Kevin's Blog

Contrary to the title of the blog (kc-climbs), I am putting more than just climbs. I am putting weekend hobbies ... Climbs, hikes, Fun brew news, and other exciting or not so exciting excursions. I'm trying to organize trip reports, recipes, etc. on the right. Please leave comments as I love reading them!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

White Chuck Mountain (6989' 8/15/10) and the BoDeans!!!!

Summer finally returned this past weekend. Temps in the 90s every day and not a cloud in the sky. Pretty offensive for Seattle standards, but there are better things to complain about! Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it out for a multi day affair since I got tickets to the BoDeans for my birfday. If you ask me, a pretty good reason not to be able to get out. The BoDeans were playing as part of “Mountain Music Fest” and we thought they were headlining, and (I) went solely because of them. They are a Wisconsin band and I regret to say I never saw them in the intimate confines of a local stage. But alas, I had my opportunity.

The concert was at Marymoor park - a nice outdoor venue just on the other side of the lake. I should have read (or just known) that you can bring whatever you want in (besides EtOH?). people had like 3 coolers of crap for 3 people with chairs and everything. Us? Nothing. We got a big FAIL for that … next time I’ll plan a little more.

So we got to see Sara Bareilles, Jacob Dylan, and Robert Randolph and the family and in addition to the BoDeans. The other three I could actually take or leave so we wandered around while listening/watching. The unfortunate thing is that the BoDeans were second on the stage and only had the stage for a limited time. They were hands down the best band out there with the most excitement so I wish they would have played longer and/or came out later. Anyway, good times, great weather and a good locale to wander around.

Out of the forest,
traversing under the subsid summit
Approaching White chuck
soon after leaving the car
Sunday we were planning on getting into the mountains but had made official plans. Alison drove on Saturday so I was free to drink plenty leading to a lack of motivation in the morning. Since the morning was late already, I suggested that we head to White Chuck Mountain because of its relative proximity, its nice location, its one that I have talked about, and because you can drive to nearly 5000 feet making for a short hiking day.

We were on the road at the early time of 9:45 and hiking just past noon. The bootpath started immediately and was on a ridge so we were greeted with views instantly. About 40 minutes after hiking on the ridge in and out of some nice forest we broke into the meadow just (S)W of the summit.

one of the possible class three moves.
Alison coming up the tallus/meadow
We continued talus/meadow over to the gully between the subsidiary summit (NW) and the actual objective – still with ~1200 feet to ascend. A nice, albeit faint in places, path led is up to the NW ridge. Here, again we just continued up the boot path on the slightly exposed ridge line (which nicely kept you alert with an airy feeling) to a notch. After a class three 10 foot step (down), we strolled up the final ~100 feet to the summit. From the car it took us 2 hours at a very comfortable pace, with a few stops for pics and to fix cameras, to do the 2000 vert. All in all a pretty chill hike that I would describe as class 2+ … Almost all class two, with a few individual class three areas? Also there was enough of a boot path to make route finding simple, but it was faint/intermittent enough that you had to pay some attention.
Alison just after gaining the NW ridge

NW Ridge to the summit
Views en route were great – never monotonous. There was an alpine feeling on the meadows and rock, with limited effort from the car, and views from the summit were exceptional (similar to Pugh). Unfortunately, nasty flying ants inhabited the summit cairn and made the summit less than inviting. We had a late lunch slightly off the summit taking in the gorgeous views and superb sunshine. Hordes of ladybugs came out to enjoy lunch with us as well – really? Lady bugs on a rocky summit? After our fill we descended in about as much time as the ascent.

I finally saw the "white horse" on Whitehorse. 
Pugh - Sloan - Monte cristo group
from the summit, on the right, the NW ridge, middle the subsidiary
summit, just above/left of that, you can see the road and "parking lot"
summit shot.  glacier, left; Sloan right.
All in all, this was a really nice climb – a relatively easy one with a nice payoff, perfect for a day like Sunday. We had the mountain to ourselves (even though there were two other cars at the trailhead). I really don’t understand why White Chuck is so obscure and unpopular especially when compared to Pugh. They are similar climbs, except with white chuck you miss the 3000 vert in the forest. As such I would think it to be more popular. I am not complaining as the solitude was welcomed on the trip.

Approach notes: Everything that I saw (Beckey included) did not accurately describe the best approach. Take 530 to Darington. Stay on 530 (as opposed to the mountain loop hwy) and turn left at the stop sign (at the Shell station). After 0.25 mile, turn right on sauk prarie road. After about 1.5 miles (just less than) turn right on FSR 24 (unsigned from sauk prarie road). After 8 miles on 24, the road T’s. Turn left at this 'T' onto 2435 (2436 is to the right). Shortly thereafter, stay right at a minor junction. Then 2435 climbs steeply for a long while and reaches a ridge crest. It follows the ridge for a while, eventually descending steeply about 150 feet. About 0.25 miles after this descent take an unmarked spur to the right (~4600 feet). (Accidentally we took what appeared to be the main road to the left for a mile (+) which eventually dead ended at about 4300’). The spur dead ends in about 0.25 miles at ~4800 feet. An obvious boot path leads from the road. There are other approaches, but this is the highest starting point with the nicest/easiest path.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Triumph on Triumph (7270'); Despair on (the route to) Despair

On Tuesday 7/27 after work Ryan, Lucas and I set out for our long trip of the summer. The intentions were to set up a car shuttle and hike from Thorton Lakes TH to Baker river TH, climbing many peaks and traversing other terrain features on the way: Triumph – Despair – Mystery Ridge – Hagan – Blum - and others? This would have been a great trip but it didn’t turn out as such for various reasons, but still was a great excursion with interesting ‘deviations.’

Day 1: We left Seattle Tue after work and did the car shuttle. We stopped in Marblemont to fill out the climbers permits and discovered that Lucas had a flat. After spending an hour taking off the flat (thanks to the fact that it had rusted onto the axle) we decided it would be prudent to fix the tire before heading out. We couldn't find a closer tire fixing station than Sedro-Woolley. We drove around on a doughnut at 25-30 mph for what seemed like 3 hours looking for a place to pull over and sleep until morning. During this time we got pulled over on suspicion of DUI. The cop thankfully believed our (truthful) story and didn’t even ask for our docs. We went on our merry way and pulled over on a dirt road threw out our pads and sleeping bags and went to sleep at 1:30 AM. Was this an omen for the rest of the trip?

Columbia Peak (7172' 7/24/10)

While a horrific “fail,” our attempt of glacier peak was oddly fun. The bike ride made for an added dimension and if the going is right, makes for much quicker travel. Alison and I decided on the Monte Cristo environs (glacier basin) last weekend. Monte Cristo is a pretty cool place: an old mining town from way back in the day. I found the ruins of town to be a worthy destination for a laid back short day trip. The only access is via a 4 mile washed out road from leaving the mountain loop highway at Barlow pass. Besides one washout, the road is in great condition.

We headed to monte cristo on our bikes, and arrived in about 90 minutes. Headed up to glacier basin on a nice trail and made camp. We saw some other campers and they pointed us to a great spot where we pitched the tent. It was only later that we realized that we really shouldn’t be camping in that area and there are places for more impacted on the knoll in the middle of glacier basin.

After a quick lunch we decided to attempt Columbia. Per the route description, we made a rising traverse to Wilman gap (5oo feet of the gap, take a hard right up the glacier). We needed to do a fancy two step move to get onto the rock because of a moat, but nothing bad. We headed down and across the 76 glacier to meet the W spur route. From there, as described up a snow field. Unfortunately I went up a little too far and had to traverse steep snow over a very large moat adding a little unnecessary spice to the adventure. Went around the blind corner and started climbing what looked like class three. It ended up being a rotten gully terminating in slightly exposed class four climbing which only looked to get more difficult. I finally decided to poke my head around farther to the S face and every time I did the words “humph, why didn’t I just start over here” came out. Easy climbing led me back to the W face and another two step move got me past another moat to the final 20 feet to the summit.

The summit was spectacular – 360 degree views without a cloud in the sky, and only slightly hazy. (The Panorama at the top is from the summit.) This was a really fun route and I really enjoyed the approach. Poodle dog pass is obviously more direct, but this approach added a lot of variability that I personally enjoyed. Not to mention the passing through glacier basin which was glorious in itself.

The decent went without issue and we enjoyed a superb evening in camp. We ended up only tooling around the basin on Sunday and argued over the routes up to all of the other peaks in the area. Hopefully we’ll be back to climb those sometime soon (Monte Cristo, Foggy, Cadet, etc.). A stellar climb in a stellar setting.
See more pics here
Who knew there would be a bike rack in Monte Cristo?

Poor pic, but it shows the route. Columbia is center, in the background. Took the snow as close to the rock as possible almost to the low point (left of pic). Took a sharp right to go behind Wilman peak (not discernable) to hit the col to glacier 76.

First snowpatch as heading up the W ridge.

Dirty Gully on Summit block. Should have traversed farther right.

Baker and Shuksan from the summit

Puget Sound glistening in the Sunlight

Alison at camp at sunset. Monte Cristo behind.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Glacier Peak: Fail

Biking on the road - that's one large fallen tree.

Fourth portage. Carrying the bikes across a fallen tree.

Tom crawling under a large fallen tree

River crossing. Original Bridge in not so good of shape

One of the many washed out areas. The trail used to be on the right slope.

Glacier Peak so far far away. Must wait for another day.

From our outing to Sloan last year, Tom was captivated by our view of glacier peak for good reason. He swore that this year we would do it. The weekend of June 26th presented the opportunity. We wanted to do something other than the standard route and decided to see what all the todo of the washouts on the white chuck river road and trail were. We knew there would be washouts but thought that we could bushwack around them and they wouldn’t be a showstopper.

We started biking at the road block at white chuck river road (10 miles until the trailhead). After portaging the bikes around 4 washouts, the going got easier with just a bunch of fallen trees to hop over. About 2 miles from the trail head, the fallen trees made biking more of a hindrance than a help, and as soon as I heard hissing from my popped tire, it was time to huff it. The white chuck trail was well and good and we made our way around a washout. Then another. Then another. We finally decided to try the creek bed and/or bushwacking on the other side of the river since the going could only be easier over there. It wasn’t. As sun was setting we had made it about 3 miles of our intended 7 miles on trail with no elevation gain. We camped on a sandbar down in the river basin and decided to succumb to the mountain and that there was no way we would make it to the climb. After a casual evening and morning, we retraced our steps and made it back to the bikes. Even though the return bike ride was solely on rims, bikes made the 8 miles to the car go relatively painlessly.

We returned to Seattle and watched the US-Ghana world cup game on replay only to be disappointed again.

Next time we’ll go the white pass approach even if we do a different route on the mountain. But hey, it was great company, exercise, and stories.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mt Pugh (7224' 7/17/10)

I haven't been able to get out as much as desired, but I am hoping to change that. I decided to get back in the groove and just do a long, straight forward solo "climb." Decided on Pugh since since it's one that I've heard was fun, is a lot of elevation gain (I need to get back into shape), and it's mostly on known, good trail so there wouldn't be a repeat performance from last outing (glacier peak fail).

Got out of Seattle at the bright bushy time of 8AM and was hiking at 1900' by 10:00. There isn't much route description since it's walk on trail until you are at the summit. But the first 3k are in timber which is a little mind numbing. At least it was cloudy and I didn't feel like I was missing anything.

But as I came out of the timber, the clouds were burning off. View up to Stujack Pass.
I got up to Stujack pass in a surprising 2 hours. Then the fun part of the climb started. The knife ridge shown here, leading up to the class 2+ kinda exposed alpine scrambling.

Another vantage of the ridge, looking back down.

I managed the summit exactly 3h after departing the trailhead. It was a gorgeous day. Crystal clear about 75 and 360 degree views.

Sloan Peak and the monte cristo group to the SW

White Chuck and Baker to the NNE. Loved how white chuck looked... that might need to be added to the list.

Dickerman, Forgotten, Twin Peaks, etc to the S(W)

... and to the North the panorama on top. Everything clearly visible. Eldorado, Forbidden, Dome, Glacier, etc. etc.

At the top, I needed refueling and spent 90 minutes enjoying the views and exhaustion. I could have easily spent another couple hours taking in the sun and views, but commitments awaited. I took off and landed back at the car in just under 2.5 hours.

I really enjoyed this hike. Although not the most technical at all, it was interesting up above Stujack pass in a fun environment. The 3,000' timber slog was a little blah, but added to the exercise and I am sure keeps some of the riff raff out.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Railroad grade 6/13/10

Headed out to to some spring skiing on Sunday. Weather was supposed to be good and we wanted to do something like Baker. With the crazy spring we're having there was extreme avy warnings for elevations at >7000 feet, especially on volcanoes. So Lucas, Ryan, Kendall, and I headed up to Park Butte, just under the easton glacier to check things out, but not go to high. Upon getting to the trailhead we were one backpack short and I realized that mine was likely sitting at my back door. GDI! Well, I had everything "essential" so we continued and I had an easy day with no weight on my back. We skinned directly from the parking lot, and made it to just under the toe of the easton for lunch. Weather rolled in, so we didn't venture any higher and decided to get some turns in. The snow was just sticky mush and not great skiing. It is just a little ways away from turning to great spring corn, but until then, blah. So after the first run, we decided that the combination of snow and weather was just not the hot ticket, and we decided to call it a day. Total elevation ~2700', not exactly what we were planning, but good to get nonetheless. Hopefully we get it next weekend! :-)
Lucas skinning up towards railroad grade

Mount Baker

Ryan and Kendall ready to ski

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial day '10

I finally got away from being trapped in the city with Alison on Memorial day weekend. Weather was supposed to be miserable all over the area so we chose to go close to Yakima just to try to get some vitamin D and whatever exercise we could. The hike didn't matter. We left Sat morning and arrived at Hardy Canyon after a long drive. The hike up was uneventful and unspectacular, but it was only partly cloudy and we were out hiking and that's all that mattered. Since a few friends had fruitful mushrooming trips recently, we decided to entertain ourselves by looking for some of our own. Low and behold, we ended up finding several morels. No huge bounty but hey, I was excited to find anything!
a baby morel that we didn't pick...
The canyon gave way to some rolling hill tops - not my normal type of hiking out here, so it was an entertaining change of pace. We hiked around for a bit on 4 wheel ATV roads before descending a different route.

After emerging from Hardy canyon
Picking our way back down, we ended up amongst several ATVs buzzing around us, which is not how the hike would have ideally ended, but not that bad and we had reasonable weather.

From there, we headed up the Teanaway River road and made camp at a forest service campground just before Dark. Hung out around the fire until it died and turned in. The casual weekend continued with a late start at the esmeralda trailhead. I was pretty surprised to find mostly snow just past the trailhead at ~3800'. It gave me some hope for this climbing season! Instead of taking DeRoux creek to Esmeralda we took the first turnoff and headed towards the pass between Koppen and DeRoux peaks. After a nice little climb we decided to head back to drier grounds, and relax at camp.

From the pass. View of the head of the middle fork teanaway river
Esmeralda. Looks more enticing now than when I climbed it.

The eve was nice and always fun to hear the rain pounding on your tent overnight while you're safely cozy inside. We got up and headed back to seattle to prep for Alison's lab going away bbq. All in all a fun, relaxing trip.