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2019/2020 OR/WA Ice Conditions


ggres335
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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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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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  • 2 weeks later...

I took a couple of explorarory hikes this weekend and here are my observations. 

Cascade Pass, my favorite early season hunting ground, is very bony. Mixup and Sahale will probably go, but it will take a couple of storm/melt/freeze cycles to bring the big, sexy un-climbed and un-repeated routes into condition.

Snoqualmie Pass.  Alpenthal Falls, Chockstone Falls, and Source Lake Line will all need one to two weeks of cold temps to come into shape.  NE Buttress of Chair would go, but very thin and mixed.  East and North Faces will need a couple more storms cycles to bring them in.  Nothing else looked very appealing.

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Went and hiked up with Noah to try and climb Cooper 30 on Saturday. Not quite in yet.

5dee76821dde8_DSC01499(1).thumb.jpg.6c5fbcc92427bf4ba695b7a0725775d1.jpg

Looking up at Cooper 30. Still a bit thin.

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Flows to the right of Cooper 30. Thought about climbing the right pillar, but Noah couldn't find a safe anchor for me to belay from and we were running a bit low on time.

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5 hours ago, kinkilla12 said:

Went and hiked up with Noah to try and climb Cooper 30 on Saturday. Not quite in yet.

5dee76821dde8_DSC01499(1).thumb.jpg.6c5fbcc92427bf4ba695b7a0725775d1.jpg

Looking up at Cooper 30. Still a bit thin.

DSC01481.thumb.JPG.c5083d832ec8ed92ccd72a20cf758853.JPG

Flows to the right of Cooper 30. Thought about climbing the right pillar, but Noah couldn't find a safe anchor for me to belay from and we were running a bit low on time.

Is this below NF Hood/Elliot Glacier?  If so, did you get a look at the NF of Hood and how did it look?  I'm particularly interested in the Right Gulley.

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18 hours ago, DPS said:

Is this below NF Hood/Elliot Glacier?  If so, did you get a look at the NF of Hood and how did it look?  I'm particularly interested in the Right Gulley.

It is on the Eliot, but didn't really get a view of the NF due to the weather conditions. My partner Noah was back on Hood yesterday and saw someone solo the Right Gully so it might be in currently.

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