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[TR] The Brothers (6842') - Lena Lake Trail / Hourglass 09/05/2021


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Trip: The Brothers (6842') - Lena Lake Trail / Hourglass

Trip Date: 09/05/2021

Trip Report:

The Brothers (6842')– Lena Lake Trail Approach  – Sept  5-6, 2021 (Sun, Mon).

I climbed The Brothers (6842') over the holiday weekend.  I started the climb from the Lena Lake Trailhead off Hamma Hamma Rd.  The weather was in the 70’s and looking pretty nice for the 2 day stretch.

Sunday:  I caught the 7:10am ferry at Edmonds over to Kingston.  I started out from the Lena Lake trailhead (700’) at 10:00am.  I arrived at Lena Lake at 11.15am.  The lake trail is very popular with lots of campers around the lake.  I made my way to the Climber’s Camp at the end of the mapped trail (3000’) by 1:30pm.  The trail going to the Climber’s Camp from the lake does a lot of weaving around but it is not too hard to follow if you pay attention to the worn path.  The trail goes through the Valley of Silent Men.  The valley was beautiful and the highlight of the trip.  Having plenty of daylight left I decided to go as high as possible to camp on day 1.  The trail above the Climber’s Camp is still pretty good and not difficult to follow.  The last running water was at 3600’, near a couple of snow sections before climbing up through the burn section.  I carried as much water as I could to high camp.  I reached a perfect camp spot at 5500’ at 4:30pm. 

Monday:  I left camp at 6:30am heading up through the Hourglass section toward the summit.  Terrain was a mix of loose rock with some nice rock options off to the right side heading up (Class 3).  I made the South Summit (6842’) by 7:45am.  The summit ridge had several options to get around or over various rock spire sections, a mix of Class 2, 3 & 4.  There was no summit registry.  There were a couple of bivy spots around the summit area.  If one wanted to add the  North Summit, it would probably add about an hour or so with some route finding, mostly Class 3 & 4.  There is snow between the South & North Summits down low, so water could be obtained by climbing down and melting snow.  It was cloudy down low but beautiful up top with perfect weather.    I headed back down to camp climbing down the rock on the side of the Hourglass section which worked well, arriving at 9:30am.  I packed up and was on my way back to the parking lot arriving at 2:15pm.  Caught the ferry and headed home.  I was surprised by the light traffic on the way in and out.  I was expecting to be sitting in line for a while but I made the first boat each direction. 

Overall this was a very enjoyable trip, especially going through the Valley of Silent Men.


Some Tips and Notes:

1.       The trail up to the lake is like a freeway, very easy travel, lots of people.

2.       Last running water access was at 3600’ just before going up through the burn area.

3.       There is no snow to cross on route. 

4.       The Hourglass section has loose rock but it can be avoided using the rock on the right side.

5.       The summit ridge has several options around the rock spires.  I used a path between some trees and a rock wall that worked pretty good. 

6.       There are bivy/camp options above the Climber’s Camp.  One at 4000’, 5200’, 5500’ and around the summit area.     


Travel Time for reference:

Sunday:  Parking Lot to 5500’ Camp– 6.5 hours. 

Monday:  Camp to Summit to Parking Lot – 7.75 hours

Total Mileage:  about 16 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 6100’+


Gear used:   Whippet, Helmet.



Lena Lake on way to Climber's Camp Trail.


Trail through Valley of Silent Men.  Kept expecting to see Ewoks swinging through the woods. 


Stunning waterfall on the way through the Valley of Silent Men, a little piece of heaven on earth.


Start of the burn area section of the trail.


Around 5000',  route goes diagonal under the rock face.


View from camp 5500'.


Start of Hourglass Gully.


North Summit from South Summit, Mount Constance & Warrior Peak in the background.

Gear Notes:
Whippet & Helmet. Could have used a regular trekking pole in place of the Whippet.

Approach Notes:
Lena Lake Trail No. 810 to Trail No. 821 to Climber's Camp through Hourglass.
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  • 11 months later...

After asking 15+ people to go climbing with me and getting no takers (best excuse: "I'm having a heart procedure on Monday"—whoa),  I soloed this over Tues/Wed since the Olympics were just about the only place in the state not on fire/right next to something on fire and with a decent forecast.  I used Kuato's excellent trip report above for beta along with the guidebook description and was astounded to discover my times were more or less in line with his.  I assume that's because he took lots of breaks and I took almost none.

High points:

1. On the ferry I parked next to a NOAA vessel with this stupendous name:



2. They played December 1963 on the radio on the way in and Brick House on the way out, allowing me to indulge in dancing while driving.

3. Chilling out and reading Luis Sagsti's Fireflies at the 4300' bivy was stellar.  Though if you haven't read Sagasti yet, I recommend starting with A Musical Offering.  So good.

4. I found a fun 4th class way up the last bit to the ridge.

5. I saw lots of sooty grouse, though never could get a decent photo of one.  I did get one of my bivy companion however.



Low points:

1. South Brother is a choss pile—it would be way better earlier in the year when snow covers all that scree.

2. I failed to stop in Kingston for food, resulting in a breakfast that consisted of a moderately disgusting gas station bear claw.

3. I realized somewhere between 3600' and 4300' that I also failed to pack a pot, which meant no hot water, which meant a few handfuls of trail mix and an envelope of "lemon pepper tuna" for dinner.  I thought I had grabbed an envelope of "zesty lemon pepper" chicken, so doubly disappointing.  Don't pack and talk on the phone at the same time.




Medium point:

1. Summitting is always nice, but the views pretty much sucked:



Highest point of all:

1. Coming home to my sweetie who made garlic & olive oil pasta for dinner.  yum. 

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Yeah I’m guilty too and my excuses were pretty lame.  Yeah its better in the spring..  The views from the eastern Olympics were no better today… but Kiba got another summit.  You know, he could do this one. I’ll have to put it on his list.

I ended bagging on section J because of the fire and we hiked up Buckhorn via the Tubal Cain today. 19 miles but that section of trail once you get past the mine up to Buckhorn pass is belíssimo. Then into the clouds from there.



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15 hours ago, tanstaafl said:

I also failed to pack a pot

I know some long-distance hikers take a no-cook strategy that includes some hours of cold soaking their food. If this one says like 10 minutes with boiling/near-boiling water, then maybe it would work with like...6 hours of cold soak?

I'm sure there is someone here who knows the answer.

Glad you got out to the mountains even without a companion :)

Edited by Alisse
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True, Wayne Wallace would know; I remember he once did a Pickets traverse with no stove.  Didn't sound fun.  I've even had some *actually tasty* meals that are meant to be made with cold water (e.g., Mango Curry Chicken Salad by Pack-It Gourmet, yum) — but I knew I wouldn't be able to stomach that first thing in the morning even if it did rehydrate.  Thank God I took Pop Tarts for breakfast instead of something hot!

It was a good trip; I'm glad I went.  Sooo much better than sitting in front of a computer.  You appear to have been having a good summer as well!  Are you still funemployed?

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