Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Vacation's Silver Lining 7.23.13

 After last year's wonderful time at Lake Pend Oreille all the same cast was eager for a repeat visit

We had a wonderful addition this year with  a bayliner, giving us more fun options. We spent a wonderful 6 days enjoying the lake and each other. But as it usually goes time goes way too fast. Before I knew it we were sadly packing up for the long drive home. Sunday was an emotionally draining day coupled with the 6 hour drive home I was spent by the time I unloaded in the wee hours of Monday morning. I had hoped to do an overnighter with the balance of my time off but with such a taxing day I wasn't eager to make it out. I instead ran up Cougar and called it good. My wife had planned a family swim party for Tuesday and it is sometimes better If I take the dog out alleviating some potential problems. With an unexpected window I quickly made plans for a return attempt of Silver Peak. I had made it up the climber's trail a couple of weeks ago but had to turn back due to various reasons.
   I was able to make it to my starting point at a reasonable hour and shortly thereafter I was heading South on The PCT.  It seemed like the climbers trail was much further along the trail on my last visit and I completely walked by it without noticing it. By the time I realized my mistake I was nearly to Mirror Lake. Since I hadn't been before I decided to descend to the lake to check it out. The bugs were out and even a stiff breeze couldn't keep them at bay. I decided to get moving and backtrack to the climber's trail. The climber's trail was much different than a few week's back since most of the snow has now melted out. Soon I found myself on the ridge at a junction, I decided to head towars Silver since I was a bit behind and didn't feel like I had enough time to do a multiple peak day.  The trail along the ridge had some short class 3 sections and I  again found myself at a junction which I headed right. Soon Silver came into view. The first portion of the climb is on loose talus which was a bit tedious with trail running shoes on. I had forgotten to bring my boots so I was forced into using something less desirable. The trail was easy to follow and without any issues I found myself on the summit. There was  a nice couple on the summit that despite the stiff breeze was home to plenty of annoying bugs. I dropped pack for a short time and surveyed the North Ridge which I had hoped to use for my descent route. Feeling it best not to attempt without my boots I decided to instead retrace my route for the descent. Once off the loose talus I enjoyed the nice stroll back to the car.
Approx 9 miles 3400ft of climb

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Silver Peak Remix 7.8.13

Last week's goal of Bandera was left unmet when the trailhead was closed for a SAR rescue. I was able to make the best of it my instead heading to Talapus and Ollalie lake and continuing on to the overlook. It was my first time out with Jeff one of my coworkers. With the heat and it being Jeff's first time out in some time, a more prudent choice. Jeff seemed eager to have a repeat. Always glad to have some tag along with me I was excited. I saw some recent reports of Abiel, Tinkham and Silver. I was eager to give the loop a go.
   Thanks to some good beta I was able to get us to where we needed with only minimal side tracks.  Jeff had asked if he could bring his dog, of course the more the merrier. I didn't kinow what to expect, I knew the dog was smaller. Well I will just say Remix doesn't have much ground clearance. To the little guys credit he appeared to have a great day and did himself proud.  After some discussion we decided to reverse the loop  by heading up the logging road instead of starting on the PCT. The road in good shape and soon we found ourselves at the end of the road. There was a good bootpath that led to a large boulder field. I was able to see the route but Remix wasn't able to negotiate the larger rocks. Jeff carried Remix for a short ways before I decided that I didn't feel good about having to carry the dog over difficult terrain. I decided it best to retreat and head back to the PCT. Thankfully there was some nice running water before the PCT so the dogs could tank up. The sun had burned through and walking the road was a bit hot so I was thankul when the PCT exited the clearcut into the shade. I was surprised that for the balnce of the day there was still plenty of running water. Just after entering the woods there is a campsite that is right in the middle of a former wind event. There are quite a few impressive sized trees blown over. We stayed on the PCT until reaching the climber's trail that reaches the ridge between Tinkham and Silver. The trail is a mild grade and only needs a quick 400' to reach the ridge. The upper portions had steeper consistent snow. The snow was receptive and I made quick work of the snow portion. Once cresting the ridge I decided to quickly retreat back down to keep Jeff from coming up. I was unclear of his level of snow travel and it didn't seem like a good idea to find out for such a limited reward.  We retreated back to the PCT to have lunch. We had lunch in a jumble of trees that had been hit with an avalanche some time ago.
   The bugs were starting to find us so we cut lunch short and headed back.
Approx 7 miles 1700' of climb

Note the climbers trail is cairned and quite hard to miss.

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