Monday, May 22, 2017

Soldier Boy 7034', North Cascades

Scrolling through Caltopo searching for melted-out on-trail approaches to interesting areas, Soldier Boy 7034' (benchmark) piqued my interest as being obscure but very centrally located in the south unit of North Cascades National Park.

Ben and I turned off the Fisher Creek trail at 3500' and headed straight up the ridge on a nice game trail. Bad blowdowns on the ridge from 4100-4400', steep forest and rocks from 5300-5650' and smooth sailing after that. Snow started at 4650', much higher than we expected.

We stopped just below the summit as there was a large wind-blown feature (30'ish deep) with sketchy runout on both sides. Snow was mostly 4-8" of mush: too soft for both snowshoes and spikes. Views weren't half bad, anyway.

Showing the off-trail section from the turn off of Fisher Creek at ~3500'

Climbing up to 4000' on a good game trail

End of blowdown section, beginning of snow ~4600'

Reaching the gentler ridge around 5700'

Bear tracks around 6000'; Soldier Boy back right

Mt. Logan and Soldier Boy

Soldier Boy, showing the wind-blown feature; we stopped at the larches just below it; Ben's photo

Looking north to Luna, Redoubt, Mox and Spickard (and a whole bunch of other stuff below skyline)

Pausing on the way up; not bad

Logan, Thunder, Vulcan (7880), with the Banded and Fremont glaciers

Slab avalanche and cornices on the ridge south of Soldier Boy


Forbidden to Boston

Boston to Buckner

On the way down: Primus and Tricouni to Ragged Ridge

Descending the steep forest-rocky section (5300-5600'); Ben's photo

Yeah, it was hot

Snapped spinal cord and head ripped off; maybe an owl? 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Ruby Mountain attempt, North Cascades

Potentially still a little early for the summer (south ridge) route up Ruby given the amount of snow we had this winter. The bonus was full, firm snow coverage starting all the way from Fourth of July camp; snowshoes got a lengthy free ride!

We turned around at 6400' where the ridge has a brief steep step. The summer route, traversing left around it and then switch backing up, looked rather steep and had semi-recent slide activity on it. The ridge was almost completely corniced with intermittent vertical melt steps. As the day was warming up we agreed coming down it would be problematic. We settled for the 270-degree views from 6400' and agreed to come back when it's just a summer hike. 

Heading up through easy forest on firm snow, above Fourth of July Pass

Brief view up the ridge, around 4750'

On the broad ridge, around 5600'

Patrick on the upper ridge 6300'; North Cascades National Park South Unit beyond

Where we turned around at 6400'

Stillwell Creek drainage; Beebe on the left, Elija on the right. Tower and Golden Horn on the cascade crest in the background.

Mesahchie, Katsuk and Kimtah along Ragged Ridge

Mighty Boston Glacier; Buckner (l) and Boston and Forbidden

Tricouni, Primus; east side of backbone ridge (Isolation Traverse) beyond, I think

Snowfield, Horseman, Needle, Colonial, Paul Bunyan's Stump, Pyramid

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Florence Peak, MRNP

It was odd to start a snowshoe without actually wearing them straight out of the car. Snow level was around 3000' with no significant snow until ~4000'. Snowshoes needed from 4000' up, ~4" of fresh snow above that level, already beginning to melt and slough off by lunchtime. We skipped the snowy class 3 scramble to the true Florence summit. A full Alki Crest ridge trip to Tolmie would be a nice spring trip when the schedule warrants. ~8.5m, 4000' gain.

Fisher-sized tracks

Easy creek crossing (at the moment); Ben's photo

Waterfall above the creek crossing

Nice basin at 4000'; time for snowshoes

Midway up Alki Crest; Ben's photo

Soft rime ice crystals on Alki Crest

Soft rime ice on Alki Crest

Last little step to Florence's false summit (upper left); Ben's photo

Nearing the top of the step at Florence false summit; Ben's photo

Florence false summit; Ben's photo

Not a total whiteout! 

Alki Crest, Howard Peak. Tolmie Peak lookout

Lurking Rainier

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Jolly Mountain v3, Teanaway

Having previously been to Jolly a couple of times (November 2015, June 2016) missing the views wasn't as bad as how far off the forecast was to reality. Ben and I continue to rack up view-less summits together...

Snow above 4500' was good, below 4500 was OK in the morning and melting mashed potatoes in the afternoon.
Decent enough weather in the morning
Good snow and some sun, ~4600'
Snowing and visibility decreasing, Jolly at right
Jolly Mountain summit ridge; blah
Usual Ben and Luke conditions...snowing and low visibility
Cool! But notice all the snowmobile tracks going past it...and all the way up to 6000' actually.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Humpback Mountain 5174', I-90

Quick snowshoe with Ben; decent snow down low with 6-10" of powder on a solid base above ~4,000'. So how about that "sunny until 4pm" forecast...?

South Fork Snoqualmie River, McClellan Butte
On the upper, more-enjoyable section of the NW ridge
The upper ridge; Ben's photo
Humpback Mountain 5174'
Ben's photo
Ben's photo
Leaving the summit; Ben's photo