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[TR] Mt Bretherton and Mt Lena - North Ridge for Bretherton and straight up Lena 6/25/2016

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Trip: Mt Bretherton and Mt Lena - North Ridge for Bretherton and straight up Lena


Date: 6/25/2016


Trip Report:

I climbed Bretherton and Lena this past weekend from Upper Lena lake.


I left Friday afternoon and after a ferry wait and etc I didn't get to the Lena trailhead till 8pm. I had a 5$ reservation to camp up at the upper lake so I decided to get up there that night. I strapped my climbing boots on to my pack so they would kick me in the head every time I pitched forward and forgot to put my FS parking pass on the rear view mirror, and then I headed up. Ran into family of 5-6 goats well before the lower lake, down pretty low for them it seems! I made to the lower lake before sundown, and was able to make it up above the "rock steps" of the upper lake trailhead before it was so dark I had to break out my flashlight. Made it to the upper lake at about 11:30.


I slept in Saturday and then headed up to Bretherton. For the North Ridge route, before you get to Milk Lake you take the ramp on the left side of the false summit up to the ridge top. As you climb up that you have awesome views of East Lena, The Brothers, and the Constance group.



Luckily I took pictures as I hiked, because that area became socked in once I got to the summit.



On the ridge top you san see into the interior of the Olympics and right across to Mt Stone.


The alpine traverse from Stone to Lena sprawls out right across the valley.



On the ridge you drop to the left a bit to circumvent some rock and then on the right side of the ridge there are ledges up to the summit. There are a couple of ways of doing it, I may have regained the ridge to soon on the first drop down to the left, but it wasn't bad...in fact pretty fun. The last ledges on the west side of the ridge up to the summit were fun too, and then you're there.




At this point the Brothers were socked in, but the view out to Rainier was nice and the sea of clouds. To the south the mountains came in and out of view.




I decided to descend via the south end of the Milk Lake cirque so I could go down and see the lake. A couple times I thought maybe I should have just went down the way I came. The rock was loose and there were big blocks just waiting to go, but grabbing on to brush I was able to get down safely to a snow finger which I downclimbed and then made my way down to the lake.


Over all, I don't know why anyone would do anything other than the North Ridge route (unless you're coming over from the Putvin side). The rock it terrible and unless you're solo, its gonna be treacherous. And the views along the North Ridge are awesome. I would honestly just replace everything in the Oly Guide book with this North Ridge description.


I spent the rest of the day down at the lake sitting in a chair I brought up and reading this book about the Leyte Gulf battle in WWII.


The next morning I got up early and headed up the cherry plumb line I scoped on Lena heading up from the NW corner of the lake. I did a brief bit of Slide Alder Yoga and right before leaving that I paid my respects by fertilizing the alder with my morning constitutional. To my dismay someone had already plucked the line up Lena, flagging led the whole way...straight up and then to the left to get to the top. I'm not sure why you would flag that, but there it is. The views from the top of Lena are really awesome. All my favorite peaks....the Brothers, the Constance group, Mt Stone, my new favorite Bretherton....the Pershing/Washington/etc mass to the south. Views up north and to the west...awesome. Not to mention Mt Rainier, Adams, and St Helens...and Baker to the north. Could even see downtown Seattle. I had the place to myself.

















After a while, I decided to head back down and out to spend the afternoon with my son before he grows up and moves out. This was my 5th weekend in a row up the Olympics...the place where I grew up, hiking trails in the Scouts and leading kids out there a week at a time when I worked at Camp Parsons. All those peaks are old friends now, but there are still a bunch of them I haven't visited yet, so I have a lot to look forward to it this summer and beyond.


The trail down was a lot more pleasurable during the light of day, its a nice hike.





Gear Notes:

crampons and axe where nice to have for north ridge bretherton.

trekking poles nice to have for lena scramble.

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Sweet! I'm glad you got up both of those. We actually were socked in almost all of Saturday up at Harrison Lake so you had much better weather. We had killer views from 5345 though across to Constance and the Brothers in the morning though!

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I see that Lena is also referred to as "Mt Baldy" which is a name used by another peak on Grey Wolf Ridge...or maybe that one is just referred to as "Baldy" or "Baldy Peak".


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Great pics! If I knew my Olympic mountains better I might have been able to get a pic of Mt Lena from Mount Anderson on Sunday morning, but alas I only recognize the more obvious peaks at this point in my explorations.

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Nice, did you get up it? What way did you go? I do want to hit that one this year, but I just want extra time to go up West Peak and hang out up there (more than a 2 day weekend would provide).


This is looking northwest from Lena towards Mt Lacrosse, Anderson, White Mt, etc. I believe Elk Lick is on the right.



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That's a nice pic of the Anderson massif and good shot of the snow on the east/southeast face that I took on my way down. I ended up climbing the West Peak on Saturday and Mt Anderson proper on Sunday with a bivy at Flypaper Pass. TR posted!

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