Getting Locked in at Spider Gap

Page Type
Trip Report
Washington, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jul 11, 2010
Hiking, Scrambling
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Getting Locked in at Spider Gap
Created On: Feb 23, 2011
Last Edited On: Dec 24, 2014

"We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character." -Henry David Thoreau

This trip took place just after climbing Glacier Peak, but right before climbing Mount Rainier. The trip started when Joanna wanted to head over to Cloud Peak via Spider Gap which it sounded like a fun trip, how could I decline any trip?

Philips Creek Trailhead Panorama
The View from the Trailhead

Mount Maude s South Face
Mount Maude's South Face from the Trailhead

Michael and I were picked up from our house to the Mount Maude Trailhead. The hike started out nice and easy, until we encountered a big creek, which already I thought "oh boy!". Joanna crossed most of it, although had some trouble near the end, Holly fell in which I just so happen to get a video of. The rest of us carefully crossed it.

Creek Crossing
Creek Crossing

Philips Creek Trailhead View
Soft Clouds Above

Then we decided to throw in some logs to help make it easier for going back as well as helping others for river crossing. Without the logs, it was quite deep in some places. After this we had more casual mostly flat walking along, until we got to a very big creek, this time getting my feet wet seemed unavoidable. After throwing rocks in, attempting to make log bridges, it proved to not work so well. I found one sketchy crossing which was a single jump, but very swift and deep if I fell in. Joanna told me to just take the safe crossing and take off my shoes.

Big Creek
Big Creek Crossing

Entering the Basin
Entering the Meadow Basin

Genius Peak
Genius Peak

Michael Pushing a log
Pushing a log Over for the Snow Bridge

Looking South
Looking South

Philips Creek Basin View
The Basin View

Philips Creek s Flowing Water
Flowing Water from Philips Creek

Getting across we were worried about Holly, but fortunatalry we managed, if it were worse, it's possible we would have had to bail on the trip idea and go some other place. After a few more miles of flat trail walking we reach a meadow which I assume is called Spider meadow. It was a nice place with many flowers as well as some wild life. After crossing the meadow we got to the next crossing zone which now looked too dangerous for Holly. As we searched around we found a snow bridge. Ihave to admit I felt nervous about the idea, but we threw some stones on it, and it seemed solid enough. As we dashed across it we could hear the rushing water under the snow bridge.

Clearing in the Sky
Clearing in the Sky

Then we head into the forest which was the beginning of the switch backs. Ironically it was easier for me to deal with the steeper sections than it was on the flatter stuff, I suppose the group slowing down had an effect on that. After crossing the last switch back, it was all snow from here on out. The rest of the way up went uneventful. Once we got to the pass, there was a lot of wind, but at least the views were very nice. Joanna and Michael decided to turn around by this point because not only was there no good camp spots ahead, but also we had a Rainier climb coming up real soon. I'm glad I stuck with there decision on this one.

Waterfalls near Spider Gap
Waterfalls Near Spider Gap

Joanna heading up to Spider Gap
Heading up to Spider Gap

Way out there
Way Out There

Sun Spots Below
Sun Spot Below

The Lit up Trees
The Lit Up Trees

Seven Fingered Jack from Spider Gap
Seven Fingered Jack

Spider Gap Panorama
Spider Gap Panorama

View Below Spider Gap
The View Below Spider Gap

Plummer Mountain
Plummer Mountain

Dumbell Mountain
Dumbell Mountain

Cloudy and North Star Peak
Cloudy and North Star Peak

We dashed on down with a few glissades, Holly as usual jumped on us. Once we got to the bottom we saw some campers who had a fire rolling, which we considered would be a great idea for later. As we came back to our favorite crossing spot (the snow bridge) I could tell it was weaker, and there was a snow hole that had not existed before. I had a feeling of being locked in, but Michael and I find a good spot on the snow bridge and make a wild dash across. From here we heard squeeking marmots and a walk through the meadows. We arrived at camp fine, although I was annoyed with the mosquitoes. I guess that's what you get for camping near water.

Holly Attack!
Holly Attack!

Holly and Mount Maude
Holly and Mount Maude

Looking East
Looking East

Joanna with Mount Maude and Seven Fingered Jack
Joanna heading out

Squeaking Marmot
Squeaking Marmot

Snow Bridge Crossing
The Snow Bridge Crossing

The Edge of Dumbell Mountain
The Edge of Dumbell Mountain

At Camp Joanna made some tasty pasta and such as we watched the clouds roll over the mountains. It was amazing to see how the clouds would constantly build up in the horizon, cover up much of the sky, and just roll away. The pattern kept repeating for a while, at times you would wonder if it was going to rain, but it kept clearing up and clouding up. As we were enjoying our hot food, a deer came for a visit. It was nice to see one up close in the wild, as it walked away a few more came out. Holly was doing quite well until the deer started to dash away, then Holly came out in a hurry and chased it completely away. It was fun to watch.

A Visitor Comes to our Camp
A Camp Visitor

Tasty Dinner
Tasty Dinner!

Then there was the wood that would not light. This fire is legendary in my mind, no matter how much kindling, grass, and flame that was put on the fire, it just would not catch on fire. I went into the woods to get the most dry piece I could find, we used Joanna's stove as a blow tourch and it would not light. I've been taught in boy scouts how to make a fire, and for some reason this was not the right kind, or perhaps it was some how wet on the inside, but if that were so why wouldn't the outside burn? Eventually after about an hour we give up on it.

Sunset on the Edge of Dumbell Mountain
Sunset on the Edge of Dumbell Mountain

Night Visitor
The Visitor Returns

Evening from Camp
The Evening

Morning View
The Morning View

That night we slept well, by morning there was a light rain which we were glad we were not way up on the mountain. Heading back was calm, with a few jumps from mini snow bridges. Once we got to the big creek again we took off our shoes, by now my feet were soaked. Crossing the second creek was easier this time due to the logs we had placed in. And from here we got to the trailhead, everything seemed all fine and dandy... until we got on the road. As I was drinking my Mountain Dew we all were stunned to see a large tree completely blocking the road. "Bloody Hell were stuck!" Joanna exclaimed as we stopped the car. It was a long ways to get to the nearest town, fortunately Joanna had her satilite phone which she called some friends and asked what to do. Joanna joked to me saying "You always bring out the drama don't you". Mean while Michael and I decided we should attempt to chop it in half.

Bloody Hell!
What's this in the Road?!!!

Attempting to Cut the Log
Attempting to Cut the Log

It was way to big to be carried even with all of us lifting, I could move it perhaps 1 inch at most, but then it would be impossible for me to turn it. After a while of chopping, I tried prying with my ice axe, which did break off big chunks, but then suddenly my ice axe ads was bend. "Woooops" I laughed as I tried bending it back, fortunately it did bend back although it is not quite the same as it was before. For some reason I call for the same thing, I use my ice axe shaft to pry out the wood, that too got majorly bend. "Oh no, not again". I bend it back in shape, then suddenly a ranger on our side of the tree came rolling in. As I go out to greet them I go under the tree and bang my head. "Let's not try that again". The rangers then made some phone call and they were sending help for us.

Rock Paper Scissors
The Ranger Happy to Win

By now Michael and I quit chopping because it would have taken perhaps all day to chop it with our ice axes. As we were waiting someone approached from the other side of the tree. My brother Michael notices him and asks him "How long have you been here?". He replies "Well, God made me about 70 years ago" which we all laughed at that one because that was not what Michael meant. Then he drove away, came back a few minutes later and said "oh, forgot to get a photo of you poor fellers". After a while longer the rangers finally came in like an invasion. One of the guys dashes out of his truck with a big chain saw. It got it running and chopped the tree in half in just seconds! Then they chopped more of it up, and rolled the logs away, within less than 5 or so minutes they had the whole area cleared. My appreciation goes to the rangers!

The Log Getting Cut
Rescue Finally Arrives

The rest of the way home went pleasant, with some nice views. Once again a very fun trip, a day later I went out to go climb Mount Rainier.

Mount Index through the Fog
Mount Index on the way Home


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Matt Lemke

Matt Lemke - Feb 24, 2011 12:16 am - Hasn't voted


I was there a month after you. However we didn't get to Phelps basin on our trek. Nice write up though.

Josh Houser

Josh Houser - Feb 24, 2011 11:20 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Nice...

Thanks Matt, I wanted to go up Cloud Peak but was turned around by "bad weather" plus I had a Mount Rainier trip the day after the last day on this trip.

Viewing: 1-2 of 2

Getting Locked in at Spider Gap

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