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[TR] Teebone Ridge-Traverse - Little Devil, Baksit, Big Devil, Trapezoid 9/11/2016


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Trip: Teebone Ridge-Traverse - Little Devil, Baksit, Big Devil, Trapezoid


Date: 9/11/2016


Trip Report:

You'd think that a ridge that is only a few miles from the highway wouldn't feel so wild, but Teebone ridge gives the impression of remoteness. No campsites, no climber's paths, and no human tracks in the snowfields. In these days of permit lines at 7am in Marblemount it is refreshing to see. But you must be prepared pay the price of admission on the exit....

Of course we didn't know about the exit as we were hiking up the Monogram lake trail on a sunny Sunday, chatting with Ranger Erin (the last person we would see) coming down from a patrol. Spirits were understandably high- the southerly approach to Teebone ridge involves basically no bushwhacking. Just walk up the Monogram trail until you can see the lake and hang a left. From there until the last few hours you will be in the alpine..... The Sound of Music and all that.

As the sun got low in the sky the first day, we ran around under Little Devil looking for a spot to camp. We found a tilted slab that was passable with a bit of work, set up the 'mid and went up Little Devil as the light got better and better. What a vantage! The clearing sky made for some dramatic views but a chill wind blew, driving us back towards camp and the Hunter relatively quickly. Luckily our whiskey supply was a match for the temperatures, and our dinner was accompanied by a great show of stars. It was good to have the band back together again!

The next morning didn't feel like summer at all and we were all a bit chilled, Scott especially so. Kit may have even called him crabby. So we dawdled until the sun hit our camp and didn't get an early start to head over to Baksit. Like  Little Devil, Baksit is an easy class 3 romp, but leave packs at the saddle where you drop around the east side of it.

Returning to the packs we had a bit of steep snow to get down into the basin between Baksit and Fallen Angel where we easily made our way over to the base of the Angel. We had brought gear to head up the "regular" route put up by Roper et al. on the FA, but about this time Scott began to feel not well, not well at all so we decided to keep the team together and limp north towards Big Devil. Oh well, another day  Fallen Angel

To get to Big Devil, you first must get past the Hellions which appear to be pretty easy to skirt, at first. However, the last Hellion surprised us a bit- you'll want to stay low. Past the  Hellions  the way up Big Devil is straightforward....and dramatic. Fantastic views all around, it is one of the most commanding vantages in the Skagit. Highly recommended (you can bypass the summit on the traverse, but you shouldn't).

We didn't know where we were going to camp for night 2 but spied the perfect location from the summit of Big Devil- a lake that isn't on the map! We christened it the The Lake of Fire  and it was an easy romp down mellow snow from the summit. We got in early enough to kick off the boots and marvel at the surroundings. Plus 4G service, interestingly, better than sitting on my couch at home. One of the reminders that the highways isn't far.

The fair weather continued on day 3 and, due to extra Hunter rations, Scott had made a complete recovery from the day prior. We quickly hiked up easy ground to the col between Hunich's Pipe and the Trapezoid. Thankfully we didn't have to carry our kit over the mountain and we left our packs at the col and scrambled up to the summit (very exposed class 3). From here we had a great view of all the peaks we traversed past over the past several days and I could tell that Scott finally felt at Peace  after a long summer toiling on the fishing grounds. Now, how to get out of here? The way we came up had a bunch of loose blocks, so we opted to set up two clean raps down the steep rock to the skier's right of the ascent line. This worked out quite well, and I'd recommend it if you brought a rope all the way to this point (because you know you are going to climb Fallen Angel, right?). Soon, we were back at the packs readying for the gentle alpine stroll before the business end of the traverse.

The 2015 burn. You can see it's extent from Newhalem and it didn't leave the preferred exit from Teebone ridge unscathed. In fact, I'd hesitate to recommend this exit as there are MANY widowmakers that seem to be held aloft by the hand of the Devil. Thankfully it wasn't windy, but still we were all spooked traveling past large burned out trees swaying gently in the non-existent breeze. A few more winters will probably make it less dangerous (you'll still have to dodge cliffs strewn with fallen timber), but more unpleasant, as the jack-strawed mess gets worse and the brush begins to take over. The problem is that a quick scan of the map and aerials doesn't show convincingly the lesser of the potentially evil ways to exit the traverse.

The Devil always gets his due.












































































Gear Notes:

Crampons, helmet, ice axe, crampons. Rope for Fallen Angel, also was nice for a couple clean raps off the Trapezoid


Approach Notes:

Monogram Lake trail to the high country. Exit thru the burn, north of the NPS marker on pt.5362. BE CAREFUL IN THE BURN. Numerous widowmakers!!!

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Sounds (well, perhaps with the exception of the Poison track--nice find) and looks like a great trip! About how long did it take to get to the bivy under Little Devil from the TH? (Would like to advise folks re: approach to Fallen A.)


And yes, fantastic photography as always. What are we looking at in the 5th pic, 1st B&W--is that Triumph?

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Thanks guys, glad you liked the report and photos! I couldn't resist on that Poison video.... It is often a pain to lug my SLR around, but I'm happy that I do when I get home and start working up the pictures. If others are excited to see the end result, even better! OK, now to answer some questions.


Bronco- Kit was pretty nervous in the burn (and thus, Scott and I) since he know better than most the danger that those charred snags pose.


Lunger- I'd say about 5-6 hours moving at a steady but casual pace. It's probably another 1-2 hours over to the base of the south Face of Fallen Angel from our camp. You could add on how much time from the south face to the base of the Grim Reaper. And you guessed right on the picture. Slesse left of center and Triumph right (with your FA facing the camera!). Triumph looks a little odd since Despair is peaking out around the sides.


And, as promised, a couple close-ups of the Hunich Pipe (and Pipe Cleaner):






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Great shots of Hunich Pipe and the Pipe Cleaner and all, Jason. Here’s the story behind these names:

When I was growing up in Newhalem and Diablo (1944-61), I admired Ken Hunich as the one-and-only climber of all the Seattle City Light employees that ran the Skagit River powerhouses and dams out of those towns. Ken was in the party that made the FA of North Despair in 1963. South Despair was Beckey’s very first, FA in 1939. North Despair was done in style by Eric and Rolf in 2014 via the NE “Bipolar Buttress.”

Ken was the second supervisor of Ross Dam and Powerhouse, succeeding my dad Jack Roper in 1954. While we were all living in Diablo in 1953, Ken, my dad, and I (age 9 then) made a try for Pyramid Peak above town before a lightning storm chased us off the mountain. Ken and my first successful peak together was a day-trip of Johannesburg in 1968 (returning in the dark from Gunsight Notch). Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Ken smoked a pipe and always teethed it at a jaunty angle under his moustache.

In 1964, the year after Jay Haggerty and I rowed Jay’s one-man duck boat across the Skagit River at Sky Creek and climbed Big Devil left of the waterfall you see from HW 20 (launching in the morning, returning in the dark), Ken and his brother Dick climbed Big Devil via the route Jason’s gang descended. Ken told me then that they went by a “10-foot notch” below the Trapezoid to get to Big Devil. The day after climbing Fallen Angel in 1982, Russ Kroeker, Silas Wild, and I stood at this spot and admired these pinnacles and decided to give them a go. We chuckled at Ken’s 10-foot estimate and came to call these crags “Hunich Pipe and the Pipe Cleaner,” though in retrospect he was probably referring to the width of the gap and not the height of these peaklets.

Another photo here:


( click to enlarge ). Six-foot tall Russ stands on the Pipe Cleaner to give scale to the actual height.

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Thanks guys, glad you like the photos. I'm probably not that close to a coffee table book, but appreciate the sentiment. No way that I'm going to compete with the likes of Abegg, Scurlock, and Hummel, but I can always keep trying. First though, I need to convince the finance minister that I NEED some top quality glass and a full frame sensor!

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