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layton

Worst Approach, Worst Descent

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Worst approach: Probably the Goodell Creek approach to the Pickets, at least in 1987 when we went in.

Worst descent: Bob is right about J'Berg East Ridge then CJ Col. It took us a long time and was really stressful. Also, Bedayn Couloir on Goode was very tense in places.

That's my two cents.

Juan

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Is the bushwhacking any more heinous anywhere in the USA than in the Pacific Northwest (excluding the Alaskan panhandle)?

Those of you from the desert/southern states, if you've never hiked cross-country in Washington on the west side of the Cascade Crest, you have no idea just how bad the bushwhacking can be. It's a world unto its own and takes a special breed of climber just to have the guts (nerve?) to willingly flail through it to reach the goal.

And is there any more sublime a joy than to come upon that eventual alpine clearing after a couple of hours of non-stop bushwhacking?

There are valleys in the Cascades that NO ONE ever ventures into if they hope to come out again. Sulphur Creek is one such example.

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quote:

Originally posted by klenke:
Is the bushwhacking any more heinous anywhere in the USA than in the Pacific Northwest (excluding the Alaskan panhandle)?

New England & the Adirondacks have some pretty nasty brush near treeline. The spruce grow into a dense impenetrable prickly mass, and you may suspended 10 feet above the ground in a 45 degree slope of this. That's how I remember it sometimes being anyway.

It usually doesn't last too long though, so probably still not as bad as a valley full of devil's club and slide alder.

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Devils Club gets a bad rap. I'd gladly hike through a forest of Devil's Club it it allowed avoidance of an alder thicket.

For a truly heinous approach, try Luna Creek into the Pickets. This was once a recommended approach (in the old Routes and Rocks book).

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quote:

Originally posted by klenke:
Is the bushwhacking any more heinous anywhere in the USA than in the Pacific Northwest (excluding the Alaskan panhandle)?

I have done some whacks through manzanita in the southern Sierra range that rival the worst I've seen in the Cascade range. It is a hardwood, so there is little give and the branches are sharp as tacks.

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One nice thing about the PNW is that there is no poison ivy north of Olympia (or so I've read). So, for the most part, in the N. Cascades you can bushwhack to your heart's and leg's content without having to worry about a rash from poison ivy or oak.

Also, on the Puget Sound side of the crest there are no rattlesnakes.

And Devil's Club (aka Bear Club) versus Slide Alder? Hmmmm, that's a difficult one. Often to me it seems the Devil's Club takes you by surprise and you get pricked grabbing it unintentionally. Slide Alder is always a barrier you see coming (more or less) that you have to cross.

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What about all the huckleberry thickets in the Olympic x-country bushwhacks? Impassable. I think their alder is the worst too. I used to work on a commercial thinning crew contracted to the DNR out of Forks. Loads of fun getting to the jobsite.

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Ascent: probably the trip in to Hozomeen N where my partner broke his leg.

Descent: south face of Silvertip. watch out for that slot canyon if you follow the creek. prepare for horizontal traversing along 70 degree slopes of blueberry thickets and moss for a few kms.

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Worst approach : Primus Peak ... Diablo Lakes Wilderness. Park at Diablo(?) campground and walk in 6 miles on the trail along side Thunder Creek. Take a right over a bridge and climb 5500' vertical cross-country through "Doghair trees" so tight that you can't get you and your backpack between them (THUNDER RIDGE -- named by Pioneers who undoubtedly would have rather been killed by a giant clap of thunder than climb up and down that crap). There were pine needles everywhere (down my shirt, in my hair, stuck in the mesh on the waistband of my backpack [there's still some in there to this date]) on a hot 90+ degree mid-July day. Swarms of gnats who only like to fly up climbers' noses waiting behind each and every tree. The trail is so steep that if it were any steeper, you'd need your crampons to give you traction on the dirt (or a system of elevators). Routefinding is nearly impossible because the terrain is so steep and rocky (the descent was worse). Cliffs everywhere and you can't see them until your right up on them because the brush is so dense -- thank God for GPS!!! And did I mention its steep???

Worst Descent : Primus Peak, Diablo Lakes Wilderness. Coming down Thunder Ridge was the toughest 5 hours of my life. Not too many people get up to Primus Peak (we were the 3rd party to climb it in a one year period) so following remnants of footsteps to aide you in routefinding was fruitless. The trees (affectionately dubbed doghairs by some poor cascade climber) grew so close together that I was often forced to remove my backpack to walk between two trees -- or find another path (although sometimes, removing my pack was the only option). We must have encountered 20 cliff bands descending those 5500 vertical feet to Thunder Creek. Each time we encountered a cliff band, we'd have to backtrack to find another route. When I got to the creek bottom I had numerous open blisters (I never get blisters) I was exhausted, dehydrated, and it was just getting dark. I had just descended from the summit of Primus Peak (8508') to about (2500)' (6000 vertical feet). My climbing partners decided they were too pooped to get out to the car and it was getting dark, so they began to set up camp. I, fearing I wouldn't be able to get out of the tent the next day due to my blisters and soreness, and knowing I still had a 6 mile trail walk back to the car, began to hobble back towards the parking lot. It got dark fast and I only had a 2 "AA" cell MagLite to light my way. I was in EXCRUCIATING pain from my blisters and was forced to walk on the sides of my feet to make any progress. I was dehydrated, delirious from a combination of dehydration and severe exhaustion, and wanted to get back to the van. About 4 miles in, I considered collapsing right there in the middle of the trail until the next morning when my climbing partners were due to hobble by. But somehow, I managed to push the last couple of miles following a vision of a warm, comfortable van.

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Here Here!MountainMan gets both the award for Worst Approach and Worst Descent.

He's the first MountainMan to win both awards since...(insert your best/worst friend here)

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It seems like the descents are usually more epic than ascents.

Worst Descent: Descending the N. Brother after a failed traverse attempt (from the North to South peak) due to 100' visibility and sleet. One guy talked the other two of us into descending via the great basin which you can see from Seattle, instead of going out the way we came in. There is only one way down through all the cliff bands; we eventually found our way after searching for 5 hours in the rain, sleet and wind.

Honorable Mention: Using Rat Creek to descend from the Enchantments is worth avoiding - we'll stick to Toketie in the future.

I haven't tried Johannesburg, but I've never heard a story about a good descent off this mountain. Has anybody ever found the "obvious" trail/ledge system/whatever that Becky mentions in CAG?

-Mike

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Hey Mike, thanks for the Rat Creek warning. A couple of times I was going to use it to get to Cannon Mountain.

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quote:

Originally posted by rayborbon:
Maybe not the worst but a huff and puff off the beaten path is Toketie Creek drainage............ Check it out!

Amen, brother. Amen.

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The jungles of the yucitan, mexico. I was told by one of the locals "there over 100 species of snakes in this jungle, 90 of which are deadly poisonous" I slept in 2 tents, one inside the other! (everyone lauphed at me) When I woke up in the morning I saw snake tracks all around the tents! shocked.gif" border="0 Not to mention the 6" scorpions! What a hostile place. If the critters don't kill you, the machete toting locals might.

[ 03-27-2002: Message edited by: Charlie ]

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quote:

Originally posted by Charlie:
When I woke up in the morning I saw snake tracks all around the tents! :eek

[ 03-27-2002: Message edited by: Charlie ]

I'm kind of curious as to what the footprints of the snakes looked like.

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Going down Mt. Si in my plastic boots with tons of people going up and blocking your way. The worst is when people run down the trail in their tennis shoes and almost knocking you over. rolleyes.gif" border="0

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I used to run down those trails too. That is where I met Daniel. I was the gaper wanting to know about Forbidden Peak and Alaska climbing. Still have not done either grin.gif" border="0

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quote:

Originally posted by JERRY SANCHEZ:
Going down Mt. Si in my plastic boots with tons of people going up and blocking your way. The worst is when people run down the trail in their tennis shoes and almost knocking you over.
rolleyes.gif" border="0

JERRY, GET THE HECK OUT OF THE WAY. IT IS BETTER TO RUN UP AND DOWN THAT MOUNTAIN IN RUNNING SHOES THAN YOU OR OTHERS IN PLASTICS!!TTT shocked.gif" border="0grin.gif" border="0shocked.gif" border="0grin.gif" border="0

[ 03-28-2002: Message edited by: To The Top ]

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A 2nd vote for Rat Creek. I recall one especially memorable section of bus-size talus with the floor between the blocks covered with devil's club and slide alder sweeping over the tops. [hell no]

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quote:

Originally posted by Dru:
I'm kind of curious as to what the footprints of the snakes looked like.

They appeared to be wearing size 11 boots with vibram soles [Moon]

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Coming out of N. Pickets in socked-in conditions we ended up in the MacMillan (sp) Creek drainage. We had dropped a couple thousand feet before realizing our mistake and decided to go for it. Turned out to be an even worse mistake. We figured that we made all of about 3 miles that day most of it traversing through slide alder, stepping from branch to branch with big packs. No wonder Fred says, "Do not descend MacMillan Creek."

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I would have to aggree with you Michael.....Mt. Slesse's approach and descent is a real bitch and a half. Especially when you use a stick for an ice axe on the Damn Pocket Glacier. And a child size bicycle waiting for you on the south side of the peak. The only thing that would make this approach and descent worthwhile would be a A-star Chopper provided by the RCMP.

MOON

Thanks to whomever left the bottle of Vodka on pitch 16......the only thing that made it a NA classic. grin.gif" border="0 rink

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Toeless,

I thought the descent was a mother ***^*& too. Amen on the shitty bike as well. I bought mine last minute in Chilliwack [big Drink]

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