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

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