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Morning Star Bushwhack

 
Morning Star Bushwhack

Page Type: Trip Report

Location: Washington, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 48.00388°N / 121.49081°W

Object Title: Morning Star Bushwhack

Date Climbed/Hiked: Jul 13, 2012

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling

Season: Summer

 

Page By: Josh Lewis

Created/Edited: Jul 23, 2012 / Dec 24, 2014

Object ID: 801900

Hits: 1430 

Page Score: 74.92%  - 5 Votes 

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Introduction

This was perhaps the most difficult peak of the Mountain Loop Highway that I have ever done. The trip ranged from bushwhacking to snow climbing and ended with steep dirt near the top. Thunder storms were predicted in the forecast which even with this factor this was our best shot at Morning Star.

After getting back from Colorado my buddy Gimpilator invited me on this trip which we had been wanting to do for many years. The weather in the morning was mostly clear with a few scattered clouds.


Morning Star Video created by Gimpilator

Bushwhacking to Morning Star

We started out at the Sunrise Mine trail and hiked .3 miles to the Stillaguamish River. After this the trail began to slowly fade away as we started hiking into bushes. I don't mind casual bushwhacking, but once it gets to the point where I'm constantly getting cut up it starts to get out of hand. As we hike towards Del Campo Peak, the sticker bushes start up as well as the mosquitoes. Eventually I decided to put on gaiters to protect my legs. An hour and a half later we break out of the sticker bushes and cross the Stillaguamish River.

Gimpilator heading into the Brush
Heading into the Brush
Lower Portion of Big Four
Lower Portion of Big Four
The Enterence for Morning Star
Entrance for Morning Star
Sperry Peak s East Face
Sperry Peak's East Face

Gimpilator crossing a Log
Gimpilator crossing a Log

We passed by the "House Rock" which is where the entrance gully up Morning Star is. Thank goodness the bushwhacking gets much friendlier on the mountain itself. After a few minutes the gully forks which is when we head left. There was a few times I fell due to the slick rocks and bushes.

The Upper Mountain

About 2 hours from when we crossed the river we arrive on the snow which slowly traverses south and marks the end of the bushwhacking. I was very happy to be on snow as well as being able to get views of the surrounding peaks. As we arrive onto "Morning Star Basin" we see a large forming thunder cloud. Gimpilator and I are not quite sure whether to turn around or not. If this was a casual outing I would be totally fine with going back. But we endured quite a deal of bushwhacking and to have to turn around when were almost there... hmmmm. I then proposed the idea of waiting it out.

Morning Star Basin
Morning Star Basin
Thunder Cloud Building
Thunder Cloud Building
Gloomy Atmosphere Above
Gloomy Atmosphere Above
Tree Silhouette
Tree Silhouette

As we wait on a rock we hear the booming of thunder and see dark clouds heading over. A moment later it begins to rain which we throw on our jackets. Not too long later it stops and the clouds pass which gave us an opportunity to proceed for another hour or so until the next storm came in. From here we went up the rest of the basin and up the first "gully" to a saddle. From here we went down a little ways to enter into the second gully.

Gimpilator heading Up
Gimpilator heading Up
Cadet Peak s West Face
Cadet Peak's West Face

The second Gully
The second Gully

Further up the gully it begins to rain but fortunately no thunder. The snow ended at the top of the gully which we took off our crampons. At this section I used veggie belays to climb up. I got a bit stuck in a tree because of how thick they were and only one spot was safe for crossing them (Gimpilator took a better route here). After this came the crux of the climb.

Below us was steep terrain and cliffs making it necessary for us to be as cautious as possible. I decided to put my crampons back on which Gimpilator joined me. There were not very many good holds (bushes) so the crampons into the dirt was most of our traction. I used my ice axe to high dagger the dirt for a few holds at one spot. After we got past the crux it was an easy walk the rest of the way to the summit.

Looking down near the Summit
Looking down near the Summit
Glacier Peak and Sloan Peak
Glacier Peak and Sloan Peak
Three Fingers from Morning Star
Three Fingers Mountain
Gimpilator heading Down
Gimpilator heading Down

Vesper Peak with Snow and Light
Vesper Peak with Snow and Light

Sperry Peak s South East Face
Sperry Peak's South East Face

Heading Down

After spending a while on the summit we carefully climbed back down the crux which was much easier on the way down. I avoided the tree area to prevent me from getting stuck again (especially with crampons on). The weather was cooperating well by this point. The rest of the way down the upper part of Morning Star was plunge stepping with a little bit of down climbing. Once we were back in the bushes I kept my crampons on to prevent myself from slipping. Once we crossed the river it was back to the bushwhacking though sticker bushes. It went on for what felt like hours which thankfully I had an ice axe to move some of the sticker bushes. There were times were we found the trail and then would loose it again. Eventually we arrive back into the woods and then on trail! Oh how it was so nice to be back on trail. Then it was an easy walk back to the car.

Looking down towards the Valley
Down towards the Valley
Oh No! NOT AGAIN!
Oh No! NOT AGAIN!
Morning Star during Evening
Morning Star during Evening
Tiger Lillie in the Valley
Tiger Lillie in the Valley

Del Campo Peak late in the day
Del Campo Peak late in the Day

Although experiences like this can be a bit miserable at times, it really makes one appreciate the luxury of trails and for the folks who donate there time to maintain them.

Images


Comments


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Viewing: 1-4 of 4    

EastKingAnd to think I almost was on this trip!!

EastKing

Voted 10/10

Doctor appointment prevented me from joining you. I was very scared for you both up there when that day a thunderstorm ripped into Seattle. Glad you both had an awesome adventure.
Posted Jul 24, 2012 3:21 am

Josh LewisRe: And to think I almost was on this trip!!

Josh Lewis

Hasn't voted

Looks like it worked out for the best this time around. Hope your feeling better. I'm currently taking a break from bushwhacking. ;-)
Posted Jul 24, 2012 4:21 pm

gimpilatorNice Report

gimpilator

Voted 10/10

Thanks for joining me on this climb. I was so happy to get this peak, even though the bushwhack gave me scars.
Posted Dec 4, 2012 11:44 pm

Josh LewisRe: Nice Report

Josh Lewis

Hasn't voted

Thanks for inviting me. There's a reason I went a little slower. I can put up with getting cut up, but I do my best not to get scares!
Posted Dec 13, 2012 11:30 am

Viewing: 1-4 of 4