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Alisse

[TR] Cashmere Mountain - West Ridge 7/10/2016

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Trip: Cashmere Mountain - West Ridge

 

Date: 7/10/2016

 

Trip Report:

With a good chance of real precipitation, Andy and I decided to hike/scramble Cashmere Mountain off the 8-Mile Lake trailhead on Sunday. We went over Blewett Pass and as we rolled through Leavenworth, the rain was coming down onto puddled streets.

 

However, when we got to the trailhead around 8:30am, there were only intermittent spitting drops. The hike in was pleasant and uneventful. Andy did it in Tevas and didn't put on boots until we reached the ridge. The trail is in good shape with a few spots of the brush encroaching on the trail, so we didn't get too wet. Beautiful area! It would be even more beautiful on a clearer day!

 

As we gained elevation, up through burned forest, we got to experience some great wildflowers -- mostly lupine and indian paintbrush. Andy was extremely happy. FLOOOOWERSSS! The views on the ground made up for the lack of views out far away, as the clouds were very low... we had discussed taking the more direct variation off-trail on the south slope, but with probable low visibility, we decided we'd probably stick to the standard ridge walk.

 

Once we got to the ridge, the wind picked up and we could see ..not much. Very low visibility!

 

There were a few patches of fairly flat snow that were fine to cross without traction or getting out the axe. No issues with moats, etc.

 

There is a pretty solid path and then several cairns (but not too many) and we found our way to the summit without much difficulty, around 1:00pm. Fun little scrambling bits and no views at all, totally socked in. We actually weren't completely sure that we were on the true summit until Andy spotted the USGS marker thingy. We couldn't find the summit register.

 

On the way down, we somehow got down the wrong ridge/drainage and ended up on the northeast side of things, with some steep/stiff terrain behind us. I think that we came down on the north side of the west ridge (the route does come onto the north side for a bit), and then were turned around with the increasing visibility and kept going, crossing another ridge/drainage to the northeast.

 

Instead of trying to get back over onto the southwest side of things, we decided to follow the drainage we were in (unnamed, east of Lake Victoria) toward the northeast, down to Icicle Creek, see if we could cross to the road or bushwhack along the creek to the bridge, and then walk or hitchhike back to the trailhead.

 

I'll just say that the bushwhack down 5,000+ feet of elevation was fantastic, that I love slide alder, and I'm happy to report no puncture wounds. It was really beautiful to be there, with a much more wild feeling with no trails, finding our own way and not knowing if our route down would go. We wore our helmets the entire way FOR EXTRA SAFETY. When we finally got down to the Icicle, we opted not to risk fording it (we found some calmer but deeper sections that looked enticing) and continued bushwhacking and following goat/game trails all the way to the bridge.

 

A very kind and badass group of three women who were going back to Car #1 after an Enchantments traverse gave us a ride to our car -- THANK YOU. Our car-to-car time was still under 12 hours, which we had seen in a few trip reports from people who descended the "right" way...

 

My own lessons:

- pay more attention on descents, particularly if the ascent is in very low visibility

- make sure one's GPS device is charged...(I had my InReach but its battery was completely dead -- not sure how that happened)

- (Obvious) make sure you have a quality map (I had taken pictures of the maps but they were not sufficient for route-finding -- we did have compasses though, and Andy's phone worked as a GPS)

 

Approach:

IMG_06501.JPG

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IMG_06572.JPG FLOOOWERS!

 

Ridge:

IMG_06721.JPG

 

Scramble:

IMG_0674.JPG

IMG_06762.JPG

 

Descent, as the weather improved..

IMG_06811.JPG

IMG_06863.JPG

IMG_06941.JPG

IMG_0689.JPG

IMG_06971.JPG

IMG_06952.JPG

 

A good day.

 

Gear Notes:

We brought crampons and axes but used neither.

 

I wore approach shoes and they were fine for the snow.

Edited by Alisse

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That's impressively turned around! Amazed that you were as quick as you were down that old burn.

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My handlers recommend I wear my helmet all the time.

Cool pictures, looks like a nice time up there!

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