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Ian Lauder

[TR] Magic Mountain (and Arts Knoll) - South Ridge 07/28/2019

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Trip: Magic Mountain (and Arts Knoll) - South Ridge

Trip Date: 07/28/2019

Trip Report:




After a couple long haul weekends decided to take a rest weekend and do something easy on the other end of the Ptarmigan Traverse after having been out to Dome and Sinister last weekend.  Decided on a scramble of Magic Mountain.

Gotta love the masses driving into Cascade Pass. At least most people would pull over pretty soon for us to pass on the way end except for a couple. First one was the red truck with some redneck hanging his cigarette out the window who after quite a few pullouts passed was doing it on purpose. Finally gave up and floored it around him on a straight stretch with a foot to spare on either side.  Next few people pulled over right away which was nice, always give them a wave on the way by.  Then came the minivan from Texas.  First time in a decade driving mountain roads I've started using the flashers, waving my hand to point to them to pull over, driving on their bumper over and over and backing off to give them room to slow down and pull over. Took forever before they finally got the hint. I almost had to start honking. I'm still to Seattle polite too honk.


We had to start a few hours later than planned for the weather to clear so didn't get started till about 2:30. Cascade Pass was still socked in as we started but the clouds were being pushed out as we hiked in all the way.  Took about 3:45 to get from trailhead to Kook-aid lake.

Topping out on the Cache Col met up with a pair from Portland who happened to be planning Magic Mountain the next day as well.  So we told them when we would be there and would look for them.  On the way down I noticed crampons on the ground next to them but figured they were theirs and they were still reorganizing their stuff from the glacier and didn't think anything of it. They had planned on camping there at the col. We continued on to Kool-Aid lake.

Weather had cleared quite a bit with nice views of Formidable. Magic was still in the clouds but Arts Knoll was in full view.  Since it was only 7pm by the time we got camp setup decided to go hike up Arts Knoll.  Easy traverse over and up the red ledges.  By the time we got to the top in an hour the clouds had rolled back in and we wound up getting back to camp in a whiteout and in the dark by headlamps.  Took about 2:30 round trip being a little tricky to get through the boulders with only 30ft of visibility.




A few other tents had shown up at the lake by then.

Next morning as we were getting ready a lady walks up with a crampon asking if we had dropped it at the col.  Nope, not ours. Told her there was a pair of climbers up at the col and it could have been theirs.  But we also checked with the other tent.  On the off chance it was that Portland pair we met the day before I took the crampon from her and said I'd pack it out. Then left it at our tent as we headed up to Magic.


Fun little scramble.  Up to the col, left the climbers trail halfway up to initial hike up from the col and got on the ridge as soon as possible and scrambled that all the way to the drop before the summit spire.



From there it was extremely loose rock but still not too difficult to pick our way through it.  Down around to the right and up and over a giant quartz band.  Then went straight across to the final gully up.  




The runnout is over a cliff but it doesn't look too bad. Lots of loose rock but easy scrambling up to the summit block.  Probably not a good first time scramble.

Once on the summit block spotted the Portland pair where we stashed some gear before dropping down into the loose stuff. Heard lots of rocks cutting loose as they were coming down so we discussed waiting till they got up to the summit block before we would head down, then decided to head down right away so we would pass them on the horizontal traverse down below out of each others way.

By the time we got down hadn't heard or seen them. They had turned back partway down the loose drop.  Once we were coming down to the col finally spotted them passing our tent (and just feet away from that crampon sitting on a rock outside the tent).

Our original plan had been to climb Magic, Hurry-up and Arts Knoll but with the late start and Rodica not feeling that great (figuring it was probably that powdered milk we just starting trying out).  Decided to skip Hurry-up and we would have just enough time to get to Cascadia Farms.  Barring any slow drivers who wouldn't pull over.

Hung out for an hour for lunch and to break down camp.  Had a group of 6 who had gotten turned back from Formidable in the storm the day before pass by.

On the way out at the base of Cache Glacier I thought I saw a big marmot sitting on the boot track where we put on crampons on the way in.  Once it started moving it wasn't a marmot. It was a wolverine about 300 ft in front of us.  It took off down the snow into the rocks.  Once we got there and took some pics of the paw prints they were about as big as my hand.



Our 2nd wolverine spotting this season in the area.  That was pretty cool.

Cruised down to the trailhead and were out with just enough time to get to Cascadia Farms.

Standing in line there was a couple right behind us, we said we weren't in line, just waiting.  Then they asked if we happened to have been up on Magic Mountain.  Then we all recognized each other without the climbing gear.  They asked if we happened across a crampon and they had heard someone had taken it from the col.

Well, yes. We didn't take the crampon from the col.  But I do have it, its in the truck.

We also have a pole we picked up on the ridge to Magic.  If anyone is missing one.  With the markings its someone's who's name starts with "R".



Gear Notes:
Crampons, ice axe

Approach Notes:
Easy hike up and easy glacier crossing.

Edited by Ian Lauder
  • Rawk on! 1

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38 minutes ago, Ian Lauder said:

We had to start a few hours later than planned for the weather to clear so didn't get started till about 2:30.

Good thing you worked so hard to get to the TH fast!  That's the way to show those out of towners.:lmao:

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That was my normal driving speed.  Agonizingly slow and who wouldn't pull over.  Most people get the hint after a couple minutes, not a couple miles.  Everyone else is nice enough to pull over pretty quick, but sometimes you get that guy who says - F'u, you're behind me.   Just a clarification, we didn't hurry up and wait at the trailhead.  We left home later knowing what the weather forecast was going to be and timed it to start before 3 and get to camp in time to hopefully also climb something that day.  Worked out as expected, people coming down Sahale Arm had turned back just a bit earlier in the rain.



Edited by Ian Lauder

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11 minutes ago, Ian Lauder said:

Just a clarification, we didn't hurry up and wait at the trailhead

Ahhhhhh, you know I'm just pulling your chain right?  I may have seen you at the TH Sunday....working with NPS to get the father and son out via helo.  Part of the SAR gong show in the lot....

Funny note, on Sunday one of our trucks had to use their lights and sirens to get the slow pokes to pull over on the Cascade River road.  :pagetop:

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We must have just missed all that.  We didn't notice anything going on at the trailhead and no emergency vehicles.

But we did hear a helicopter when we were at camp the night before, figured that wasn't a good sign.  We were leaving the trailhead about 5:30pm on Sunday.

Edited by Ian Lauder

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Can you provide any more details on the rescue Jason?  On Sunday morning I saw a sign at the Boston Basin trailhead about a missing father/son duo and while on the East Ridge of Forbidden I saw helicopters throughout the day (I think two different ones?).  I snapped a few pictures of them and assumed they must be searching for the father and son.  They seemed to not have a great idea on their whereabouts as they searched everywhere - all across Boston Basin, the Boston Glacier, all the routes on Forbidden and over by Torment.  They seemed to focus mostly around Sahale and Boston though.  I kept my eyes out for them throughout the day and when we hike out that afternoon the sign from the trailhead was gone.  I was hoping it was a rescue and not a recovery.

Edited by slb

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17 hours ago, slb said:

Can you provide any more details on the rescue Jason? 

Father and son 70+ hours overdue after a planned climb of Sharkfin and WR of Forbidden.  Found at ~4000' in the inner gorge of Boston Creek after blowing by the BB trail while descending.  Started a fire to draw attention to their predicament.  Good thing too, they were well outside of the search area!  Minor injuries, they'll survive, but with a greater respect for the North Cascades (from Utah).  Certainly a nice day for a ramble around up there looking for them....

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Lucky you can still drive like this on the cascade river road since it’s alot better funded then our forest Service roads. 

Please go slow when your on our roads in the 542 as the majority of our maintenance comes from a crew of retirees and it’s all by hand.

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No worries, nobody is drifting around the corners.  Just don't need to drive the FJ at a crawl behind a minivan on the straightaways.  I'm always going slow around corners with one foot on the brake.  And that brings me to another pet peeve, while I do appreciate when someone pulls over its nice when they use the pullouts.  I had multiple people this trip decide to "pull over" by just stopping in the road at a blind corner to wave me by.  At least they weren't as bad as the time I had someone driving in the oncoming side around a blind corner because they were too scared of the edge.  And there wasn't an edge.

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