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cluck

TR - What Were We Thinking – A Tatoosh Sufferfest

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..... Not trying to chestbeat too much here, just want to share my experience from this weekend. bigdrink.gif

 

 

******************************************

For some incomprehensible reason, my buddy and I decided it might be a good idea to try the Tatoosh Traverse…in one day. For our purposes, this traverse consisted of a dozen peaks – Eagle, Chutla, Wahpenayo, Lane, Denman, Plummer, Pinnacle, Castle, Foss, Unicorn, Boundary, and Stevens. Roughly 20-25 miles and 10,000 feet of elevation over uneven ground with almost no trail to follow. We had been to the area several times before and already climbed half of these peaks, so we weren’t concerned with our ability to navigate successfully. However, this traverse is traditionally completed over 2 days and we wanted to do something special.

 

The Goal:

We decided it would be sufficiently insane to try to do the traverse in one push without stopping for the night. After reaching the far end of the traverse, we would ride bikes 15 miles along the road back to the starting point. The goal was to complete the loop in less than 24 hours.

 

Logistics:

Since we would be riding our bikes back to the starting line exhausted and at night, we decided to start at the low end of the traverse (Longmire) and cache bikes at the higher end (Snow Lake trailhead). This afforded us a mostly downhill return. We stashed the bikes late Friday night, and set up camp in the last spot available in Cougar Rock campground (about 20 feet from the toilets). The plan was to catch a couple hours sleep Friday night and begin the traverse from Longmire early Saturday morning to be on the ridge by sunrise.

 

Let the Suffering Begin:

3:30 AM the alarm goes off – time to get to work. After a little flailing trying to locate the trailhead, we started the timer at 4:35 AM and hit the trail. The 4-mile trudge up the Eagle Peak trail flew by in a blur and we were scrambling up Eagle peak as the sun came up. Shortly after Chutla fell and we were bushwhacking off in search of Wapenayo. It too succumbed without much of a fight and we continued on. After a short stop to refill water, rest, and chug Cytomax and Gu, we were off again in search of Lane.

 

We started passing day hikers as we neared Pinnacle and Plummer peaks. We ignored most of them, but stopped and chatted with groups on a couple of occasions. After confessing our plans, we were usually met with looks conveying a mixture of concern and confusion.

 

We bagged Pinnacle, Castle, Foss and continued on toward Unicorn as the evening approached. Unicorn is the most interesting of the peaks and we wanted to save that for last. The plan was to get Boundary and Stevens peaks, and then backtrack to Unicorn and head out via the Snow lake trail. The sun was setting as we reached the summit of Boundary peak and we eyed the route down to the saddle of Stevens peak. It didn’t look good. The best option we could see was a very long bushwhack around the south side of Boundary and down a steep headwall to the saddle. Then we’d be faced with an interminably long slog up the west ridge of Stevens peak. The idea of doing this in the dark with completely wasted bodies didn’t sound reasonable, so we decided to focus on getting up Unicorn and back down to the road. Climbing the spire on Unicorn in the dark was interesting but not too difficult. We took the last summit photo of the day and rapped off the spire, grabbed out packs and then rapped again down the headwall to Unicorn glacier. Without crampons, we had to traverse around the glacier on talus and boulders.

 

The descent to Snow Lake was torturous as our exhausted minds and bodies tried to balance on loose boulders. Eventually, we made it to the Snow Lake trail and then dragged ourselves back to the road, arriving shortly after 11:00 PM – 18 hours 36 minutes since we left the car. A couple of Red Bulls cleverly stashed with the bikes provided the necessary energy to pedal our way back to the crest of the Nisqually Basin and it was a nice downhill coast for another 45 minutes back to Longmire. We reached the car about 12:30 AM Sunday morning –official time: 20 hours and 9 minutes.

 

Reflection:

While our goal was to bag all 12 peaks and return in under 24 hours, we were quite pleased with ourselves having gotten 11 out of 12. The more important point of the exercise was to take our bodies and minds to the limits of exhaustion and see if we could continue. Several times we thought we were finished, but a short rest and a snack always brought us back to our feet. We learned that with enough Cytomax and Gu, you can push yourself almost indefinitely.

 

 

 

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Nice effort.

Here's a suggestion should you try it again. Leave a car at Longmire and get someone to drop you off at the Snow Lakes trailhead and then start the traverse from Unicorn. You're at least heading sort-of downhill. I've done it a couple of times that way but even still it kept me busy for a number of hours.

Steven's Peak is kind of remote and practically an all-day trip in and of itself.

 

- Dwayner

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Dwayner said:

start the traverse from Unicorn. You're at least heading sort-of downhill.

 

Yeah, that was our original plan before we decided to complete the loop on bikes. We realized that if we biked from Longmire to Snow Lake it would be like 12 miles uphill and 3 miles downhill. That sounded like a total suckfest after such a long day. So we decided to reverse our route and end with a short uphill ride followed by a 45 minute coast back to the car. Much better way to end the day (and a nice way to work out the lactic acid in our legs)

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Cluck, I think we were one of the groups of dayhikers you ran into, just under Plummer. We did our traverse over to Eagle in about 5 hours on a nice leisurely pace. Glad to hear it turned out well for you. Shoulda stopped by "The Lodge" for the Roast Pig. It was mahvelous!

 

See Ya! wave.gif

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catbirdseat said:

Three friends of mine did nine of those peaks on September 9, 1999. The total elevation gain was about 9,000 ft.

 

Hey, that would be me. thumbs_up.gif We did the 9 because of the date in 18 hours. It was a good pace but not to fast.

 

Try 1 peak in each National Park in the State of Washington in 18 hours. The same 3 of us did that in 1998. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

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Doug said:

Cluck, I think we were one of the groups of dayhikers you ran into, just under Plummer. We did our traverse over to Eagle in about 5 hours on a nice leisurely pace. Glad to hear it turned out well for you. Shoulda stopped by "The Lodge" for the Roast Pig. It was mahvelous!

 

See Ya! wave.gif

 

 

Oh yeah.... I remember you guys. Visions of you guys enjoying yourselves in the lodge scarfing down succulent roast pig plagued our thoughts all evening. Thanks, jerks. rolleyes.gif

 

 

Just kidding..... I'm glad you guys had a good time.

bigdrink.gifbigdrink.gifbigdrink.gif

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Try 1 peak in each National Park in the State of Washington in 18 hours. The same 3 of us did that in 1998. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

 

what about the highest peak in each park? done that one? i hear an epic push calling.... yellaf.gif

 

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Mt. Goode, the highest peak in North Cascades National Park--would be the most difficult to complete the triple play. After all, it's one hell of a long approach and then class 4/5 to get to the summit by its easiest route. Impossible. hellno3d.gif

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wazzumountaineer said:

Try 1 peak in each National Park in the State of Washington in 18 hours. The same 3 of us did that in 1998. thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

 

what about the highest peak in each park? done that one? i hear an epic push calling.... yellaf.gif

 

We decided that the peaks had to be at least over 6000 ft. The gain needed to be at least 2000 ft. Can you name them?

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klenke said:

Mt. Goode, the highest peak in North Cascades National Park--would be the most difficult to complete the triple play. After all, it's one hell of a long approach and then class 4/5 to get to the summit by its easiest route. Impossible. hellno3d.gif

Rainier, Olympus and Goode in three consecutive days is not impossible. I assume the time would start at the first trailhead and end at the third summit. Assuming the trips are self-supported, folks could still have a driver with a van (bed/crash pad equipped). Still sound crazy/impossible? How about adding an alpinist paraglide rig? Self-supported, baby, and one fast-ass descent. wazzup.gif

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Pencil: you missed a crucial point in the suggesting post: to be done in 18 hours, not 72. Still, even in 72 hours it would be a logistical and bone jarring nightmare.

 

But, really, who gives a rip? I suppose we can all come up with some speed ascent idea (climb from the lowest to the highest point in each park in under 30 hours or something stupid like that). It's all just inane chestbeating as far as I'm concerned. And this site tends to make people act that way. I don't really care that people feel compelled to take on these experiments and then rush to tell us about it (like doing Olympus in 18 hours or what have you). Are you trying to prove something to us? That you are hardcore? That we should idolize you?

There, my rant for the week. I feel much better now. wave.gif

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klenke said:

Pencil: you missed a crucial point in the suggesting post: to be done in 18 hours, not 72. Still, even in 72 hours it would be a logistical and bone jarring nightmare.

 

But, really, who gives a rip? I suppose we can all come up with some speed ascent idea (climb from the lowest to the highest point in each park in under 30 hours or something stupid like that). It's all just inane chestbeating as far as I'm concerned. And this site tends to make people act that way. I don't really care that people feel compelled to take on these experiments and then rush to tell us about it (like doing Olympus in 18 hours or what have you). Are you trying to prove something to us? That you are hardcore? That we should idolize you?

There, my rant for the week. I feel much better now. wave.gif

 

faq off... i smell penis envy. calm down hommes. how about try this: congratulate someone on their accomplishment even though it may not be your "cup of tea." it is what they are into, so HCL.gif.

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Norman_Clyde said:

Oly NP: Mt Washington

MRNP: Pinnacle or Castle Peak

NCNP: Hannegan Peak

 

In that order, or the reverse.

 

Oly - no

RNP- Got one right

NCNP - no

 

On the TT we did not include Deman because it was not much to do so we did the 9 from Eagle to Unicorn. I'm sure the whole Traverse could be done in 24 hours.

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Norman_Clyde said:

Oly NP: Buckhorn?

NCNP: Sahale? confused.gif

 

Are you that interested?

 

 

Mt. Angeles

Pinnacle Peak

Hidden Lakes

Not in that order.

 

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I'll say what has to be said...any "speed mountaineering" challange that includes, in any way, transportation via car/bus/plane/whatever in between is fucking stupid. I mean, seriously, you really want to congragulate some guy who drives the highway in between two peaks at 2am doing 120mph more than the guy who gets stuck in some mid day traffic and averages 45mph??!

 

If you really have to contrive yourself up a goal that bad, get a clue and find something else to do.

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Cluck,

 

I'm not around a map at the moment...Foss?? Is that the little bump between the Castle and Unicorn? It must be, according to your description. Guess the folks I know who've done the traverse, haven't included that one (guess I didn't know it's name). They've traversed it on the N side, and then into the top of the Unicorn chute.

 

Like Dwayner said, I'm not sure I remember anyone doing the traverse...including Stevens. I think he's right...it's easier to do it from the Snow Lake trailhead...then start up Unicorn from there. That way there's a 3,000+ descent to Longmire. Would guess mid-June is easier and quicker...when there's a lot of snow linking up the peaks. There's lots of short cuts, boot skiing and glissading to be done to save time. But...you're style is definately better than those I know who've only done it one way...and not the loop with the cycle finish.

 

Didn't realize the snowfield up there on Unicorn was considered a "glacier." Thought it was just permanent snowfield. I'm probably wrong. Is is listed on a map as such?

 

Nice work there Cluck. Good on ya!

 

bigdrink.gif

 

 

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