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ggres335

2019/2020 OR/WA Ice Conditions

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As the season kicks off use this thread to post ice conditions, photos, and beta for Winter 2019-2020.  

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Nooksack Cirque had endless possibilities last week for the adventurous, intrepid mixed master who doesn't mind significant objective risk. Pics taken on 10/31/19:

View from the Trog:

883C0EE3-7152-4DFE-A99F-3FF38B854E90.jpeg

At the base:

117C6592-38DD-425D-837B-FF9EED1C2724.jpeg

A buttress on Jagged Ridge:

4F3FA400-C33A-49DE-8BB1-1037137D58CC.jpeg

Seahpo/Cloudcap:

6C4854AB-F41B-407F-B859-69C679872B07.jpeg

Edited by bargainhunter
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I've always wanted to go in there in the fall and stay under the Great Trog!!

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From Spring and Manning’s “101 Hikes in the North Cascades”, early 1970’s edition:

DDEDBF88-6C5F-4246-9D8A-018B70E2FFD8.jpeg

 

2E694D69-7612-43F1-AEAD-FD479E5147A0.jpeg

PS: There were no crowds. I was the only one in the whole valley. Only my car at the trailhead. 

Edited by bargainhunter

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101 hikes has done everyone a favor and made the Nooksack Cirque hike into a tough hike... ts not! It's flat, trailed, and all season. I guess most just aren't that adventurous. 

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I think 101 Hikes has it dialed. Nooksack Cirque is wicked strenuous, not for the faint of heart, and the Trog is full of rat feces. Guaranteed Hantavirus if you sleep there. 

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I hardly think posting beta from a 48 year old guidebook is going to "insta-wreck" anything, especially because the "masses" arriving at the trailhead will be confronted with a thigh deep creek right at the parking lot. Then, if they look for an easier way across, and have the gumption to walk through brush a hundred yards upstream or downstream, the ice-covered log jams spanning the river may also give them pause. If they make it across, the 1 mile approach trail described in "101 Hikes..." is actually now 4 miles due to the Ruth Creek washout. That's just to reach the gravel bar of the Nooksack. To get to the cirque itself, it's another 5 miles of walking on riverbed boulders and crossing tributaries, with occasional bushwacks at points where the river forces you back in the forest (with temps dipping into the low 20sF in the fall permashade). The place is often described as "seldom visited" because the masses are, in general, too hardship adverse, lazy, and phone dependent.

If the hoi polloi make it to the cirque itself, they aren't going to stumble through mossy boulderfields and alder thickets to find a specific overhanging boulder. The Trog isn't that obvious, one has to actively look for it. The "summit register" in the Trog was weathered and looked like it had been there a few years. The plastic bag which contained it was riddled with rodent nibbles and writhing with Hanta virions. There was only one name in it: mine, because I had just signed it.

8B8B6E2C-1A73-40F6-AA8E-16A4EA69588D.jpeg

I'll go back to re-check it in 5-10 years and if it's overflowing with visitors, you will have proved me wrong and I'll delete this post and never mention the area again. Average Joes just aren't going to go there, while mountaineering masochist like you and me embrace this type of approach.


Meanwhile, back on topic, yesterday I took a late afternoon stroll up the Hannegan Pass trail. Near Silesia Camp, after walking in snow for several miles in lowtop approach shoes, I caught a nice view of Shuksan from the northeast in twilight, already gripped in a wintery embrace.

Shuksan, Price Glacier, Nooksack Tower and ridge from the Copper Ridge Trail west of Silesia camp 11/8/19:CACE67A0-B9E8-4F03-99EB-B4552B56C2F7.jpegDamn!

Further east was a impressive view of the north face of Mt. Blum, the most prominent peak between Shuksan and the Pickets. Mt Blum's north ridge (5.9, III) was first climbed in 1971, a year after Spring and Manning's "101 Hikes in the North Cascades" was first published.


Mt Blum, from the north:9598EDD1-97F8-4079-82DB-F81A8665972E.jpeg

I turned back at this point because it was dark and I was losing the trail in the snow. My planned turn around point at the Copper Ridge lookout was still 2 miles away.

The perennial debate of sharing info vs keeping quiet even created tension for Manning and Spring. An interesting discussion of that can be found here: https://www.historylink.org/File/9381

So who is going to post a TR of their ascent of Sulphide Creek Falls?

Edited by bargainhunter

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I'll have to be more obvious when poking fun in the future.....  :battlecage:

And you're correct to remind us that this very issue broke the friendship of Spring/Manning. 

Nice pics of one of the driest Novembers ever @bargainhunter, if you haven't climbed that North Ridge of Blum, I would recommend it!

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Hiked up Colchuck Peak on Saturday, November 9th.  There were a lot of ice smears but the usual suspects were not filled in enough to be what I consider in condition.  Maybe the NE Couloir on Dragontail was in, but I could not see it from the lake.  I suspect a party that left the TH at midnight may have been on it, but I don't know that for sure.  Maybe they will post up. The smaller lakes were well frozen over and Colchuck Lake had a skim of ice, but Saturday had warmed up considerably and was raining on the summit of Colchuck.  Hopefully colder weather will accompany these storm cycles and after they have had a chance to consolidate/melt/freeze the area should have some good early season hunting.  It had been perhaps five years since my last visit to Colchuck Lake and I was shocked by how much the Colchuck Glacier had receded.  At this pace in 5 years I suspect it will be completely gone. 

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On 11/10/2019 at 8:14 AM, DPS said:

Hiked up Colchuck Peak on Saturday, November 9th.  There were a lot of ice smears but the usual suspects were not filled in enough to be what I consider in condition.  Maybe the NE Couloir on Dragontail was in, but I could not see it from the lake.  I suspect a party that left the TH at midnight may have been on it, but I don't know that for sure.  Maybe they will post up. The smaller lakes were well frozen over and Colchuck Lake had a skim of ice, but Saturday had warmed up considerably and was raining on the summit of Colchuck.  Hopefully colder weather will accompany these storm cycles and after they have had a chance to consolidate/melt/freeze the area should have some good early season hunting.  It had been perhaps five years since my last visit to Colchuck Lake and I was shocked by how much the Colchuck Glacier had receded.  At this pace in 5 years I suspect it will be completely gone. 

Was up near lake stuart and also found very bony/dry conditions. 

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