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[TR] The Brothers - South Couloir 5/7/2016


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Trip: The Brothers - South Couloir


Date: 5/7/2016


Trip Report:

Got off work at 4PM on Friday, left Seattle for the Edmond's Ferry at 5PM, and boarded the 7PM ferry bound for Kingston. After a quick McDonald's stop, we were on our way to the Lena Lake TH. Began hiking up the Lena Lake trail at 9:30 PM with our headlamps. We reached the lake at about 11 or 11:30PM and kept chugging along to the climbers trail. This is where things got interesting. The climbers trail, as we were told, is filled with blow downs and washouts. Combine that with hiking in complete darkness, and it took us until 1:30AM until we reached the climbers camp. The climbers trail is relatively well marked with pink tape, but again, these were at times difficult to see due to the darkness.


We woke up at 6AM and started climbing up from the climbers camp at 7AM. The weather could not have been any better. Hiking through the burn/avvy washout was not very fun, but once we were on the snow it was smooth sailing. Be careful when selecting the correct gully to start up. It is the northwestern-most gully that heads basically due north. There is still a very decent amount of snow up there. There were boot paths that were relatively easy to follow in the snow, although they were mostly melted out. I would imagine we were the first ones up there in 3 or 4 days.


Snow conditions were perfect for kicking steps. We had our crampons but did not need them. My group (3 of us total) ended up leap-frogging another group of 2. At about 5000 ft, when the steepness began to increase, we combined forces and decided to rotate step kicking. Didn't take us much longer to reach the base of the summit scramble, and were at the top by 11AM. We were not alone at the top, as two goats began stalking us up the mountain at about 5500 feet. They were within 10 ft at times, making things a little unnerving. However, whenever we made any kind of motion towards them, they made sure to get out of our way.


After an awesome summit lunch, we were on our way down. Glissading was simply amazing. It took us 4 hours to get to the top and only an hour to get back down to our camp. We had another short break, then began hiking down the climbers trail toward Lena Lake. Turns out this trail is WAY easier to follow in the day time...funny how that works. It took us about 3 hours to get from the climbers camp to the car, arriving at 4PM. After a quick beer at the Hood Canal Brewery, we were back on the ferry headed home to Seattle.


Overall, a great trip with no issues! Hope to be back in the Olympics sometime soon!




Gear Notes:

Mountaineering boots, ice axe and crampons are necessary for this time of the year. We didn't end up using our crampons, but it was very warm. Had it been overcast or 10 degrees cooler, crampons probably would have been required. We did see one group going up as we were going down who had a ton of pickets. There's really only one section that has any exposure, right before the base of the summit scramble, but this section is not hard as long as you know how to properly use an ice axe and go slow. I guess pickets might provide some mental assurance, but unless you're doing the traverse, I would say unnecessary.


Approach Notes:

Pretty mellow approach. Climbers trail past Lena Lake had lots of blow downs, but route finding was not difficult (in the daytime). Hiking through the burn/avvy washout to the base of the climb kind of sucked, but other then that, this is a pretty straightforward approach.











Edited by cgolden123
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Ok, I may have exaggerated when I said 'a ton of pickets' :) Regardless, better to have them and not need them then need them and not have them. Glad you guys had decent weather on Sunday. Our original plan was to drive up Saturday and summit Sunday, but moved it up a day due to the weather forecast.

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