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.

  I had hoped to crest into the wonderful cirque in two hours but we were a little behind when we finally entered it. The shady areas were iced over and very cold but as soon as we broke free of the trees it warmed considerably. We stopped for a short break and enjoyed views of Canoe Peak and Bare Mt and it's fiery red slopes. We followed the trail doing a downhill traverse and then made the short climb to the saddle above Anderson Lake. We dropped a short ways and then joined the big rockslide which we rode until it's end. The rocks are big but grippy so going was straightforward. I had to marvel at the shepard's agility in negotiating the large rocks. I was initially worried about the ease in which he would be able to pass this obstacle but this quickly dissipated when I watched him make his way up. At the end of the rockslide we pushed up a short steep slope to a notch in the  South ridge coming off of 5312'. There is a fun slot in the ridge that I couldn't squeeze through so I had to climb above it and shimmy down. As I looked at our goal now visible for the first time I was crestfallen since it was much further along the ridge than I was expecting. The route however was easy and didn't look to provide any obstacles. As we sat in the very warm sun we did the math on time and no matter how we did it, the truth was I didn't have enough time to make it there and back. I am lucky to have a wife that allows me these weekly forays and lately I have been coming home late. Thankfully this hasn't been an issue but she had plans and I needed to be back by 6Pm sharp. I wasn't willing to risk not making it. We climbed up towards 5312' just for fun and I was able to make it a short ways from the summit before losing interest. We dropped to some safer slopes and had lunch and I pointed out as many of the area peaks as I could. It was an unusual perspective everything seemed to be backwards from what I was used to seeing. It almost seemed as I was looking at the peaks in the reflection of a mirror. Although the views were good the conditions for taking pictures was not great. With the low angle of the sun and facing back into it I didn't see any sense on breaking out the camera.

   I took one last look at Morpheous as we bid our adieu. Instead of going over the notch I just went around it which was much easier. We dropped a short ways on the rockslide and then exited it and did a descending traverse on the margin of the cliff line. This in spots was very slippery but proved a faster descent than the rockslide. Once back at the saddle we dropped to the much cooler North side making certain of each step on the still frozen trail. Once we reached the slabby areas we stopped and soaked up the last remaining sunshine. The dreaded descent was troublesome and we both received some fun injuries to remind us of this trip. Finally we regained the road and had a nice walk back to the car. We had one last portion of uneasiness when we looked up to see two hunters with their guns drawn pointing at us. Evidently we sounded like deer approaching. Thankfully they were the type of  hunters who actually look to see what they are shooting at.

   Looking back at the reports I have read regarding this peak from Randy, Mike Collins and Stefan I am amazed at the speed in which they moved. I would guess the Lennox Creek Trail was in better shape than it is now but even so it is inspiring to see people who can eat up so much terrrain so quickly.



Approx 12 miles 3600' of climb 7:30 car to car.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I'll ever forget......[in a slow quiet whisper]"Did you see any deer back der?" as they were drawing their riffles back to their sides.

    Another great trip w/ you ALA, regardless of the outcome.

    ReplyDelete

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