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[TR] The Brothers - Lena Lake 4/10/2016

Lucas Norris

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I’d had my eyes on The Brothers since last July, but never managed to find the time. Weather and snowpack stability were looking promising for the weekend of April 8th, but potential partners bailed. Mindful of the bushwacking and route-finding difficulties I decided to abandon my solo ambitions. An evening of pizza and beer on Friday the 8th culminated in a 2AM decision that “if I wake up early and can’t fall back asleep, I’ll go to the Peninsula.” A text message at 730 for day hikes provided the perfect excuse. Tossed together an overnight pack, flew up I5 grazing on fast food and gas station burritos, and made it to the trailhead by 2.


Mea culpa to anybody who saw me on Saturday – I packed only a heavyweight base layer top and the Peninsula was sweltering, so I was shirtless. Maybe I was overcompensating for my total lack of facial hair. Either way, I was THAT guy.




Made it to Lena Lake within an hour and headed towards the climbers trail. Saw the last human for a good 20 hours at the second to last man-made bridge over the creek, so I had the Valley of Silent Men entirely to myself. Heart of Darkness was at the forefront of my mind, though I hate admitting that I'm more of a Marlow than a Kurtz. At least I haven’t got the body of Marlon Brando.


Consistent snow started around 2800 feet. I crossed the creek at the confluence and found a dry spot at the climbers camp, right around 3000 feet. I wanted to go further but didn’t want to deal with snow camping in the dark. Slept like a brick.




Got up at 330, hiking by 415. No moon. I had lost the pink ribbon route markers but knew that following the creek would take me to treeline. Made it to treeline by 5-ish and threw on crampons immediately upon reaching the snowfield.




Made it to the hourglass by 6ish, and went straight up it instead of staying right and avoiding it, like the GPS track showed. That was fun, but probably not the best decision for a solo gumby to take – the hourglass was covered in ice and required a little mixed-step move at the top of the chute. Nearing the summit I followed the left gully, which was almost entirely dry and full of scree that went raining down the slopes below. The last bit to the summit was steep, hard snow at probably 60 degrees. I followed the rocks doing some mellow 3rd/4th class climbing, then climbed up the rest of the steep snow step to the summit. Summited at 745.




I avoided the hourglass on the climb down and reached treeline by 930 or 10. Feeling relieved and confident that the climb was over I merrily crossed a melt stream… and completely yardsale’d in the middle of it. Axe in the air, both feet off the ground, totally drenched. Still have a huge welt on my back. Dick move.


Made it to camp, packed up, and got back to Lena Lake by noon. I was immediately greeted by a huge bonfire and two goons fighting around it. I paused to intervene and break it up... but Pol Pot’s mantra of “To keep you is no benefit…” flashed through my mind and I decided to let them be.

This brief flirtation with passive democide provided just enough disgust to propel me back to my wagon and into the endearing embrace of lukewarm beer and antifreeze fumes. Back to Portland in time to be a half-alive man at my friend’s surprise party. Score.


Approach Notes:


Don't forget sunscreen and sunglasses at camp. Try to quote Pol Pot more often.

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Hey Lucas! Sounds like the website took down your post, but it would be awesome if you re-posted a condensed version of your original report. I'm planning on doing brothers on May 8th and this is the only semblance of a report that I've found so far. Any information would be awesome!

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w00t! fixed this TR, please PM me anyone else having an issue and I can fix (just need to work with ya).


Jon and I need to have an emergency meeting of the clowns and get this shite fixed. I think I know what may be wrong, but need to work with Jonny Boy to fix.


Great TR Lucas. I stare at the Brothers every day on my runs in West Seattle and plan on getting up there again ASAP. Thanks for the stoke and conditions report.

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