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.
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.
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.
Dirtybox Peak, January 30, 2016
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.
Mount Teneriffe – January 15, 2016
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.
On the summit, testing out Kapil’s Mishmi Takin jacket
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
Heading up the trail
Descending from the summit.