Hoodoo Peak 2/20/16

Hoodoo Peak, February 19-21, 2016

Eric and Matthew Gilbertson

We made what appears to be the first recorded winter ascent of Hoodoo Peak in at least the last 22 years! Matthew flew out to Seattle for a long weekend adventure, landing on Thursday night. We spent the night at my apartment before heading out to Eastern Washington Friday morning. Our original plan to do Glacier Peak was thwarted by bad avy conditions, but it was dryer in the eastern cascades and Hoodoo peak was a hundred highest mountain with a safe ascent route up ridges, avoiding avy terrain.

We drove through apple and pear orchards in a cold rain before reaching the trailhead near Methow and starting our hike at noon. The full road to the official trailhead is unplowed in the winter, which adds an extra 10-mile approach and probably explains why nobody climbs this peak in winter. A cold rain gradually changed to a heavy snow as we hiked up snowmobile tracks to the trailhead. The going was slow breaking trail, and we pitched camp a few miles before the base of the mountain. Matthew got a roaring fire going in a 5-ft-deep snowpit that kept us warm all evening.

In the morning we continued breaking trial up the mountain, using an indispensable GPS track I had downloaded from peakbagger. We took a lunch break at a small cabin buried in snow, and then headed up to Hoodoo. Matthew led the way up a gradual snow slope to the south ridge. Here we changed from snowshoes to bare-boots and scrambled up the “class 2” rock and snow ridge to the summit. The top does look like a hoodoo from the south (a hoodoo is a rock outcropping like you see in Bryce Canyon).

We could see a lot of wilderness and snowy mountains around, and no civilization, not even a road. Amazingly the summit register dated back to 1996 and had no recorded winter ascents! This is a hundred highest mountain so does see some traffic, but only June-October it appeared.

We’d considered continuing on to bag Raven Ridge, another hundred highest mountain nearby, but couldn’t follow the standard route because it went through avy terrain and today that wouldn’t be too safe. Our plan to follow the ridge there looked a bit sketchier than we’d hoped, so we instead called Hoodoo Peak good enough and descended to camp for another roaring fire.

The next morning we hiked back out, reaching the car by noon and Seattle by 4pm, in time for Matthew’s evening flight back to Boston.

20160219_122428 20160219_151006 20160219_151059 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

20160219_151249

20160219_162733(0)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

20160219_185942 20160220_071558 20160220_104902 20160220_125425 20160220_132232OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA20160220_134339 20160220_135529 20160220_142732 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

20160220_205301 20160221_065354 20160221_065507(0) 20160221_111215

     

 

 

Colchuck Peak 2/7/16

Colchuck Peak, February 7, 2016

Eric, Anna, Aaron

After returning from Cashmere peak I spent the night in Leavenworth with Aaron and Anna, then we drove back up Icicle Creek road and started hiking at 6:30am. We all hauled skis up on our packs to the Enchantments trailhead, and stashed the skis in the woods there. We followed a broken trail all the way to Colchuck Lake, arriving at 11:30am. The skies were mostly clear, and we could see the impressive north face of Dragontail and Colchuck peaks.

No tracks went farther than the lake, so I broke trail across the lake and we ascended the Colchuck Glacier to the pass. The crevasses were all well filled in and we didn’t need to rope up. We entered the clouds on the upper glacier, and debated turning around at the pass because of the weather, but in the end continued up the mountain. Aaron led the way at first, then I took over to find the good route to the summit plateau. By 4:30pm I scrambled up the last section to the summit, and in the final 10 vertical feet I ascended above the clouds! It was amazingly undercast, with Mt Stuart and many other mountains visible to the west. The balanced rock of Sherpa Peak was particularly prominent passing in and out of the clouds.

We descended quickly, glissading down the glacier to reach Colchuck Lake by sunset. On the descent I unfortunately broke a snowshoe tip because another party had postholed in our path. We made it to the trailhead by 9pm, and skied back to the car soon afterwards. It was a long drive back to Seattle but we made it by 2am.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cashmere Peak 2/6/16

Cashmere Peak Attempt, February 6, 2016

Eric and Duncan

A rare sunny weekend was forecast, so Duncan and I left Seattle at 5am Saturday morning heading for the Enchantment area. We parked the truck on Icicle Creek road and started up gated forest service approach road at 9am. Duncan skinned up with skis, and I was snowshoeing with my skis strapped to my pack and ski boots inside. It made for a heavy pack, but would hopefully be worth it on the descent.

We left the road a few miles in, hiking on old ski tracks up the trail to Cashmere. We followed a valley southwest for a while, and left the ski tracks as we ascended slopes to Lake Caroline. It was 3pm by the time we hit the lake, and Cashmere Peak appeared to be an additional hour or more farther. We were a bit nervous to be backcountry skiing in the dark, and in hindsight should have gotten an earlier start. So, to ski back in the light we turned around at the lake and made it back to the truck by 7:30pm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADSC04746 DSC04747 DSC04756

Dirtybox Peak 1/30/16

Dirtybox Peak, January 30, 2016

Eric Gilbertson

I hiked solo up to Mailbox Peak on Saturday morning, then left the trail and continued east along the narrow rocky ridge. I had to downclimb in several places, then donned snowshoes for the quick ascent up Dirtybox Peak. The return trip offered some fun scrambling up the gendarmes on the ridge, before I rejoined the trail down mailbox peak.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Low Mtn 1/23/16

Low Mountain, January 23, 2016

Eric Gilbertson

I drove to the trailhead and was surprised to see 20 other cars parked along the side of the narrow snowy road! I hadn’t realized this was the same trailhead as Franklin Falls, a waterfall a short hike in. I was, unsurprisingly, the only person hiking in to Low Mountain. The trail was initially broken until I reached a small waterfall, and was on my own. I passed through some recent avy slides (safe since they’d already slid a few days earlier), then ascended steep slopes to a snowy ridge. I traversed the corniced and narrow ridge through the trees until getting to within 100ft of the summit by 2pm. At this point reaching the summit required either rock climbing over some gendarmes on the ridge or traversing an avy slope. It had been snowing hard all morning so I was reluctant to cross the avy slope solo and retreated. It turns out I was following the summer route, and perhaps the winter route would avoid these difficulties.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pratt Mountain 1/18/16

Pratt Mountain, January 17-18, 2016

Eric and Katie

We hiked up to Lake Olallie off I-90 and pitched camp on the frozen lake shore. I built a nice snow  wall to shelter us from the wind. The next morning we hiked up to Pratt Mountain and had great views of Rainier and the Alpine Lakes wilderness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mount Teneriffe 1/15/16

Mount Teneriffe – January 15, 2016

Eric Gilbertson

I hiked up the trailhead at Little Si to link up with the Mt Si trail. Just below the summit of Mt Si I traversed east along the ridge, eventually cutting through some trees to the small exposed summit of Teneriffe. On the way back I tried to climb up the haystack to the summit of Mt Si but it was a bit too icy to do without a rope.

View from the summit.

View from the summit.

On the summit, testing out Kapil's Mishmi Takin jacket

On the summit, testing out Kapil’s Mishmi Takin jacket

Granite Mountain 1/10/16

Granite Mountain – January 10, 2016

Katie and Eric

We ascended the steep south face of Granite Mountain and were met with spectacular views of Rainier and Adams to the south. We descended the summer route to avoid the icy steep bits of the mountain.

Nearing the summit

Nearing the summit

Heading up the trail

Heading up the trail

Descending from the summit.

Descending from the summit.

Winter Semi-Pemi Loop Dec 2015

Winter Semi-Pemi Loop, Dec 25-26, 2015

Matthew and Eric Gilbertson

There was amazingly basically no snow in the Whites the day after Christmas, so we decided to bag a bunch of peaks in the Pemi wilderness. We biked in the wilderness trail from Lincoln Woods on Saturday morning in warm sunny weather. We stashed the bikes at the wilderness border, then hiked up Bondcliff, Bond, West Bond, South Twin, and Galehead peaks. By dark we dropped down to near thirteen falls campsite and pitched our tent next to a roaring campfire. In the morning some freezing rain started, and we hiked back to the trailhead in the cold.

Fire   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Wilderness boundary

Wilderness boundary

Biking into the Pemi Wilderness

Biking into the Pemi Wilderness