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:

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