liked the idea since it is so close. After doing some research I realized that the length would fit my time frame as well. I read every Winter post I could find and decided that the NW ridge would be the way. I figured we might be able to drive far enough up Hansen Creek to bypass the ugly early part of the climb. When I awoke I felt horrible and I sat for 5 minutes debating on calling Bruce to bag the day. I instead decided that I didn't want to disrupt my current momentum and surely didn't want to miss out on a day that would be dry. I met Bruce in Preston and in short order we were making it up Hansen Creek. As I guessed there was very little snow and I was able to drive well past the crossing of Hansen Creek where I decided we had done enough site seeing. In retrospect I wish I hadn't continued because upon parking I noticed that I had a rock impedded deep into my tire and it was nearly flat. We preformed the fastest tire change short of a NASCAR race and shortly therafter we were off. I was very happy to be jumping off at the highest of the roads that intersect the NW ridge. Starting at 2800' I almost felt like we were cheating. The road was packed for some ways after the open mangled gate. The air temperature was above freezing but hadn't enough time to thaw, making for some slick walking. In short order we found the ridge trail and we started our way up. The lower portions were patchy ice and snow but very passable with no extra traction. Once we reached the more open forest the snow increased as well as the pace. I was thankful Bruce has done a ton of elevation this week keeping his pace down enough for me to keep up. I was really struggling with lack of sleep and being generally run down from being sick. We managed to keep plodding along and soon we were at the last steep portion before the summit. I had expected much more but since the way was pounded out it didn't seem very imposing. Once on the summit ridge we made our way to the true summit and snapped a few quick pictures. The sun was struggling to get out but had yet to win the battle so our views were mostly local. Since the wind had come up we didn't dwadle. I had some concern for the descent but my walking on the margin of the trail on the lower portions of the trail I was able to remain upright. Once we rejoined the road the sun finally won out and we had some bright sunshine for the remainder of the journey. Now all was left was to negotiate the ride home with the donut spare.

Approx 4miles 2400' of climb 3 hours car to car.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bootalicious Peak 2.2.10

While the name is tongue in cheek I think it will work. I picked up Bruce at the Preston P&R and then Brian in North Bend and we made the short ways to the spur gate leading to the CCC road off the Middle Fork Road. I had used this approach for a casual hike last week and stumbled on a well worn trail where I hadn't seen one before. While the goal wasn't to use this trail I thought since the road had been brushed to point where the trail leaves the logging road that that might continue further. I was hoping that would allow a route to Green Mt. I wanted to try another route than the standard East Route. I couldn't' believe our good fortune weather wise it was absolutely stunning, sunny and warm..... what month is it? We made great time to where the trail leaves the road and was dismayed that the road degrades to a very unpleasant walk. I decided to bag this route and we left the road and started up the open forest. After a few hundred of climb we joined the new trail. We followed this easy to follow trail until we reached a snow filled landing. I had been on this road many years ago and we followed it until it reaches a gully with running water and less than desirable snow coverage. I crossed the creek and tried to stay on the margin of the trees where the snow was better for climbing. The going was strenuous and it took much vigilance to avoid the many voids in the snow. After 300' of climb I was able to find more stable snow and the pace increased greatly. Soon a point came into view with open slopes above. Since there was no way to make it across to Green Mt. this would have to do. After exiting the trees there was a nice stretch of 400' of great kick stepping snow. While I didn't set any speed times I was able to keep a mostly steady pace and I finally topped out. I dropped pack and waited for a short time for the remainder of the group. I walked the ridge for a short ways until I was certain I was at the highest point. We ate a hasty lunch because the wind came up and we were in the shade so it was uncomfortable. I was very concerned with the descent because of the poor conditions on the lower slopes so we all careful on the descent. On the way down I was thinking to myself I thought well this was much better than what I expected but resisted saying anything. Just as I took my last step before rejoining the road I blurted out "well that was easier than expected" and promptly wedged that step between two rocks. I guess by now I should know better. Soon after rejoining the trail we noticed a sign nailed to a tree with a scantily clad woman with the word Buttalicious on it. I took that for a sign because I was thinking at the time what to name the peak we just had climbed. I enjoyed the descent, since for once I had someone to converse with.

Approx 10 miles 3800' of climb 7 hours car to car
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