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neek
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neek
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PostWed Jul 15, 2015 9:41 am 
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Sometimes you get a thing stuck in your head and just have to do it even if it doesn't make much sense.  This hike was one I had planned for years, and circumstances finally aligned for me to skip work yesterday and go for it.  The weather was perfect for hiking, and amazingly there were no bugs to speak of.  Not a trace of snow.  Everything went more or less as planned.  It was a long hike with about 8K ft gain but I took my time, ate lots, took lots of pictures, and felt pretty good at the end.

Oh, the route.  Everyone knows of the "back door" approach to Rampart Lakes and Alta Mountain.  I figured instead of turning off to Alta, one could go straight to Lila Lake, head up and over what I will call "East Alta" for lack of better name or elevation marker, head cross country for two miles to the PCT, and then take one of the standard Chikamin routes.  Here is a link to the route, very rough, don't load this into your gps.  On the way in, I more or less followed the ridge that crosses what is labeled "Alta Pass" on the map.  Met up with the PCT, turned left (heading toward Mexico, but really north at that point), and hit Chikamin from the south/west side.  Then, descended the other way to Glacier Lake, back to the PCT heading toward Canada (south!), to upper Park Lake, then back into the basin that leads to East Alta.

7:00 am start, 9:10 pm finish, no headlight required.  So weird to have long days AND no snow.

07:31 The tricky step getting around Lake Lillian
07:31 The tricky step getting around Lake Lillian
08:05 Leaves turning red already?
08:05 Leaves turning red already?
08:24 First look into the Rampart Lakes basin
08:24 First look into the Rampart Lakes basin
08:29 Monkey flower
08:29 Monkey flower
08:38 Crossing the stream that is usually a torrent at this time
08:38 Crossing the stream that is usually a torrent at this time
08:44 Blueberries exploited my fatal weakness during this hike. They were omnipresent practially the whole way, and at peak tastiness already
08:44 Blueberries exploited my fatal weakness during this hike. They were omnipresent practially the whole way, and at peak tastiness already
08:45 Grass
08:45 Grass
09:07 Dried up pond on the way to Lila Lake
09:07 Dried up pond on the way to Lila Lake
09:22 Lila Lake
09:22 Lila Lake
09:27 Dried up
09:27 Dried up
09:30 Duck
09:30 Duck
09:30 Lila Lake
09:30 Lila Lake
09:35 Heading up "East Alta"
09:35 Heading up "East Alta"
09:58 Goat
09:58 Goat
10:06 Meeting up with the switchbacks on the trail up East Alta.  I discovered on the way back that this trail runs all the way to the Rampart Lakes trail, if you can manage to follow it
10:06 Meeting up with the switchbacks on the trail up East Alta.  I discovered on the way back that this trail runs all the way to the Rampart Lakes trail, if you can manage to follow it
10:13 Top of East Alta, looking back
10:13 Top of East Alta, looking back
10:18 And here is the ridge I would follow. Prett great for the first 3/4, then a bit annoying toward the end
10:18 And here is the ridge I would follow. Prett great for the first 3/4, then a bit annoying toward the end
10:44 Getting ready to hop over to the ridge
10:44 Getting ready to hop over to the ridge
11:05 In many places it was like this, easy rambling
11:05 In many places it was like this, easy rambling
11:18 Here is where things got a little ugly, clamboring through trees above a knife edge.  Plenty of stuff to hold onto at least
11:18 Here is where things got a little ugly, clamboring through trees above a knife edge.  Plenty of stuff to hold onto at least
11:35 Marmot
11:35 Marmot
11:37 Scary knife edge right before meeting the PCT
11:37 Scary knife edge right before meeting the PCT
11:41 Finally on the PCT
11:41 Finally on the PCT
12:02 Started heading up way too early, but got this cool view of Four Brothers
12:02 Started heading up way too early, but got this cool view of Four Brothers
12:24 Goat fur
12:24 Goat fur
12:50 Butterfly
12:50 Butterfly
13:07 Path at the Chikamin / Four Brothers saddle
13:07 Path at the Chikamin / Four Brothers saddle
13:15 F-16
13:15 F-16
13:37 Chikamin Lake from the summit
13:37 Chikamin Lake from the summit
13:37 Summit shot
13:37 Summit shot
13:37 Glacier and Spectacle
13:37 Glacier and Spectacle
13:38 A little tired
13:38 A little tired
14:16 Huckleberry, Thompson
14:16 Huckleberry, Thompson
14:44 Descending
14:44 Descending
14:46 Nice stonework
14:46 Nice stonework
15:07 More slabs
15:07 More slabs
15:50 Four Brothers
15:50 Four Brothers
15:53 Monolith that tells you you're in the right place.  Three Queens in the background
15:53 Monolith that tells you you're in the right place.  Three Queens in the background
15:55 Glacier Lake
15:55 Glacier Lake
16:18 Another dry pond
16:18 Another dry pond
16:18 Low water level
16:18 Low water level
16:27 Moss
16:27 Moss
16:31 One last look at the Glacier Lake basin
16:31 One last look at the Glacier Lake basin
16:42 Heading back down to the PCT.  East Alta is the 3rd bump from the left
16:42 Heading back down to the PCT.  East Alta is the 3rd bump from the left
16:55 Upper Park Lake after turning off the PCT
16:55 Upper Park Lake after turning off the PCT
17:10 Northwest shore of Upper Park Lake
17:10 Northwest shore of Upper Park Lake
17:17 Deer
17:17 Deer
17:22 More red
17:22 More red
17:53 Strange find in the middle of nowhere
17:53 Strange find in the middle of nowhere
18:02 Bird
18:02 Bird
18:12 Talus basin on the north side of East Alta
18:12 Talus basin on the north side of East Alta
18:29 Rainier floating above the clouds
18:29 Rainier floating above the clouds
19:56 Moss
19:56 Moss
20:03 Last look into the Rampart Lakes basin
20:03 Last look into the Rampart Lakes basin
20:30 Rainier
20:30 Rainier
20:36 Lake Lillian
20:36 Lake Lillian
20:39 Lake Lillian, flowers
20:39 Lake Lillian, flowers
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Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
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Backpacker Joe
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PostWed Jul 15, 2015 11:44 am 
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Dang, that's strong work to be sure.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

Abraham Lincoln
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Slide Alder Slayer
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Slide Alder Slayer
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PostWed Jul 15, 2015 12:03 pm 
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Very Impressive! Especially having gone from Lila to Park and seen that terrain, great job and looks like you had a great time.
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Backpacker Joe
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Backpacker Joe
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PostWed Jul 15, 2015 12:31 pm 
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Id be interested in a GPS track of that trip.  I cant picture it in my head.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

Abraham Lincoln
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neek
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neek
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PostWed Jul 15, 2015 12:40 pm 
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
Id be interested in a GPS track of that trip. I cant picture it in my head.

Best I can do is that hillmap link in the description, since I don't carry a gps.  It gives a fairly decent idea of the path I took.  Of course, if I were to do it again (not likely!), I'd make some minor modifications.  In particular, I'd probably just take the trail down to Park Lakes, rather than trying to shortcut it.  And I'd look for a way to avoid the last section of that ridge over to the PCT.  Probably spent half an hour going half a mile there.

Slide Alder Slayer wrote:
having gone from Lila to Park and seen that terrain

I was amazed to see cairns, paths, and evidence that folks venture out there.
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cartman
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cartman
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PostWed Jul 15, 2015 12:49 pm 
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You weren't kidding when you said you were in epic dayhike mode right now.  up.gif  up.gif
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joker
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PostWed Jul 15, 2015 1:47 pm 
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Yowza. Strong work for sure. I'm not shocked that you found significant evidence of human passage between Alta and the PCT - I recall looking over there as we passed by there on a PCT trip some time back, and pondering it as a possible path of travel to try sometime. But not as part of a dayhike of Chikamin, and chances are not of anything I'll end up putting together  smile.gif .
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contour5
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contour5
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PostThu Jul 16, 2015 6:29 pm 
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Amazing effort for a dayhike. That route is a favorite of mine. There's actually a trail all the way from the summit of East Alta to the old Park Lakes horse camp which is still signed on the PCT. It's indistinct in places, and can be hard to follow in low visibility...

I considered trying to follow the ridge between E Alta and the 4 Brothers... until I climbed up there and looked at it. Er, no.

Great pictures; made doubly amazing considering the speed of your trip...
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puzzlr
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puzzlr
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PostThu Jul 16, 2015 11:33 pm 
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I'm completely impressed you made this work as a day hike.  up.gif That is a lot of ground to cover and much of it in what looks like pretty tough terrain. Even the scramble from the PCT up to Chikamin there has caused problems for some parties if they get into the wrong gully.

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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Magellan
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Magellan
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PostThu Jul 16, 2015 11:43 pm 
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Spectacular, in both effort, and reporting/photographing.  up.gif  up.gif
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Shakawkarl
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PostFri Jul 17, 2015 1:40 am 
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I'm so pleased to finally see beta about this route, I've been dreaming about it for years. N y only question is that while this is the shortest distance to chikamin, is this the fastest way if you're a strong hiker?
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neek
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neek
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PostFri Jul 17, 2015 4:34 am 
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contour5 wrote:
That route is a favorite of mine. There's actually a trail all the way from the summit of East Alta to the old Park Lakes horse camp which is still signed on the PCT

And here I thought I was being original!  I guess the rough path and cairns should have alerted me to the fact that humans do actually venture back there.

Shakawkarl wrote:
while this is the shortest distance to chikamin, is this the fastest way if you're a strong hiker?

Nah, fastest would be the Mineral Creek approach; much less overall elevation gain that way.  But this was the most fun smile.gif

puzzlr wrote:
Even the scramble from the PCT up to Chikamin there has caused problems for some parties if they get into the wrong gully.

Indeed.  I'd done it 3 times before so knew what to expect.  In fact there's no way I could have pulled this off without several recon missions--hardly any of it was new ground for me.

The enthusiasm here is encouraging and now I wish I would have laid down some GPS tracks.  It sounds like it would be possible to stick to trails (if rough in places) all the way from the parking lot to the base of Chikamin (either the PCT or Glacier Lake side).

14 hours means I didn't average much over 1 mph, so indeed a relaxed pace.  Took the Tortoise (vs. Hare) approach.  Amusing note, I had originally planned to throw in Lemah One and Alta as well.  Maybe next time.
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Stefan-K
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PostFri Jul 17, 2015 8:49 am 
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great pics as always!
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Doppelganger
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PostFri Jul 17, 2015 1:17 pm 
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If anyone else is inspired to do the Rocky Run approach, I always found that once you reach the shore of Lillian it is easier to avoid the nasty steps at the outlet by backtracking and climbing up and over through the woods on the eastern slopes, should save some frustration, time and possible injury. Quick way to get to the good stuff.
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User-Name
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PostSat Jul 18, 2015 3:43 pm 
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Damn...wot a hike!  Great solo push.  Fine photos, too!   up.gif  up.gif  up.gif
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