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Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

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Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby Murph1 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:11 pm

Ever found yourself three miles from a road thinking will this brush ever end? I can't take much more of this, you say as your pack hangs up on another slide alder, and the Devils Club is burning up your legs, or you go knee deep in to an ice cold Northwest River. If you have, then you have been somewhere in the North Cascades which is difficult to get to.
Wondering if any of you have a candidate for the toughest place to get to in the North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness ?

My personal pick is Pioneer Ridge.
The bushwack and river wade up Baker River leave climbers wishing they had stayed home in bed. Azure Lake certainly is up there on my list
What is your candidate for the hardest place to get to in the North Cascades? Despite its bone jaring potholes and mud lakes the Chilliwack River Road does not qualify in my survey! :)
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby JohnDittli » Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:33 pm

You picked a dusy with Pioneer Ridge, though there are easier (albeit longer) ways to get there. Azure Lake isn't so bad from Elephant Butte. Little Chiliwack Lake, Crowder Pass, Mox Peaks, Mt Prophet, all stand out for me.

JD
NOCA Climbing Ranger '81-'92
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby mountainsandsound » Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:24 pm

Boston Basin with a Saturday night camping permit?
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby Buckaroo » Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:31 pm

Northern Pickets

10 + miles from the trailhead, river crossings, mandatory 2 mile long thick bushwack
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby powderjunkie » Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:09 pm

welcome John. Love your photos.

Only been in the Olympics, but I will plug this accomplishment for my bros Kyle and Scott.

http://blog.firstascent.com/2012/08/17/ ... ett-range/
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby Norman » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:26 am

http://www.summitpost.org/bushwhacks/205484

Or the most difficult places to get out of in the North Cascades?

This album needs some new stories and photos.
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby Marmaduke » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:05 am

Soul of the Heights by Ed Cooper has some stunning photographs of the area and he speaks to some climbs he did that were pretty amazing. I don't recall specifically the peaks but his book is worth picking up.
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby Murph1 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:54 am

Norman:
I enjoyed the Grading System in your post!
I am looking for the shot I took coming off of
Stetattle (Sourdough) Ridge in a lightning storm several years back. It was fogged in and I misjudged where the Sourdough Trail made its last switchback heading down to Diablo. Make the descent of the 45 degree slope covered in salal and thin Alpine Fir in a series of spectacular tumbles and slides down all 4,000' to the Stetattle Creek Trail. Neather hail, lightning bolts or wet undergrowth can deter a climber who know a dry bed, clean clothes and an Irish Whiskey awaits him! Had I gotten seriously injured on this one no one would have found me since in the "Good Old Days" SAT Phones and Beacons were not invented and I was coming out after five days solo in the Southern Pickets. I classify this one as a B-5 A A meaning airborne part of the bushwhack! :)

powderjunkie:
I grew up in the Olympics. My first climbs and backpacks were there. My most difficult bushwacks there would be the Queets River Basin by way of the river, Mt Lincoln "Trail" to the top of said peak, and the Mildred Lakes from the Hamma Hamma River.
Suspect by now, with all the use the Olympics get that all of these are not nearly as bad as when I did them in the 50's, 60's, and 70's.
In the late 1990's I decided to hike in to Royal Basin an area I had been to twenty years earlier. My first trip there I saw exactly two backpackers in three days. On my 90's trip I counted nearly 100 people spead out in the basin. Looked like Yosemite Village. :o Made a quick exit and have only been back once since that time to the Olympics. Just too many folks out there for my taste. :(
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby Wastral » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:20 am

Honestly, the Pickets have such easy traverses anymore due to tons of beta and fairly well boot defined trails, especially the North Pickets. At most one is looking at an hour of bushwacking(maximum on access creek) unless utterly out of shape or completely dumb as one descends into avalanche country without looking first. Poster upthread said Pioneer ridge, hmm Ok, haven't been there but looked at going and it certainly is surrounded by horrific slide alder except there are easy ways to it that don't require bushwacking. On that same theme:

Hardest place is White Rock Lakes via the South Cascade River. 14 miles of Hell, when you thought it was supposed to be trail. 40 years ago it was trail. Now its just brush, brush, brush, down tree, down tree, down tree, and there is no stinking trail. Oh don't forget the 3 mile burn zone turning everything black.

Hardest Bushwacking isn't in the North Cascades. Coast range either in BC, or Washington Coast. Been there, makes N. Cascades brush look like a walk in the park. One can always find insane brush if they look, but generally not on any climbing routes to a main peak in the cascades.
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby Murph1 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:43 pm

Wastral:
I agree that getting to once difficult places in the North Cascades is now easier, and the North Cascades can't be compared to Vancouver Island or the British Columbia Coast Range for true bushwhacking at its "best'!
With plenty of sources to verify easier routes much of the difficulty in getting to places in the North Cascades and Pasayten Wilderness have been reduced . In the late 60's I knew two climbers who summited Mt Truimph and Mt Despair and on the way off the mountains decided it would be faster to make a quick descent to Goodell Creek and follow the river out to the trail on their 50's map. Two days of crawling downriver finally got them to the "trail'. They were not happy campers! :(
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby Wastral » Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:48 am

Yea, works like this: Dense forest = easy minus cliffs. Any opening avoid at all costs under 4000 feet.

Then your "friends" got written up in Becky's Bible. =0

I have found the amount of devils club in the cascades is far less than that of the coast mountains and is one of the main reasons its not as bad. Throw in far less moss as well ... Though in some regards the moss helps cushion the blow when you go tumbling. =)
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby Josh Lewis » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:20 am

Wastral wrote:At most one is looking at an hour of bushwacking(maximum on access creek) unless utterly out of shape or completely dumb as one descends into avalanche country without looking first.


That is such bologna. Although I admit that Luna Peak was not as bad as a bushwhack as most people made it out to be. However it is still worse than most of the higher peaks of the Cascades. One hour? Uhmm... perhaps an exaggeration here? I am by no means out of shape even by climbing standards. I'd also say I'd navigated the route spot on avoiding the maximum amount of bushwhacking. I suppose the 1 hour argument works if you count the beginning, a few spots on the way, and the ending slide alder later on. But I'm pretty sure I was getting bushes and branches in my face between. :wink:

As for the worst, and I mean the worst bushwhack I've done was on Jumbo Mountain. It does not get much worse than what I went though in the following picture:

Image

(Trust me, it's much worse in real life. It took me about an hour to go 200 or so feet)
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby Murph1 » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:58 pm

Although I have not been there I suspect Elijha Ridge and Gabriel Peak across from Ragged Ridge may be one h... of a bushwack. Has anyone on the net been there using Panther Creek Trail as the approach? I know several climbers on the net have been on Ragged Ridge opposite Elijha and would know if there is any "easy" access to Elijha Ridge.
Another difficult place to get to I have not tried, but heard about, is Lost River Gorge off of the Monument Trail in the Pasayten.
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby Wastral » Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:35 am

My 1 hour was the "horror" parts. Slide alder/Avalanche chute Hell. Normal I wasn't counting. Obviously it takes far more than 1 hour to get from the Beaver Creek trail to the Head of Access creek. 1 Hour of brush Hell will get about 1/4-1/2 mile under my definition. =)

Helps explain it? Ah semantics.

PS. I grew up in the woods, so my definition of "brush" is quite more extreme than everyone else's generally. Many consider anything off trail as a horror. Bushwack rating system would be B3 and above of "bad".
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Re: Most Difficult Place to Get To In the North Cascades!

Postby Josh Lewis » Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:42 am

Whew. I thought for a second you meant that anyone who did not get to the Luna base camp in an hour was slow. :lol: :wink:

I'm becoming increasingly used to bush whacking. It wasn't that bad, but I admit the more trips I'm getting scrapes all over my arms, the less I'm wanting to do it. The only difference is that I put up with it more.
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