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JasonG

[TR] Switchback, Martin, and Bigelow Larchiness - The Dog routes 10/8/2017

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Trip: Switchback, Martin, and Bigelow Larchiness - The Dog routes

 

Date: 10/8/2017

 

Trip Report:

Nagging tendon issues have kept me away from real technical climbing this summer. Thankfully, the Cascades are infinitely scalable, and I've been able to shift my focus to scrambles and easy mountaineering objectives. The latest peak bagging mission earlier this month happened to overlap with the Alpine larch insanity that grips the North Cascades every October and, most importantly, a weekend when my parents could watch our boys. As a bonus, Scott and Megan were able to join as well. Oh, and Lucas, MOUNTAIN DOG!

 

My wife and I met climbing, but we rarely get out in the hills together any more. That's why it was a special treat on this trip to hang with good friends, tag some summits, eat chocolate, and share some drinks around the fire. Even after all these years, I'm struck by what a beautiful backyard we have. Especially during larch season.....

 

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Gear Notes:

Standard hiking fare. We didn't feel helmets were necessary.

 

Approach Notes:

Crater Creek trailhead. We went clockwise, but the other way would be fine as well. We camped at Cooney and Boiling lakes. Switchback and Martin on Day 2, Bigelow on day 3 and out. We only ran into a few motorcycles and mtn. bikes on day 1. All were respectful.

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Thanks Stefan! I always start typing up TRs, look at the photos, and think I'm wasting my time. The words don't ever work for me like the images do. Glad you caught the story in the photos, that's always the goal.

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I may have been one of the bikers that passed you. Did the loop on Sunday. What a cool area and your photos do it justice!

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Trip: Switchback, Martin, and Bigelow Larchiness - The Dog routes

 

2017MartinLoop35334.JPG

 

 

This is an amazing shot

 

Did the dog get to summit?

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Thanks everyone!

 

Yeah Steve, we certainly missed you and Holli!

 

Buckaroo- Lucas made it up all three peaks. It was impressive to watch him work up through the boulderfields, especially since he is about 12 or so (he's like an old Tibetan Lama, nobody is quite sure how old he is). Glad you like the long exposure shot, since I was starting to regret lugging the tripod all over the place.

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We only ran into a few motorcycles and mtn. bikes on day 1. All were respectful.

 

I think the Spring guide books ruined many hikers for many places, scaring them off with rants of rude and out-of-control bikers.

 

I always find these places empty. Bonus.

 

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After arriving to a packed TH, filled with bike racks and trucks, I was expecting the worst. But there are a lot of trail miles served by that parking area and people spread out. We would communicate with the moto/mtn bikers as to our party size, they would do the same, and everyone would get past each other without incident. The noise from the motos was a bit surprising, but since we didn't have that many motorized parties (~4?) over the course of the three days, it was totally fine.

 

If it became (resumed being?) really popular with the moto crowd I could see there being issues. It's hard to say (for me) what it was like in these areas 30+ years ago when Harvey and Ira were still active... I know use patterns can and do change dramatically over the decades. I've certainly seen it firsthand in my stomping grounds on the west side.

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did you find that wolf on the trail and befriend it?

 

That's actually not far off the story behind Lucas. His original owners were neighbors of Scott and Meg who divorced and split town some years back. Lucas didn't fit into either of their plans and the neighborhood committed to keeping him fed and sheltered. Scott and Meg became the de facto owners of Lucas and have acclimated him to the choss life. He's taken to it admirably and probably has 10 of the 100 highest under his belt.

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Want to share the dog?

 

If you got snacks, I'm sure Lucas would be game. You'll have to clear it with Meg though, which is the crux.

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Well....I'm afraid to say I don't know. Given the drive and itinerary I was thinking I wouldn't have much time for fishing and this proved true. I was second guessing my decision on the drive, but am glad I left the fishing gear behind. Cooney lake was far too windy to fish comfortably and Boiling Lake was down so low that there was a big ring of mud to access the water. Lots of fish in Boiling though, even if it was 2/3rds frozen over in the morning!

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Yeah, it usually seems pretty late in the year for high elevation lake fishes by the time the larches turn. This is another area that has been on the radar for some time. Now I'm inspired.

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All it needs is a "best of CC" tag!  Your previous Sawtooth TR inspired me and Andy to go up there the following year during larch season.  Well worth it.

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2 hours ago, curtveld said:

All it needs is a "best of CC" tag!  Your previous Sawtooth TR inspired me and Andy to go up there the following year during larch season.  Well worth it.

With his photography and eye for nice places to visit in the mtns we may just need to make that the default tag on all his TRs....:yoda:

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