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[TR] Ragged Ridge - Ragged, Cosho, Kimtah, Katsuk, Mesahchie 7/27/2007

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Trip: Ragged Ridge - Ragged, Cosho, Kimtah, Katsuk, Mesahchie


Date: 7/27-30/2007


Trip Report:

So have you named your car rat yet? James (jhamaker) asked as I sat down in the driver’s seat.


During our four day traverse of Ragged Ridge someone had been busily chewing their way through an apple, a bag of Maltomeal, a bag of chips, a Dicks Deluxe wrapper, and numerous other bits of detritus that had accumulated in my car over the past six months. It didn’t touch the Cliff Bar.


Most people who even know where Ragged Ridge is think of it as a desolate, snaggletoothed ridge of geo-shrapnel that towers over Fisher Creek’s north side; a baked, waterless hell fit only for black flies, tough little alpine weeds, and Bulgero-masochists. The latter tend to dispense with it as rapidly and, given their preference for south side traversing, painfully as possible; kind of like getting four impacted wisdom teeth extracted, sans nitrous. In fact, Ragged Ridge is one of the most scenic, varied, and unsung alpine traverses in the Cascades. The peaks themselves; Cosho, Kimtah, Katsuk, and Mesahchie, aren’t as nearly as rotten as their impacted wisdom teeth reputation would imply. They are so much worse.


We only traversed the dreaded south side to get around Cosho; the rest of the time we stayed on the ridge itself or on its more beautiful northern slopes. In summary, we ascended the Panther Creek trail from Hwy 20 to Fourth of July Pass, turned east and headed up easy forested slopes to gain the ridge itself, camping at the first tarn on its north side. The following morning we carried over Ragged Peak, dropped from its summit for a north side traverse to the col between Red and Cosho, traversed to the col just east of Cosho via the south side of the ridge, climbed the east ridge of same, and camped on a bench just below the col’s N side. There are bivvy sites at the col itself (great views, but no water). One day three we climbed Kimtah’s W ridge, packed up and traversed around Kimtah’s north side to a gravel flat at 6000’, put in a camp, then climbed Katsuk Glacier to the Mesahchie Katsuk col, where we made ascents of both peaks that afternoon. A little deadline pressure works wonders for us procrastinators. On our final day we traversed, descending northeast (getting through the cliff band near the Katsuk Glacier’s main outflow), followed creek beds to Panther Pass, and schwacked out the creek to the northeast directly to Hwy 20. One is advised to stay on skier’s left of the creek and in the old growth during this descent.


Ephemeral fog gave the trip an ethereal feel. It spiritually smoothed the edges from the billions of tons of loose rock we were pretending could not possibly rain down on us. As we began our final descent back to the world of Dodge Rams hauling their drunken coed cargos to Chelan, half eaten earplugs, Taco Bell, and 24 oz Tecates, our companion spirit totem finally dissipated in silent farewell into, well, the ether I guess.


There is no significant brush to get onto the Ridge from the west. Our happy surprise was to find that there isn’t much bushwacking on the Panther Pass exit route, either. Well, speaking for myself, at least. James and I became separated early in that descent, and while I was jogging through open old growth (photo) to a little Helen Reddy melody (Del-ta-a Dawn, why am I singing this stupit fuckin song?), I could hear James’ ‘Hay-oh!’ calls for his companion grow fainter and fainter as they became muted by the slide alder and willow on the opposite side of the creek. Sure, I felt bad…kind of like a bomber pilot watching his wingman go down in flames. It sucks, but it sucks worse if you’re the other guy.





Dapper Dan strolling the west end of Ragged Ridge.





Ascending the col between Red and Cosho.





Looking back on the north side traverse from the Red Cosho col. Ragged Peak is on the far end.





South side suck. The traverse to the Cosho Kimtah col.





Cosho cheese. Kimtah in backround.





Phlox. East ridge of Cosho.





Kimtah from our 2nd camp.





Approaching Kimtah.





West ridge of Kimtah.





Light cone. West ridge of Kimtah.





Groundsel. South face of Kimtah.





Meadow aster. South face of Kimtah.





The summit of Kimtah.





Mesahchie (left) and Katsuk from the summit of Kimtah.





The north face of Kimtah.





Kimtah summit cheese. Logan in the distance.





Lichen. Kimtah summit.





My own personal halo – wholly unearned. Sundog during the descent of Kimtah.





Lets shoot each other. Kimtah Glacier.





Mesahchie (left) and Katsuk.





The Shooting Gallery. Lower Katsuk Glacier.





Sun over Katsuk.





Over the edge. Rapping on two ice axes into the moat below the Mesahchie Katsuk col.





Black Peak from the Katsuk descent.





Glacial prusik attempt to get back out of the moat. We didn't have an extra day to kill, so I abandoned this method and free climbed out about 30 feet to the right of this point. Prusiks don't like to move upwards on two 7mm ropes.





Smokin crack. Katsuk Glacier bergschrund enroute to the Mesahchie Katsuk col.





Katsuk Glacier.





Annual layers. Katsuk Glacier.





Falls below the Katsuk Glacier.





"What?" Below the Katsuk Glacier.





Elephant's Head. Panther Pass.





Paintbrush. Panther Pass.





Parting shot. The four impacted wisdom teeth, left to right: Mesahchie, Katsuk, Kimtah, and Cosho. From Panther Pass.





‘Bushwacking’ out through old growth. East side of Panther Pass.





Gear Notes:

Lite axe, crampons, glacier rope. No rope needed on the peaks themselves. Moat at Mesahchie Kimtah col is an obstacle.


Approach Notes:

Go to Fourth of July Pass from either Panther or Thunder Cr trails, head up through forest to ridge top.

Edited by tvashtarkatena

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Probably the nicest set of pictures I've ever seen in a TR!

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We're all sitting around wondering what it would be like to not have a jorb and just going climbing and bushwacking all summer. Then someone who is living such a dream posts a TR and we drool. I'm making my plans.


Beautiful country out there! Great pictures too.


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That's some incredible footage Tvash. You should write a book, "My Summer in the Cascades." Muy bien compadre!

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I wish I knew the names of all the beautiful flowers that I see on the mountains like you! Thanx for sharing the pics and TR.


Don't listen to these naysayers.. don't ever get a job. Just keep climbing :laf: .

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Great TR and photos as usual.


Yer a busy boy, seemingly on track to catch John Clarke. Don't spoil it by going back to work...

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