Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Not Quite Sleeepover Peak, Oversleep 4980'

I was feeling a bit under the weather and certainly very sluggish so I wasn't looking for anything overly taxing. I had a few ideas when I left the house because I wasn't sure what the weather and the conditions of the logging roads might be. I wasn't sure how low the snow level had fallen in the Southern Cascades so I was not overly optimistic if I would be able to drive all the way to Tacoma Pass. But the road was free from any snow which was quite a surprise for me. Also the weather was mostly benign. It was chilly so I layered up and headed the opposite direction on the PCT as I did last week.  The PCT meanders up the slope without much purpose which on this day fit my mindset.

After a few meandering switchbacks I reached a campsite with a sign pointing to a trail leading to water. On the way out I explored finding the water source further away than expected. Must be a nice oasis during the dry months where finding water might be problematic. Soon I started the long nearly level traverse towards my objective of Sleepover Peak 4880'. This is also where I hit snow, albeit just a dusting. I had hoped to leave the trail just south of 4566' and reach the logging road and follow the road to my higher intended target just to the SW. I found a good spot to leave the trail finding good footing.

I wasn't expecting too much cross country travel because the trail and the road are close together. I weaved my way up the slope making easy work of the elevation gain. Soon I reached an old road bed choked by many small trees, after trying a few different directions I realized that this might not be the best way to reach my objective, so I instead retreated to the PCT hoping to find a more pleasant option. I continued on for about a half mile where I spied a more pleasing road option above me, but to access this was rather short but a little too steep for my sluggish legs. I chose instead to continue on the PCT to see if I could outflank the ridge and try to find a more pleasing line of ascent. Soon I came out on a road junction with roads going in numerous direction. I was now off my printed map and while I knew the road that headed NW was my best bet, I didn't like the fact that it headed steeply downhill. The road heading SW not only headed steeply uphill but had recently been driven on giving me some curiosity where they might have been heading. The road continues for some ways before I reached a flat area, I decided to press on to see if I could find any higher areas. Soon I was under a knob that was clearly higher than any surrounding features, checking my altimeter it was also substantially higher than Sleepover Peak. I left the road and followed a good climber's trail to the summit. The point is 4980' is listed on the List of John as unranked point and is the Northern terminus of Blowout Mt's North Ridge. It does lack a few hundred feet of prominence to be considered a true summit but I felt like it still was a worthy objective. Since it was higher than Sleepover Peak I dubbed it Oversleep Peak.
Instead of retracing my steps down the climber's trail I followed the road back to my waiting footprints below. The trip out was very pleasant with a soft cushion of snow beneath my feet. When I returned to the car there were two Forest Service employees just suiting up. After exchanging pleasantries I inquired on what they were doing. Evidently they are setting up a wolverine station to try and determine if there are any in the area. I relayed that many years ago I had seen a wolverine near Hawkin's Mountain. The workers told me that there are actually 4 adults living in that general area. I found the whole conversation fascinating. With my goal being unmet I still made the most of a very enjoyable day.
Approx 8.5 miles 2200' of clime 3:45 car to car

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Blanket Mountain and Bearpaw Butte 11/15/16

With plenty of peaks still to do South of I-90, I headed back to knock a few more of my list. I headed towards Stampede Pass and headed South on #41. I stayed on this until the signed junction heading towards Tacoma Pass and the PCT junction. Upon reaching the pass I turned around and parked. The weather was breezy and wet so I layered up. The plan was to take the PCT North and see if I could make it over Blanket which the PCT basically goes overtop of and continue on to Bearpaw Butte and if things went well head further to Snowshoe Butte.

The PCT was in great shape as I made my way up and over Blanket. I expected the weather to degrade into some snow showers which never materialized with any consistency. Soon I found myself at a saddle just East of Bearpaw. I drove into the wet brush finding it slippery and bit steeper than I was expecting. There were a few short lived breaks in the small closely spaced trees, but nothing lasting for more than a few feet. I thought that I couldn't get to much wetter so I continued on. There weren't any land features that could be seen because of the cloudy weather and the ridge is fairly broad giving me concern on becoming off line on the descent. Soon I found myself on the summit since there wasn't any views I didn't linger. Initially I was able to stay on line but as I feared there were no landmarks to keep me online. I got sucked to my right (north) and ended up being woefully offline. I hadn't looked at my map so I was unclear what elevation the saddle I had left from was. The downhill portion was much more slippery that going uphill and it was a major endeavor to remain upright. I started to feel a bit panicky because I was concerned I had dropped below my saddle elevation. I thankfully popped out on an old logging road on the North side, and followed that back to my jump off point. Feeling quite relieved I continued on the PCT towards Snowshoe Butte.

I was a bit whipped from the decent and wasn't really intending on continuing all the was to Snowshoe. Once I realized that there was a good road leading to the saddle I decided that it would be a fun Spring snowshoe to the Butte. I decided to head back, making my way quickly back to the car.

While I was a bit unnerved on my descent I was happy that I was able to keep a level head, and while I would have eventually found my was back to the saddle had I not run into the road. Running into the road did save some serious stress, making me want to take better care to mark a GPS waypoint in conditions when sightlines are non existent.

Approx 7 miles 2500' of climb 3:07 car to car

Map and a few pictures Here:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Daily Double, Poo Poo and Cabin Mt. 4980'

With the fine forecasted weather I thought I would head out and knock off a few more peaks. I was surprised when my wife asked if I would like to accompany her up Poo Poo. I was excited to spend some extra time with my wife so we met at the trailhead so that I could leave for another peak upon our return. I had a very enjoyable time sharing one of my passions with my wife. It was good to have some uninterrupted time with her. The weather was very unseasonably warm and the views were well worth the effort. In order for my wife to make it on time to her next objective we had to hightail it to the car. Feeling very thankful we said our goodbyes.

The next goal was for a summit of Cabin Mt, just SW of Easton. Last week I explored some upper logging roads that would put me in the vicinity, but I was not enthused with the wet weather so decided to forego the cross country portion. This week I decided to instead drive further and drop all the way to the valley floor to access some logging roads on the Southern slopes. It seemed funny to me to drop the elevation in the car to only reclimb it on foot. But for me the most important part is to get some exercise. I could have driven the road further but I instead parked at the bottom. I couldn't believe how warm it was, although it was much cooler than my climb of Poo Poo earlier in the day. The road was in mostly good shape as I easily swtichbacked my way up the slope. There was an interesting rocky sub summit that I had been on the north side of on the previous week. Very quickly I found myself near the end of the logging road. I decided on leaving the road before it's end. The crux of this trip was getting from the road to the slopes above both on the ascent and descent. Once this annoyance was passed the going was somewhat steep but straightforward. It was only around 200' of climb to reach the ridgeline. There is a rocky knob and a great viewpoint looking back towards Snoqualmie Pass. The ridge continues East with a slightly higher point that was annoying to get to. The ridge proper is choked by small stunted trees so I stayed more on the Northern side to find easier going. All in All, unless you are intent on tagging the very highest point I wouldn't continue from the viewpoint. I easily made it back to portion where I had to rejoin the road. I cautiously picked the short drop to the road without any issues. The return to the car went exceedingly quick.

Just a really great day to be out!

Approx 10.5 miles total 4 hours 3800' of climb

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Cabin Mt. Wanderings

 With the predicted unsettled weather I wanted something low key and stretch the legs a bit. I accessed my route via Stampede pass before heading south on #41. The road had stretches of potholes but mostly it was clear sailing through the sputtering rain. Just before the road heads down to Cabin Creek there is an intersection, I headed left and then took the right branch. Even though the road was in great shape I turned around and parked on a wide spot in the road. I was surprised that there were more than a few rigs driving around the area. I wasn't expecting to see anyone. I suited off and headed up the road. The road has many ups and downs as it makes it way towards Cabin Mountain. After around 3 miles the road ends and there is an overgrown spur road that continues. I tried to reach the ridge by heading uphill, which was steep and slippery. I wasn't enthused with the idea of brush bashing in the rain so I decided instead to head back. I explored some of the spur roads to add to mileage. After returning to the car I headed drove further checking out some future trips. Although not much was accomplished on this day, it was very nice to get out again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Goat Mt gate Thwart and Cole Butte West 5502'

I had hoped to climb Goat Mt. via some logging roads branching off Road #41 just West of Easton. I found my spur road at around 3.6 miles from the end of the pavement. The weather was much better than expected so I left some layers in the pack. While I could have driven the road I chose instead to walk to make the most of the day. I soon arrived at the second junction where I was stonewalled by a stout gate with many no trespassing signs, making the situation worse was the barbed wire fence making going around the gate tedious. I certainly felt like this was someone serious about not wanting people on their land.

I backtracked and followed the road to the nice little pond and I spent some time exploring the area. I returned to the car but not wanting to go home empty handed I decided to drive further up #41 to see how the conditions were higher up. In the past I had climbed Cole Butte West 5502' via a spur road off of #41. I instead stayed on the main line heading steeply up. I was surprised with the quality of the road, since there is an active logging operation using this road it is great shape.  I crested and the road started down hill so I parked. I decided to explore the road further on foot. I grew weary of walking the road and I decided to head in a more direct line to the roads above. The area is an old burn so the going is open and easy and the grade is pleasing. I popped back out on the road and could see a multitude of points within easy reach. I was very tough to determine which was the highest and since I didn't have a map I decided to keep climbing on the road hoping it would become obvious which was my new objective. Soon I reached the ridgeline and I followed a road heading West which looped around one of the highpoints. Guessing this was the proper bump I headed up along the ridge and found mostly easy going. A few blowdowns needed to be circumvented but I reached a point that seemed to be the highest but being unsure I continued on until I was satisfied that I reached the summit.

I returned via my ascent route when I reached the road I continued heading east and was dismayed to find the road ended and didn't reconnect with the road I needed. Undaunted I picked my way through the slash to reach the trees remaining on the ridge and followed that back to the proper road. For the descent I was tempted to head directly back to the car I could see directly below me but instead I decided to stay on the road the entire way. There is  a gate blocking access to the upper portions of the road. Soon I found my way back to the car thankful for making something out of the day.

Silver Peak 10.18.16

Headed up Silver Via the PCT. The road from Hyak was in good shape and snow free. The road is a bit rough right before the PCT junction.  The rain was pounding as I layered up but thankfully abated as I made my way along the soggy PCT , many small creek crossings along the way . At about 1.8 miles there is a cairned climbers trail junction . The trail reaches the ridge in short order . I encountered snow at 4200' but the trail was mostly melted out. Soon I reached the rocky slopes where the grade steepens . There was enough snow to make it easier than without snow. The weather was calm until I reached the more open slopes were I was greeted with a stiff 25 mph wind with stinging sleet. The wind blown snow was much more annoying to walk on. thankfully the route returns to the wind sheltered side with much better footing . The last 300' was open and the wind was really howling. Since I had been atop Silver on a few previous visits I decided not to hang out in the howling wind for another 30 minutes. Some care was needed for the decent but I soon found myself back to the car.

6.5 miles 3:15 car to car 2000' of climb

Thorp and Hard Knox

I have been slowly working my way back to peak bagging after taking quite a bit of time off to pursue other interests. While my new pursuit has been giving me much joy I still have been missing the call of obscure summits. I have been trying to strike a balance between the two. With today's less than stellar forecast I felt it best to lace up the boots and don the rain gear. Earlier in the year I had been to Thorp Lake with the kids and wasn't successful in convincing them to continue on the lookout above . I didn't want to repeat the route of my last visit so I chose instead to approach from the Easton side.

I used the Kachess Dam Road to access the myriad of logging roads above the lake. The road was in fairly good shape and it was quite fun putting the Allroad brought its paces. I reached the terminus of the road and suited up. It was in the upper 30's so i layered up. Not only had the expected rain not arrived the sun was breaking through the clouds. I did give some thought. Of reconfiguring my attire but instead decided to stay with my original choice. I followed a faint trail at the end of the road to access the ridge trail that I followed north towards The lookout site. There are more than a few ups and downs along the way but the tread  is in good shape and easy to follow. I passes two ladies coming down to before topping out. The weather started to turn into sone wet snow showers . I didn't linger long before heading back. After reaching the base of Hard Knox on the way out I decided to go for the bonus summit. I used the easy SW slopes to make my was easily to the summit.

I was able to cut a bit of distance off on the way out by heading straight to the road joining just a bit downstream from where I parked. The bumpy ride out went very quickly I found myself in Easton joined by sone fairly heavy rain . It was very good to visit a couple of home court peaks I had already visited

Approx 6 miles 2500' of climb

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