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Kuato

[TR] Monument Peak (8592'), Lake Mountain (8371'), Bird Peak (8330') - East Ridge Up, SE Ridge Down 07/03/2021

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Trip: Monument Peak (8592'), Lake Mountain (8371'), Bird Peak (8330') - East Ridge Up, SE Ridge Down

Trip Date: 07/03/2021

Trip Report:

I climbed three peaks over the holiday weekend.  Monument Peak (8592'), Lake Mountain (8371'), Bird Peak (8330') outside Mazama, Pistol Pass Approach.  Started the climb from the Monument Creek Trailhead (Trail 484).

The weather was looking perfect again and a holiday weekend, time for another east side climb.  Headed out Friday night, caught some Zs at the Trailhead and headed out early Saturday morning. 

Saturday:  I planned for 3 days as the trip is long with lots of climbing.  I headed up Monument Creek Trail to the Eureka Creek ford to the Pistol Pass Trail and up the ridge.  There used to be a bridge across Eureka Creek years ago but it came down and has not been replaced.  There is a nice bridge base and a solid rock platform on the other side of the creek that is begging for a new bridge.  Sure would do wonders for connecting the trails in the area for a nice big loop around the mountains of the area.  The ford across Eureka Creek is not too bad, knee to mid-thigh deep depending on the crossing location.  I found it easiest to cross a little way down the trail toward a rocky river bank.  The Pistol Pass ridge trail is bone dry the whole way up.  There is no water from Eureka Creek to Lake of the Woods Lake.  I filled up with 3 liters of water at the creek and still had to travel about 2.5 hours without water before I got to Lake of the Woods to set up camp.  The ridge is hot as hell when the sun is out, no place to hide and no water to cool off in.  The trail up the ridge is hard to follow between 3900’ and 6000’, when in doubt stick to the ridge crest. 

Sunday:  I Left Lake of the Woods Camp at 6:00am and climbed straight up a gully to a ridge line at about 7500’.  I was thinking that the prominent rocky peak seen from Pistol Pass and the Lake area was Lake Mountain, it isn’t.  It is an unnamed peak that is 40’ lower than Lake Mountain (which is to the north and is much easier to climb).  This unnamed peak I am going to call Bird Peak (8330’) from here on out.  I’m calling it Bird Peak because it kind of looks like a bird beak from one side and from the other side it looks like the mountain is flipping you the bird.  Maybe it should be called Homonym Peak.   Anyway, Bird Peak is a decent climb.  It is a mix of 3rd, 4th and 5th class rock with an airy summit and room for one, maybe two people, to sit directly on the summit.  Sitting on the summit of Bird Peak I realized that I was on the wrong summit and needed to climb Lake Mountain like originally planned.  Lake Mountain is a basic class 2-3 scramble.  Bird Peak is a much nicer peak.  I headed down the ridge from Lake Mountain toward the Lake in the basin between Lake Mtn. and Monument Peak.  Lots of water and camping spots in the basin.  The ridge down from Lake Mountain to the basin is fairly steep with loose rock combined with slick rock sections.  Not too fun but doable.  From the basin Lake I climbed up toward the start of the East Ridge of Monument Peak.  The East Ridge of Monument Peak is a mix of class 3 & 4 steep, loose, down slopping rock.  Off the north side of the ridge is a sheer drop for several hundred feet.  The first 100’ is the hardest part of the ridge and then it eases up a bit.  With the loose, steep rock and the sheer drop, the pucker factor was at the high setting.  I made it to the summit of Monument Peak about 3:00pm.  Great views in all directions.  I headed down the SE Ridge of Monument to return to camp.  The SE Ridge is composed of tedious loose talus most of the way.  When I reached the 7000’ mark on the SE Ridge I headed down the diagonal gully to the basin below.  It’s loose shit rock all the way down to 6600’.  From here I climbed back up and over the gully above Lake of the Woods and back to camp at about 9:00pm.  A long day with lots of climbing and distance, my feet were done. 

Monday:  I left Lake of the Woods Camp at 7:00am.  I went back up and over Pistol Pass, down the ridge trail, through the Creek and back to the car at 3:30pm.   

 

Some Tips and Notes:

  1.  Bring comfortable shoes, this is a long trip.  I brought Hokas for the easy trail and creek crossing and mountaineering boots for the cross country and peaks.     
  2.  There is no water at all on the ridge between Eureka Creek and Lake of the Wood Lake.  Bring as much water as you can carry from Eureka Creek.
  3.  The trail up the ridge is hard to follow between 3900’ and 6000’, when in doubt stick to the ridge crest.  The trail will fade in and out in that stretch.  
  4.  There are actually two lakes in the Lake of the Woods area, only the bigger lake is on the map.  There is a smaller lake about a ¼ mile north of the main lake. 
  5.  There is a lot of water in the basin between Lake Mtn. and Monument Peak.  A lake and several streams with good camping options.            
  6.  The East Ridge of Monument Peak requires your full attention.  Class 3-4 steep, loose, down slopping rock.
  7.  The gully to get onto and off of the SE Ridge of Monument Peak is not fun but it is the best option.  Bottom is at about 6600’ and top is at 7000’.

 

Travel Time for reference:

 Saturday:  Car to Lake of the Woods Camp - 10.5 hours. 

Sunday:  Camp to Summits  back to Camp - 15 hours

Monday:  Camp to Car - 8 hours

Elevation Gain for the trip:  about 10,000’

Gear used:   Whippet & Helmet

 

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Eureka Creek Ford at the top of Trail 484

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Pistol Pass View - Bird Peak & Lake of the Woods down in the trees

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Lake of the Woods - Nice Camping.

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Bird Peak from ridge above Lake of the Woods

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Lake Mountain from summit of Bird Peak.

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Monument Peak - SE Ridge & East Ridge and Face

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Monument Peak - East Ridge 

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Blackcap Mountain in the distance from the East Ridge of Monument Peak.

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Monument Peak Summit.

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View from Monument Peak.

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Looking down SE Ridge of Monument Peak.

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6600' Access point of SE Ridge of Monument Peak.  It's a lot steeper than it looks.

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Wear and Tear.  One days worth of grippy rock climbing.

Gear Notes:
Gear used:   Whippet, Helmet, Work Gloves. Bring lots of water carrying capacity, you will need it!

Approach Notes:
Monument Creek Trailhead (Trail 484) Start Location. Climb ridge trail to Pistol Pass.
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That looks like an excellent ramble. Thanks for posting the fine pictures and story. Beautiful rock!

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I climbed "Bird" peak from the north side that is facing Lake Mountain.  That route is class 3-4 maybe a touch of 5th.  There is a keyhole section that I climbed through to get to the upper section.  The south side is class 3, 4 and solid 5th rope territory.  

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Nice report! I was out in that area years ago on a backpacking trip. Exiting over pistol pass and down that ridge on a hot afternoon was still one of the more miserable but also beautiful “trail” I’ve ever been on. Kudos for the out and back. 

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