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About Flying_Ned

  • Birthday 11/30/1999


  • Location
    Jorsted Creek

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  1. Road now clear to Branch Creek, .01 below the upper trailhead.
  2. The road is now clear to Washington. Snow blocks the upper Ellinor road above a small slide for 150'. It's clear until the turn at Branch Creek below the parking area.
  3. Was up there two days ago. The lower lake is clear of snow. The East Fork (VSM) has patchy snow in avy tracks, becoming more continuous beyond the first bridge. Not sure if there is bare ground yet at Lena Forks.
  4. We shwacked up there thirty years ago and found sections of trail (cut logs) high above and along the creek. For the most part we linked game trails with the path least resistance until tree line. We ended up climbing eastward to avoid slide alder around 3500' toward the pass leading to Wildcat, then followed the ridge line west. Bivied in lovely country below the saddle over Hungry creek before dropping down to complete circuit. Heavy brush, as I recall. When in doubt, stay high, I would say.
  5. The road is clear 0.2mi beyond the lower TH, just short of hogback trail to the upper parking area. Snow on the trail begins near the large rock above the junction with lower trail.
  6. A bridge log now spans the Dosewallips at the east end of the campground at the ranger station. This provides access to the remnant trail up into the Basin and Wildcat Lake areas.
  7. Trip: Mt. Rainier - Late August Emmons Incognito Date: 8/18/2009 Trip Report: D and I grabbed the Aug 18th weather window and headed out for the Emmons, unaware of the buzz of activity at Camp Schurman that day. Having only descended this route previously, I thought it a good choice for his 1st and my 10th ascent. We left White River Tuesday morning, playing tag with a team of French speaking climbers up the trail to the Inter Glacier, which now is a bowling alley of softball sized debris raining down from the cliffs. The snow chute (climber’s right) is melted out, and the safest route up the lower 3rd of the glacier (this day) looks to stay right, up dirty ice, then traverses left across the shotgun zone where falling rocks have little momentum and you can find a snow corridor. D’s old crampons were giving him trouble, forcing several stops, and we fell behind the French team as we futzed with gear out on the ice. Glacier Basin Inter Glacier After an hour and a half of glacier travel and a few minutes of hammering on D’s crampon with my old X-15, we crossed over Camp Curtis and onto the Emmons, arriving as the last team at Schurman for the evening. We had two days left to get up and out, and decided to spend the next day repairing the crampon and practicing two-man extractions. A pleasant lazy day awaited us. Little Tahoma from Camp Curtis Not long after dark, headlamps began flashing around camp as two guided and four independent parties began to assemble. Next to us, two occupied park service tents remained silent. Clear skies, no moon, the early morning air thick and warm. We slept until 8am. The Route in Twilight Wednesday morning the camp was empty, save for the few people hovering around the hut and the gentlemen in the tents near us. Friendly conversation brought us over to meet climbing ranger, Dave Gottlieb, who had just celebrated his 42nd birthday, and Mike Gauthier, who accompanied the group remaining at camp on their previous days’ ascent. Here we also met Mike Heavey, West Seattleite and Superior Court Judge, Politico James Sheehan, Maria Cantwell, our US Senator and important park advocate, Andy Miller, the Benton County prosecutor, and friends. A more open and welcoming group could not be found so high on the mountain, and I particularly enjoyed recalling days where Gator and I had previously crossed paths along with some political small talk with Jim and Mike. Though vacationing incognito with friends, Sen. Cantwell was gracious and funny, offering a salty remark about Jim’s array of campaign tee-shirts. Her friend, Nancy, looked to me like an Iron Man veteran. Pretty trim group. Derrick, Maria, Me and Jim After a late breakfast that group headed for home, and Judge Heavey made sure we paid for our invasion by helping them mule packs up the crumbling shit pile to the top of the prow. The trail from Steamboat Prow past Camp Curtis and Mt. Ruth avoids the Inter Glacier, and they were anxious to begin the dusty walk down to Glacier Basin. Two backcountry carpenters had been choppered in along with several barrels of cement and supplies earlier in the week, and the assembled groups bid farewell, with Gator staying on with Gottlieb and the carpenters for another day. Nancy and Maria descend the Prow D and I spent our day eating and hydrating, chit-chatting and watching parties high on the mountain through binoculars. The carpenters (I apologize for forgetting their names) worked all day, removing past mistakes, carefully mortaring native stone and weaving rebar into an arch over the hut. These guys care about quality and worked hard and skillfully, ferrying water from the dripping glacier in 5 gallon buckets. Camp Schurman Throughout the afternoon the camp gradually filled with returning summit parties. Late in the day only two small teams remained out, and the camp was entertained by Helmstadter’s ski descent done in fine style. Bravo. He continued on down the Emmons toward Camp Curtis without a break, and we awaited the final groups containing a pair of Polish natives and a local father-son team as they worked cautiously down in the softening snow. Since we were hiking out the following day, D and I decided to rise early and hit the sack about 7pm. Shortly thereafter I wandered over to the hut and spent a few hours with Dave and Gator, enjoying some popcorn and conversation, reminiscing about Alaskan adventures 25 years and 30 lbs ago. Gottlieb is a hoot, and I must say that he has it about right—approaching his job first as a climber/guide, rather than a bureaucrat. The Gauthier/Gottlieb ethic seems to me the perfect fit for Rainier, and spending a little time with these guys was one of the highlights of our trip. D and I rose at 11:30 and promptly received the spotlight treatment from hut. By 12:30am we were off, trudging up the ramp past Emmons Flats, to a short icy step and onto the corridor, where soft, slushy snow kept the pace a little slow. At about 11,000’ the winds began to pick up, which was thematic for the day as we fought gusty high winds in clear weather all the way to the summit. The route is a boulevard right now, and passes by some remarkable crevasses. But it’s still in great shape with very little true exposure. After rounding a corner at about 13,000’ the long traverse to the north saddle comes into view. Gottlieb had earlier put up a more direct line near hear, which climbs straight up WSW before traversing N under an ice fall. We debated, but ultimately chose to battle the high winds on the more established trail and continued on to the saddle. We reached the crater rim after 8 blustery hours, the wind at hurricane force, ropes flying, unable to even set up a tripod. A group of four was marching back to the DC across the crater, and we moved down to Register Rock to find a wind break. No such luck, and D signed us in as “Team Gimp.” After about an hour of watching the dirt fly, we packed up and headed back down. D’s knee was acting up, so we moved slowly, enjoying a spirited and beautiful descent. Crampons borrowed from the ranger hut alleviated any equipment concerns, and we stopped frequently to take in the views and linger on the mountain. No others were on route that day. Sunrise The Corner The Saddle Traverse Derrick on the descent Dave met us as we returned to camp, but refused to part with any of his hidden stash of beer. After being full that morning, the camp was eerily empty of tents except ours, and we lounged around for a few hours before packing up. Ascending the prow, we engaged in our most ridiculous moment of the entire trip, as D jumped up the trail only to get off route, warn me not to follow, then proceed to litter the route up with rockfall. Confused and tired, I poked around a bit but could not confirm the obvious route we had danced up the previous day, so I returned to the hut, tail between my legs, and asked for beta. Gottlieb happily complied, and needlessly walked me up the entire route as I huffed under my heavy pack with tired legs. D waited on top, feeling stupid himself for getting onto some sketchy crumbling face. We thanked Dave again and made off down the ridge for Glacier Basin. The hike out was lovely in the waning light, and we watched clouds move into the valleys to the north as we scrambled over the ridge. We met a party coming up to Camp Curtis who warned us of route finding problems in the scree fields beyond Ruth and being unable to find a stream crossing, but we found no such difficulties, finally getting back to the car after dark, tired, happy, and ready to crack one open. Gear Notes: Pickets (2), Screws (2), 3rd tool Approach Notes: The lower Inter Glacier is a low/mid angle dirty ice sheet with steady rock fall that is generally confined to a corridor on the right. We chose to ascend inside this fall line on the right and cross it higher up. The glacier could be approached on the far left, but rogue rocks in that area come at high speed. The trail from Glacier Basin crosses the creek and climbs steeply to the ridge to the south, then follows the trail past Camp Curtis to the top of the Prow. One 15’ class 3 scramble is negotiated along the way.
  8. I was on Washington and Ellinor on Memorial Day and did the low backside traverse. There is still a ton of soft snow in Lake Ellinor Basin, but the timbered slopes are pretty clear. Snow shoes might help in some sections. The south side roads are completely open, and there is no problem getting into Jefferson lake, so you may get close, if not all the way to the creek. Be prepared for deep postholing and snow on the summit ridge. You'll definately avoid the brushy approach schwack.
  9. What a fantastic first experience you gave your son. I'm in my forties, and I still vividly remember my dad leading me up Mt. Washington at 13. Great trip. Couple hints for anyone following this description who are unfamiliar with the route: The base of the Hourglass does lead up to a waterfall obstruction, and the route traverses below this to the right (E) over slippery sloping ground before circling back to lunch rock and the main couloir. You can also avoid the airy knife-edge traverse by locating a narrow slot, or keyhole, just below the top of the couloir. The snow fans out near the top, but by staying high and left, you can find an exit slot to the right where the rock pinches in. The keyhole leads to easy ledges and scree ramps to the summit. Of course there are other avenues to the summit from here, but this is one of the quickest. Bravo DP.
  10. You may want to reconsider doing the Tunnel Creek trail from the Dose side. That's a lot of lost elevation from the divide down past Harrison Lake toward the creek. You'd be better off traversing toward Cunningham Pass from Lake Constance or sticking to the popular approaches via Tunnel Creek.
  11. Ellinor-Washington: Road impassible to vehicles 3.5 mi below lower Ellinor trailhead where Shield Wall comes into view. Patchy snow on road increasing to 5 feet. 5/9/08. Mt. Stone: Hamma Hamma road closed due to washout beyond Lena Creek. Take a dirt bike to get to Putvin. Snow at Whitehorse creek, meadow below first headwall still buried. 5/7/08. Brothers: Snow patches at Lower Lena. Continuous at East Fork Lena Creek. Good year to try the lower route into the Great Basin. 5/4/08. Upper Lena, Lake of the Angels likely to be iced over into July of this year. Lower Lena is ice free. Staircase Road repair contract was let today. Work should begin in a week. Possibly open by Memorial Day.
  12. As I recall, the three main gullies look almost equadistant from the center of the basin when carrying snow and there is another minor gully farther east--does that sound correct to you? We had to surmount a 20'rounded tower to get on route from the narrow saddle. You may have been on the correct route. It's a nice simulclimb in good weather with a few minor decision making challenges--over or around. I, too, was glad for a rope in a few places just for the exposure. Where did you exit the trail? I'm wondering if it's easier getting into the basin climbing steeply from the minor waterfall - 3rd creek south of boulder shelter - or from the boulderfield/scrubby tree shwack south of there?
  13. Truly outstanding TR. Thanks for the great photos. The high traverse from Bear Pass to Camp Pan has been done a few times. Most recently (before you and Douglas), to my knowledge, as a loop from Dodwell-Rixon across the ridge and back down the Humes by a party making the Elwha-Quinault trip. That party crossed over to Meany-Queets-Seattle before dropping into Low Divide. Congrats on a great outing. It makes my bones tired just thinking about day 7.
  14. The key to this trip is chosing your camps. Queet Basin is a must, and you'll find a great camp on a bench above the basin as you traverse west from Bear Pass (N side of Basin). Another great camp is on the Humes moraine next to the creek. Several bivy sites here with scattered plane wreckage. Camp Pan is also very special--just depends on how you're progressing. I think a must is a night on Five Fingers, just below the summit. Lot's of room and unbeatable views at dusk. Glacier Meadows is often buggy, so a trip out from the summit or a final night at Lewis Meadow is a good way to end the trip. I've done this trip twice, once in 6 nights and the other in 7 and both times was very happy not to rush it. It's definately worth savoring this trip and bagging Pulitzer, Queets or Athena along the way.
  15. Norman, you've clearly not been up there in late season. The hourglass can be a pinball alley without snow. To save weight, you can try an inflatable helmet. BTW, North Brother in a couple of weeks, I think.
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