Trip StatsYDS Class: 2-3 (crux is the bootpath not the summit scramble)
Total Elevation Gain: 4500 feet
Route Challenges: brutal (though marked to follow) bootpath, gully, snow traverse, Class 2 summit scramble
Equipment Needed: Ice Axe, Helmet, Crampons
After hearing the news that my Shuksan trip was cancelled I was bummed about the thought of my July 4th holiday without a summit. Magellan, Gimpilator, Braveheart (nwhikers.net) were all without Shuksan, a mountain we were looking forward to and were lost. Magellan suggested Bedal, a gem in the Mountain Loop Highway and all of us jumped at the chance. Bryan came along and we were set for a good Four of July adventure. Bedal offers everything; a steep (though well marked) and sometimes scary bootpath, a gully climb, a traverse on a snowfield and a fun Class 2 scramble to the summit (with options to make it Class 3 or 4).
We hit the bootpath early and it start out just after the 100 yard walk on the road. The bootpath is clearly the crux of the trip!!!!No warm up here!! It goes straight up and makes trails like Mailbox Peak look like cakewalks. The bootpath hits a number of interesting scrambles. The first time side traverse scramble here on the trail about 1/2 mile up wakes you up. There is a second boulder scramble at 4200 feet but this is easy and provides the first hint of the amazing views that are coming. The bootpath continue at a relentless pace up until you hit a stream. It then turn left and descends in elevation. We crossed a stream where we did or first snow crossing and then the hardest part of the trip comes up.
Take note here!! The bootpath skirts along the side of a wooded cliff here and then climb up steeply with poor footing. Yes it is tree covered but if you slip here and fall there is good chance for injury. Braveheart actually slipped on the worst spot due to the loose dirt but maintained enough balance not to fall or the trip clearly would have been over.
We continued the ascent up the brutal bootpath until we hit another snow gully. This one we ascended. Though my shoes had a hard time sticking to the Cascade Concrete, it was clearly better than that brutal bootpath. I just need to buy new shoes for the next round. Up the gully we went until we reached the top of the ridge. We made a left at the top of the ridge.
At that point we looked at Bedal and I was clearly thinking "Class 2 or class 5.2". But Magellan navigation from past trip reports was the key. We traversed around the summit block on a snowfield (maybe be permanent but no major crevasses) and on the other side was the simple Class 2 scramble to the summit. I was a little winded from trying to balance on the snow gully due to my shoes not preforming well in the snow and probably should have broken out my crampons on ascent (I had them with me). Plus that memory of the bootpath fresh in my mind didn't make me feel comfort when I finally made the summit.
But we celebrated our victory of the summit. And views were amazing. The Mountain Loop Highway is simply like staring at heaven. Sloan was the close neighbor to the south, Glacier Peak dominated the northeast (I might attempt it if I can get a good crew together) and Rainier pops out to the south as well. Plus there are ton of others that pop out. Without question one of the better views I have seen in my life period and well worth the struggle. After an hour of brownies, birthday celebration and making plans for Sloan Peak, it was time to head back down.
The snow had soften nicely making for good snow for every mountaineers favorite part of the trip; the glissade. Gimpilator lead the way down the mountain and setup most of the glissades. It was fun getting a couple of great glissade and took away from the thought of that nasty bootpath down to the car. Brent and Bryan got by far the fastest glissade but used there well practiced ice axe skills to stop them before becoming seriously out of control. It clearly was fun riding.
But of course after all that fun came the payment. It was time to hit that nasty bootpath down the mountain. No speed demons here. We headed down slowly on the trick spots and took our time to get back to our car. I was probably the slowest at this point due to being cautious. We took our time and made it safely back to the car and knocked off yet another beautiful mountain. I might do it again sometime but with so many other mountains on my list, it will be a while. It was yet another great trip and though it wasn't Shuksan it was clearly more than worthwhile.