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Jamin

[TR] Dome Peak- Dome Glacier Route 7/1/2006

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Climb: Dome Peak-Dome Glacier Route

 

Date of Climb: 7/1/2006

 

Trip Report:

Dome Peak

After resting for about 5 hours but not really getting any sleep, I and my climbing partner, a cool guy named Bala, woke up at 4 am, got our gear together, and headed to the Downey Creek trailhead. The road is closed about 1000 feet before Downey Creek, and a ladder is used to access what is left of the bridge. Once on the other side of the bridge, we quickly found the Downey Creek Trail and reached Bachelor Creek in less than three hours. The distance found by plotting the trail on topo is six miles, but it is probably a bit longer due to uncharted twists and turns. The Bachelor Creek Trail, which begins directly on the other side of the creek, was in almost excellent shape at first, but because it is unmaintained, we soon found ourselves scrambling over quite a few blowdowns. The trail really was not all that bad, and I hiked the entire length of it in shorts. It did take a long time because it would twist and turn so much. At around 3500 feet we started going through a slide alder, salmonberry, blueberry, etc. type brushfield. At most places, the narrow tread was visible. The exception was at the footlog to the other side of the creek. At the creek crossing at around 3900 feet, there is a fork. One fork parallels the creek and eventually ends in the middle of a brushfield. The other fork crosses the creek on a foot log and heads up valley. We had to scout around for a few minutes before we actually found the trail on the other side of the creek. Once on the other side of the creek, there were a few places where avy debris obliterated the trail, but travel was not difficult until we reached the old 2002 avalanche swath at around 4600 feet. At this point, the trees on the entire hillside were obliterated as well as most of the trail. In a small way, it sort of resembled pictures of the Mount St. Helens eruption. The avalanche had swept down the hillside, torn the entire forest to splinters, and then went partway up the OTHER side of the valley. We headed up where the avalanche had scratched the hillside down to nearly bare dirt. We soon found a trail which we followed until I decided to merely head upward toward the pass to Cub Lake. After scrambling over many blowdowns, we reached a small valley where Bala’s altimeter said 5050 feet. He pointed out a green hillside that he said that we needed to go over. I was skeptical. The valley that we were in was uncannily like the hanging valley at the head of Bachelor Creek, which is at 5400 feet. I took a compass bearing and found that I was correct. We reached the pass above Cub Lake at 4:00, six hours after leaving Downey Creek. At the pass, I decided to attempt the traverse on the slope above Cub Lake because I did not want to lose elevation. We had traveled only about 500 feet before we encountered a sketchy section of rock. I crossed it, but Bala balked and said he did not want to continue the traverse. Because it looked like we would be doing some more rock, I decided to descend to Cub Lake, which is 90% frozen. I definitely think that this traverse is doable, but it will probably take more time than merely descending to Cub Lake. At the outlet of Cub Lake, we were able to see Itswoot Ridge. On the ascent of the ridge, both Bala and I were getting tired. We had already done 13 hours with 30-40 pound packs. As a result, we decided to camp on the ridge and get an early start in the morning. The next morning, we woke up at 3:50am, got our gear together, roped up, and were headed toward Dome by 5:00. The route was pretty straightforward, and we could see where we needed to go all the way to the Dome Glacier. One thing that is really important is that we gained the flat part of the glacier via a snow gully on the left-hand side of the icefall. We did not traverse beneath the icefall, which is recommended in some trip reports. Once on the flat part of the glacier at 7600 feet, we headed toward the obvious scramble route up the gully on the left hand side of the main Dome Peak ridge. The glacier was really not all that bad, but there were very few obvious crevasses. Most of them were completely covered by sturdy snow bridges, which will melt out later. It will definitely be more broken up and dangerous later in the season. Once we had gained the summit ridge at an estimated elevation of 8500 feet, we continued up to the summit via easy snow slopes. The ridge became steadily more exposed on the way up to the summit. With only 50 feet more to go, we came to a highly exposed section of rock. The main ridge appeared to be a knife-edge, which we would have to straddle to get up to the summit. The thought of having one leg hanging off into space did not appeal to me so I headed toward a crack that led up to the summit. At that point, I found out that it was overhanging and class 5ish. However, there were a few handholds on a fifteen-foot slab right next to it. To me, it looked better than the ridge, and I could see a rappel anchor in part of the crack. I figured that if I got to it I could merely rappel on the downclimb. Bala did not like the look of it and said that he was going to try to climb along the ridge. He soon discovered that there was an easy 4-6 inch wide ledge nearly all the way to the summit. It was not obvious from where we were. It was highly exposed class three, but it really was not all that bad. We rested on the summit and caught the views. It was an awesome summer day. I could see my nemesis Glacier Peak to the south as well as nearly every mountain within 50 miles. However, because we knew we had many miles ahead of us, we only spent 40 minutes on the summit. Several glissades and long traverses brought us back to our camp on Itswoot Ridge. We packed up and headed down fast. We hit the trail at Cub Lake and gained the ridge, but we soon lost the trail in a snowfield. We then merely headed down to Bachelor Creek through open forest, and hit the trail at around 4500. The rest of the trip was uneventful. We did meet six other people on the trail. All of them were taking four days to do Dome and several surrounding peaks. We did Dome in two. We eventually reached the car at exactly 10:00pm. It had been a long 17 hour day.

Stats: To Dome and back was 28 miles and 11000 feet of elevation gain. You can see the pictures here. http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=14969

Edited by Jamin

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Sweet. Nice TR. Congrats. Do you happen to remember what the Chikamin Glacier north and east of the summit looked like? Were there a lot of crevasses visible in it or was it pretty much a snowfield?

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The Chikamin Glacier is known to be heavily crevassed. We could see plenty of crevasses from the summit.

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Yes, sorry, I should have been more specific. I do know that about the Chikamin. Just more interested in your impressions about the relative state of it, particularly for an eastward traverse to get over to Sinister from the col. No worries though -- I'll just head up there and have a look.

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I would guess that at this time most of the crevasses would be totally covered. I definitely would rope up if I were you. I am sure there are plenty that you cannot see until you are in them. However, the snow bridges should be firm for the most part.

Edited by Jamin

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did NF of sinister this weekend. The Chikamin is no problem geting over to the route. Getting on route will start to get hard soon. SOme of the snow bridges I used are starting to get thin. Getting off Sinister via the Sinister/Dome cole will be a problem not too long from now. I would predict the snow bridge I used will be gone shortly. Fun route had a blast, good luck if you hit it.

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Thanks for the trip and the TR Jamin!

 

The exit we took on our way down (after losing the trail once we gained the col above the lakes) might actually be a good descent option.

Except for one place where we lowered ourselves about 6' over an overhanging rock face on to a decently big ledge (by hanging on to

tree branches), the gully was quite easy to go down (I did not have to use my hands too often). It helped us bypass the painful avy zone,

and we lost more than 1000' of elevation in about 45 minutes. I'm pretty sure we could've avoided that 6' drop if we looked around a bit.

 

It'll be a pain to go up this gully for sure though (especially with big packs).

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Proof that Dome is doable as a two dayer thumbs_up.gif

When we did it a few years ago that brush in batchlor creek was very thick in later season. Thanks for the TR.

TTT

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Glacier Peak is my nemesis because I failed on it in 2004. My brother and I were planning on doing the disappointment cleaver route. We reached the trailhead at 5:00 pm and reached White Pass at 11:00 pm, where my brother proceeded to start vomiting. The trip deteriorated from there.

We did Dome in two days, but I would recommend three to anybody who wants to try it. Most of the time I was too tired to really enjoy myself.

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I think we were right on your heels. I lost my camera on the hike out from Itswoot ridge to the hike up to the pass that starts Bachelor Creek if anybody happens to turn it up.

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We did Dome in two days, but I would recommend three to anybody who wants to try it. Most of the time I was too tired to really enjoy myself.

 

I suggest doing Dome from Cascade Pass but give yourself a few more days. laugh.gif

That = one trip (downhill) through Bachelor Creek. tongue.gif

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