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[TR] Mt Constance - Finger Traverse 6/11/2017

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Trip: Mt Constance - Finger Traverse

 

Date: 6/11/2017

 

Trip Report:

I've spent almost 10 years looking at Mt Constance yet always seem to get distracted by other peaks in other places. Horror stories of a steep burnt out trail, endless loose scree, and a maze of gullies and ledges haven't made it especially appealing. But it's hard to ignore from Seattle and as with many prominent mountains I yearned to know what it looked like from the top. Thankfully the views aren't required to satisfy that yearning, it's just a simple need to demystify a view from afar. Which is good because Sunday the views were barely good enough to see the next gully or ledge ahead of me making a complex mountain that much more engaging.

 

Traffic jam on the Dose road early morning Sunday:

IMG_60841.JPG

 

The road is now closed ~1 mile further downstream from the big washout. I brought a bike and made quick work of the now 5 miles to the old trailhead, then put in some earphones and set off uphill. The first 800' or so are an absolute mess of deadfall and brush and the old tread is only visible maybe half the time. There's a trail here somewhere:

IMG_6124.JPG

 

It gets better the further up you go and I reached the lake soon enough. At that point the weather was still promising:

IMG_6086.JPG

 

Avalanche Canyon and the south chute were mostly covered in frozen snow which made uphill travel quick and pleasant. As I neared the Cats Ears the cloud ceiling started dropping and by the time I got through to the other side visibility turned to pea soup:

IMG_6090.JPG

 

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Even with poor visibility I'd read enough trip reports and had enough beta to piece together step by step directions from the top of the south chute: drop down below buttress, up scree gully, through notch, down snowfield, etc. It worked, albeit fairly slowly as I methodically checked and rechecked my beta. Eventually the summit block came into view, and the clouds even thinned a bit on the north side:

IMG_6100.JPG

 

On top looking down at my footprints where I traversed to the north side. The fog and clouds below make for a disorientating photo:

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More disorientation. Looking horizontal across the finger traverse:

IMG_60971.JPG

 

Finally orientated back in Avalanche Canyon late afternoon, the clouds parted and told me my timing was terrible for the upper mountain:

IMG_6119.JPG

 

Still a very cool area and now I have a reason to go back and see the views.

 

Gear Notes:

Helmet, crampons, and an axe for sure. Plus a bike!

 

Approach Notes:

Mother Nature has not been kind to the trail to Lake Constance.

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Nice report and pics. The views are truly amazing, so you will have to go back. Later in the season the descent back to the lake is the best boot ski I've ever done. Super fun. And now you know all the beta.

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such a cool place on the planet, that whole area. entrance fee of a little goat hike up. i want to go up and look for the plane wreck on the left side of the valley.

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Sweet! I've seen that cloudy view a few times, have yet to see from the summit! One of these years I need to go back on a good day!

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What plane wreck? You got me curious, all I could find online was the big C-141 crash, but that seems to be one valley over in the Home Lake drainage on the west side of Inner Constance and Warrior.

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What plane wreck? You got me curious, all I could find online was the big C-141 crash, but that seems to be one valley over in the Home Lake drainage on the west side of Inner Constance and Warrior.

 

yeah that one. there was a post a while back about it, i think someone related to a crew member who died in the plane wreck posted on a thread about the area a while back, wanting to go up there. I know you can get to it by going up to the left, the wreck is up there somewhere. when i did this finger traverse we talked with a guy who was headed up there and watching him make his way up from the opposite side of the valley. Up to Peak C-141

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hmmm...well maybe my mind isn't serving me well here. says here Warrior peak was where the crash was...maybe that guy was just going for Peak C-141, which is not near the actual wreck. anyway they flew the wreckage out so i'm definitely wrong about that.

 

http://www.historylink.org/File/8562

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