"In the Begining, there was the Ross Lake Boat ride...
This is the fourth trip into the Northern Pickets. What began several years ago for a single goal of Mount Challenger,which failed three previous times, evolved into numerous combinations of Picket adventures. This trip was a total success! From Ross Lake, Access Creek, Luna Col, East Fury, over to Challenger and out Easy Ridge to Hannegan Pass and the Mount Baker Highway that we are living close to and very familiar with living in Whatcom County. Weather was cooperative, with one storm to give us real concern after we had summited East Fury while tenting at Luna Col. However, weather cleared again on the fourth day and Challenger has also gone into our history books. What a trip.
Finding Access Creek
Nick and I find Access Creek and cross Big Beaver Creek with some concern we had it right. First time at this spot and super huge blunder a few years back exiting McMillan Creek drainage from Luna Col, we were anxious to establish we had our bearings correct. Turns out...no problem-o. Steady up and views became apparent. Progress was being made.
The climb was long, but straight forward. Leave Luna Col, find the ledges, cross the right side of point 7308, find the "gully". Up and down, reread the copied guidebook instructions, keep going. The weather and views, birds, flowers, routefinding were consuming us. Water was abundant, terrain was reasonable. We were enjoying ourselves immensly. The summit came a little late, but we did it!!! Pay attention to the descent, can't hurry and be safe. By the time we got to the "gully" to climb back to point 7308, we pulled our our headlamps. The final ledges back to Luna Col allowed us to see others had come to climb Fury as well. Turns out they were concerned about our whereabouts, reading our permit on the our tent. When they saw our lamps coming, they boiled up water for us to rehydrate our dinners! Thank you guys very much. Only snow to melt at Luna Col and we were already running low on fuel. They later gave us another small canister of fuel for the rest of our trip, so they saved us twice with fuel. This third night the wind started and rained seriously. We had one summit, but what about our move to Challenger the next day? We would see. Morning of the fourth day, July 22 was not good, but better than the night. We had to pack and get going go Challenger Arm. We would later learn our friendly team that gave us the fuel would not summit Fury as they hoped. The weather was not good for them. We were in and out of rain all day on our way into Luna Basin and up to Challenger Arm for our next objective: Challenger.
"As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life - so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls."