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JonParker

[TR] Logan and Goode - Douglas and NEB 07/29/2022

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Trip: Logan and Goode - Douglas and NEB

Trip Date: 07/29/2022

Trip Report:

 

I wrapped up my 37th orbit with a loop from Easy Pass to Bridge Creek trailheads, climbing Logan via the Douglas and Goode’s NEB. Storm King was a low priority option going into the trip and didn’t make the cut.

 

I had the pleasure of excellent conditions interspersed with horrible shwacking and a death march to conclude it.

In many ways the timing couldn’t have been better for me. I sprained my ankle less than two weeks prior on the way to Fury. In the first hour afterward I was worried that most of my summer masochism would need to be cancelled, but hobbling back towards Luna camp, with vitamin I kicking in, I started to suspect the injury was not that bad. It swelled more like an orange than a grapefruit. I was game for Jacobs Ladder on Prophet the next day, which was welcome consolation for missing out on what I’m guessing was an awesome day for the NE Buttress of East Fury.

Fast forward to a few days ago, I haven’t tried foot jams yet, and would like to avoid them, but walking feels fine. So a route with endless blocks and ledges sounds like just the ticket. Just needed to not twist it again in the many miles of trail-less travel.

Besides my ankle I was also concerned about the heat. On the one hand I got away with not taking a sleeping bag. I always travel with a puffy and wool hat. I supplemented this with long johns and was just barely warm enough at night on a mat in a bivy sack. On the other hand, the heat obviously made things kinda brutal.

For beta and inspiration for this loop I used 

Hiking down easy pass to Fisher was pure joy. This was the location of one of my first hikes in the N cascades, probably 12-13 years ago, getting my denim soaked in the brush. It’s actually more breathtaking than I remembered, was great to be back.

The fisher creek crossing was briefly disorientating because there’s more water than land in the zone, with pools and twisty side channels everywhere. I gradually found my way moving south along the east side of the creek feeding into Fisher (presumably Douglas creek? I don’t see a name on the map). The ground was dry and relatively open and easy. There’s lots of huge erratics in this area.

As I approached the the “pill box” from the summitpost description I chanced upon dry stream beds that I followed upwards. The maple+alder made for good hand holds without getting in the way of my feet. I thought this might have been a shortcut vs the TR I referenced, but after topping out on the other side I found very thick and young evergreens and chest high brush. Progress was slow here but at it was another beautiful scene down near the creek. It’s hard to say whether or not I found the path of least resistance.

Finally free of the brush, I headed up snow and rock, trending right. I came across bear tracks in the snow and filled up at the last spot for flowing water that I could see. I arrived at the bivy col at about 6pm, which was later than I liked. But it was a good thing because it meant shadows were now extending down the Douglas, cooling it down.

Some of the crevasses are quite large. But there was a fairly direct path through them and I felt good about the firming snow conditions and the gentle angle (<30 degrees?). The swale at the top of the glacier is a really cool feature. Looks insurmountable at first, but I found an easy way on the right side. I then cut back left above one more crevasse to gain the ridge (a little steep here, don’t fall in). The scramble to the summit is pretty fun, good rock for a Cascade scramble. The views speak for themselves. I slowed significantly near the summit both ways due to some really stubborn cramps.

I carefully followed my ascent path on the way back down to the col, getting there just before headlamp time, with incredible purple views of Goode. It was a 12 hour day. Two pairs of eyes were reflected in my headlamp as I got ready for sleep, but they were far enough away that I couldn’t tell what they were.

I left the col a little after 6am the next morning. The TR I linked earlier had me expecting smoother sailing than the day before. That turned out to not be the case. Descending the basin above North Fork wasn’t too bad, though I don’t know if I was always on the easiest path. I wonder if the ‘magic staircase’ was flowing instead of dry, because I don’t think I found it.

The worst part was lower in the valley. I could find bits and pieces of a trail, but it’s very faint and overgrown. Occasionally I’d lose it and end up in the worst shwacking I’ve ever encountered. Walls of alder with a foot of water underneath. Feeling actually stuck. The other TR doesn’t mention this at all, so maybe better route finding makes this avoidable. I don’t think I lost more than an hour here but it was certainly terrible.

The north fork ford was only knee high but very swift, wasn’t easy. The route up to Goode glacier looks improbable from below. Pretty cool how it comes together.

The snow-rock junction is in good shape at the start of the NEB. It’s exposed and dirty getting up to the notch (took me a while to find a safe way) and the stone was burning my hands. But from the notch to the summit is awesome, and pretty well shaded. There’s a super knobby slab at the start. Unfortunately it doesn’t last long but what comes afterward on the ridge proper is solid, blocky steps as far as the eye can see. I was reminded of a slightly less steep version of the upper half of the NW face of Forbidden. As I climbed I couldn’t help thinking how surreal it is to be in the exact moment that you’ve thought about for years.

The ridge steepens at 8400’ and I hit one dead end, with about 10 feet of rock that was too steep and featureless for me to solo safely. I backtracked down the steep face to the left and found a bypass that allowed me to regain the ridge. As is so often the case with ridge climbs, there are occasional dirty ledges that can make sections easier, but the best climbing is on the ridge crest itself. Aside from this one bypass, I stayed true to the ridge the entire way to the summit.

I passed a party of two maybe ½ way up the ridge and other party of 2 just before the summit. I got there a little before 5, for a 10.5 hour day. The next party arrived shortly after and later in the evening the lower party arrived. Everyone was nice, we chatted about climbing and spent the time pointing at and naming all the crazy stuff you can see from Goode. We squeezed all 5 on the summit that night (one of the spots looked pretty gnarly, 5 is a tight fit). I heard there was a guided party that day too, so 7 people in all on the route that day.

I started to feel sick when I arrived at the summit. I think it was mainly due to the heat. This was a bummer but I gradually improved and took in the sunset, then the new moonset, headlamps down in the valley SW of Goode (night hiking?) and a couple of fuzzy shooting stars. The notions of up and down that climbers obsess over started to lose meaning while staring into space with hypnogogic mind setting in.

The next morning we all got a leisurely start. I started my day popping my head up for a view every few minutes in between a few last sips of sleep. I left the summit at 7am, just after one party started rapping. I downclimbed (5.4?) to the highest snow patch (plenty of snow on the route right now BTW) as I had run out of water. I melted some for a freeze dried breakfast then made my way skier’s right up a ramp leading to the notch.

It was here that I got to really test out my lightweight rappel system that I assembled after some online research (I did a short sanity check in town earlier). This was <$100 and shaved 3 lbs and I didn’t die. The second rap got me a ways into the firm snow finger on SW side of Goode. I used my light axe with a good bite (found on Quien Sabe some years ago), crampons strapped on to approach shoes, and my pole in the other hand. It was face-in downclimbing to some gross dirt-choss, then more face in walking backwards down steep snow.

I paused to look at Storm King and estimate time. I guessed that going for it would mean getting back to the trailhead around midnight. Realistically, if I wanted to climb it, I would have had to do the Goode descent the day before. But it was more important to me to enjoy the summit of Goode than to tag another choss pile, so I was happy with my decision to skip SK.

Maybe I was jaded from the shwacking the previous two days, but the way down the burn wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. I had downloaded somebody’s GPX and it was pretty helpful. I think this is another section that’s only semi-intuitive.

I thought I would find running water on the other side of Goode, but didn’t. I descended the burn around noon with temperatures soaring and my water run out. Probably downed a liter in couple minutes at the first stream back on trail. I didn’t keep track but I’m guessing I drank about 2 gallons of water throughout the day. I also had less than 1000 calories because my body wouldn’t tolerate the bars I had remaining (again, likely due to the heat). At the end of the day I think I counted 4000 uneaten calories in my pack (that should have been eaten). I guess I need to revise my nutrition strategy for trips like these.

The hike out is a blur given my nausea and the heat. Dipped at park creek (delightful!). The bridge at Bridge creek is another fantastic scene. One of many in this loop that I wish I had more time to savor (honestly, 4 days would have been more fun, though any exit from Goode seems inherently awkward logistically). I also remember one giant cedar on the trail, some cool bluffy terrain, and the suspension bridges were a fun surprise too. On the rare occasion of a cool breeze, I felt like I was drinking water through my skin.

I filled up one more time at the last major creek >8 miles from the road and met up with one of the parties I shared the summit with. Together we blasted out the next 5 miles, took a short break, then made one more push for the car. Even in my approach shoes my feet were just starting to get medium rare by the time the hike was finally over. I had a bike at Bridge Creek TH and a bike light, but since it was getting late (finished at 9pm for a 14 hour day) and I was depleted, I happily accepted their offer to drive me back to Easy pass. Thanks Hank and Steve!

Gear Notes:
Approach shoes, crampons, one axe, one pole, and a rappel setup worked for me, but this means unroped glacier travel and low 5th soloing.

Approach Notes:
Hard to say

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Edited by JonParker
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Damn I love the TRs that roll in this time of year. Another great one! Thank you for the story and pictures!

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That is a mega trip, solo, and slightly injured!  Thanks for the report and glad it all went safely.

What did you think of Jacob's Ladder?  I'm always interested to hear non-biased opinions!

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Jason, Jacobs Ladder is fun, great position. I do wish the rock were just a little cleaner but it’s not bad (until near the summit). I wouldn’t have sought it out on its own, think it makes more sense as a side trip in a longer foray, worthwhile if you’re in the neighborhood. Great views from the summit and it’s clearly the best way to get there.

Since I wasn’t planning on it I had no beta other than “class 3”. Didn’t know where to start, and the bushwhacking was tough for about 500’ vert but we found a better way on the way back with minimal thrashing. Thanks for sharing it, without that in my back pocket I would have had to sadhike back to the dock a day early.

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Great TR. your posts are always inspiring!
 

The Goode glacier is such a cool fucking place. Heck, the whole of that area is a cool place. 
 

We had the same exact situation in the descent. No water and blisteringly hot temps made for nausea and general heat exhaustion. 

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:lmao:  Yes, Jacob's Ladder is definitely not a "classic" in the classic sense.  And for us, the mystery of the unknown was quite enticing, and for sure clouded our view of the route.  But glad that it was a good diversion nonetheless!

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Five on the summit, dang! Thanks for sharing your adventure with us 🙂

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Great trip report!  The bushwhacking in that area is Grade A suffering that definitely builds character.  How is the rock on that side of Goode?  Kind of blocky with nice holds or more like a crumbly cookie?

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12 hours ago, Kuato said:

Great trip report!  The bushwhacking in that area is Grade A suffering that definitely builds character.  How is the rock on that side of Goode?  Kind of blocky with nice holds or more like a crumbly cookie?

 I'd say if Washington Pass rock is graded an  "A", then the N. Buttress of Goode is a "B-"  The most difficult part is generally gaining the toe of the ridge from the glacier, once you're on the ridge/buttress, it's pretty sustained blocky 4th and low 5th climbing. Obviously very exposed but relatively clean.  It's been a while but I don't remember any hard moves after making the transition to the ridge. 

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Yeah the step on east side at the base getting to the notch is unsavory though not terrible (I had one puckery move). Quality dramatically improves at the notch. You have to pay attention but I found generally quite solid rock all along the ridge from the first notch to the summit. I recall it being best near the summit, trusted it enough to downclimb to ledge leading to black tooth rather than rap.

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On 8/4/2022 at 11:32 AM, JonParker said:

Yeah the step on east side at the base getting to the notch is unsavory though not terrible (I had one puckery move). Quality dramatically improves at the notch. You have to pay attention but I found generally quite solid rock all along the ridge from the first notch to the summit. I recall it being best near the summit, trusted it enough to downclimb to ledge leading to black tooth rather than rap.

Last year, we had a kerfuffle in the same area - off the glacier but not around onto the ridge crest. Spent almost two hours going up and down choss, looking for a reasonable line. I finally committed to a footless mantle, but a tricam on the rack I was carrying lodged into a crack at my shin and prevented me from pressing it out. I had to reverse, clean the damn cowbell, and do it again. Grrrr.

My partner started slightly dehydrated and deteriorated when we went up and over the top. There was only one small snow sliver to melt on the upper mountain - and it was full of worms. We melted, filtered through a shirt, and drank it anyway. Almost tossed it back up again. The next day, my partner was stumbling from dehydration/heat exhaustion in the burn zone as we approached the Park Creek trail. So we loaded all of our gear on my back for the final miles down to the Park Creek campground. Of course, it was littered with deadfall that hadn't been cut yet. 

Good times!

Sounds like you had an excellent Cascades experience.

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7 hours ago, Rad said:

Last year, we had a kerfuffle in the same area - off the glacier but not around onto the ridge crest. Spent almost two hours going up and down choss, looking for a reasonable line. I finally committed to a footless mantle, but a tricam lodged into a crack at my shin and prevented me from pressing it out. I had to reverse, clean the damn cowbell, and do it again. Grrrr.

My partner started slightly dehydrated and deteriorated when we went up and over the top. There was only one small snow sliver to melt on the upper mountain - and it was full of worms. We melted, filtered through a shirt, and drank it anyway. Almost tossed it back up again. The next day, my partner was stumbling from dehydration/heat exhaustion in the burn zone as we approached the Park Creek trail. So we loaded all of our gear on my back for the final miles down to the Park Creek campground. Of course, it was littered with deadfall that hadn't been cut yet. 

Good times!

Sounds like you had an excellent Cascades experience.

Epic!

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