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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue Jan 02, 2018 7:27 pm 
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The weather gods were considerate to provide a beautiful day to kick off the new year. It was tough to round up a group for New Years day but eventually three of us (neek, penquin, me) made it to the trailhead at the Big River Bridge at MP 5 on the Middle Fork road. There was a pocket of freezing air on the valley bottom, but as we climbed higher the temperatures rose in a mild inversion and it was pleasantly warm all day.

The creek by the road was running high enough to mostly submerge the crossing rocks so we found an alternate icy log to cross on. Hair ice was plentiful, but it looked a day old and not so spectacular. We made good time to the end of the trail and road, getting to the end of the west Green Mountain road in 2 hours -- 3.8 miles and 3000' of gain so far.

Crossing Moraine Creek on an icy log
Crossing Moraine Creek on an icy log
Brawling Creek crossing on the ALP road
Brawling Creek crossing on the ALP road
West Green road in a spot where it has eroded out. Most of it is still in good shape.
West Green road in a spot where it has eroded out. Most of it is still in good shape.
View point on the west Green road
View point on the west Green road

From there it was off trail. We needed microspikes to comfortably climb up the frozen duff 500' to the cliffs below West Green. To climb Middle Green we needed to traverse east and get on the mild ridge. There was a question whether this was even possible to do safely because the contours looked pretty steep for a short section. Neek did a great job of picking out a route and we were all glad to get on the broad ridge leading up to Middle Green. We actually popped out on the open log landing between Middle and Main Green, but from there it was just 150' feet up easy slopes to the summit of Middle Green.

We put on microspikes for extra traction on the frosted ground beyond the road
We put on microspikes for extra traction on the frosted ground beyond the road
At the opening below the cliffs of West Green
At the opening below the cliffs of West Green
Traversing right through the old growth
Traversing right through the old growth
This is the very top of Brawling Creek, and a deep gully forms below this spot. We crossed an easy spot above the small waterfall and kept doing a downward traverse to get past the cliff bands on the other side.
This is the very top of Brawling Creek, and a deep gully forms below this spot. We crossed an easy spot above the small waterfall and kept doing a downward traverse to get past the cliff bands on the other side.
There is a beautiful old Mountain Hemlock forest up here, but just below it has been logged.
There is a beautiful old Mountain Hemlock forest up here, but just below it has been logged.
We had to keep traversing because above was all slabby rocks covered in moss.
We had to keep traversing because above was all slabby rocks covered in moss.
This was one of the scary spots where a slip could have been dangerous.
This was one of the scary spots where a slip could have been dangerous.
Before too long we got past the cliffs and emerged onto the summit ridge with a mild slope
Before too long we got past the cliffs and emerged onto the summit ridge with a mild slope
Heading up the ridge to Middle Green
Heading up the ridge to Middle Green
We drifted right an broke out into an open area that is the old logging road and slash pile area
We drifted right an broke out into an open area that is the old logging road and slash pile area
Continuing up the old logging road toward the pass
Continuing up the old logging road toward the pass
We broke off left from the road to climb the last 150' to the Middle Green summit
We broke off left from the road to climb the last 150' to the Middle Green summit
On Middle Green summit. Photo by Nick Michal.
On Middle Green summit. Photo by Nick Michal.

The main summit of Green only has views south. The middle summit only has views north, which is surprising -- I expected it to be completely treed. I walked a bit west to get a clear view of West Green and confirmed that there's no possibility of a safe scramble traverse from West to Middle Green.

West Green from Middle
West Green from Middle
Teneriffe
Teneriffe
Dixie peak
Dixie peak
View north from Middle Green summit. The old logging road with snow on it has been decommissioned.
View north from Middle Green summit. The old logging road with snow on it has been decommissioned.

After a snack we headed over to the main summit. The ridge up to the main summit is an easy ascent with a short section on some open rocks. We decided to descend the normal south ridge of Green to avoid repeating the steep traverse. That went well and there's a lot more flagging than the last time I was on this route in 2008.
Green pass with the old logging road blasted through it
Green pass with the old logging road blasted through it
Fun rocks on the climb to the main summit
Fun rocks on the climb to the main summit
Bryan and Nick on the main Green summit
Bryan and Nick on the main Green summit
Garfield and central part of the Middle Fork valley
Garfield and central part of the Middle Fork valley
The one huge tree on the ridge
The one huge tree on the ridge
Dramatic level spot along the south ridge
Dramatic level spot along the south ridge
Some sections have been flagged and then used often enough to form a faint trail
Some sections have been flagged and then used often enough to form a faint trail
Descending the talus field just above Absolute Last Promontory
Descending the talus field just above Absolute Last Promontory
Absolute Last Promontory
Absolute Last Promontory

Overall it took us 3:40 to do the over 4000' of gain to the Middle summit. my GPS says 4600' but I don't believe it. It was 25 minutes between the middle and main summits, then 2:30 all the way down the normal route. With breaks the whole trip was 7:15 car to car.

Route up to the middle summit, over to the main one, then down the normal route.
Route up to the middle summit, over to the main one, then down the normal route.

I don't recommend this route to the middle summit because of the steep traverse part way through. I'd suggest going up the normal route to the main summit. The terrain is gentle enough between the middle and main peaks that you can cut the corner there to climb the middle summit without having to do the main peak twice.

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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RichP
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PostTue Jan 02, 2018 8:30 pm 
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So wish I could have joined you. New Year's Day is a family tradition in my house though.

Your photos of the Middle Fork peaks show a stark lack of snow.

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Bernardo
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PostTue Jan 02, 2018 8:46 pm 
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Nice outing!
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neek
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PostWed Jan 03, 2018 9:14 am 
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Glad to finally check this one off.  Thanks for the plan & TR.  A few more shots -

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flatsqwerl
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PostWed Jan 03, 2018 3:44 pm 
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up.gif
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snowhat
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PostThu Jan 04, 2018 7:19 pm 
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Looks like a great trip.  We saw your car as we headed to the Middle Fork trailhead, and 6 hours later on the way back.  Figured someone must be on Green.

I have been to Green mountain via the Absolute Last Promontory, great winter route.  However, my friends that have attempted this trip recently (last 12 months) have been stopped by the DNR guy who unlocks the Mailbox & Granite Creek gates and have been told that the Sitka Spruce Trail is closed, supposedly to protect the Sitka Spruce.  Did you see any sign of a closure, or know anything about it?  It was way to long to get to Green via CCC.

Hopefully they'll put a real trail there in that section someday.
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User-Name
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PostThu Jan 04, 2018 7:53 pm 
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nice!  I remember poking around Green a while back.  Traversed over from near the top of Tenny.  We only hit one of the highpoints you guys snagged.  A descent pic:

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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6410 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
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Mid Fork Rocks
PostFri Jan 05, 2018 4:13 pm 
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snowhat wrote:
the DNR guy who unlocks the Mailbox & Granite Creek gates and have been told that the Sitka Spruce Trail is closed, supposedly to protect the Sitka Spruce

That is the DNR's position -- they want to discourage use of this trail. That's why they cut out the log crossing on the creek at the trailhead a couple years ago. But so far there is no signage about not using it. A few short boardwalk sections would protect the trees and make the trail in that first short section less muddy solving a couple problems. Beyond Brawling Creek, most of the trail is on ridge lines and old logging roads so it makes a fine trail that's not susceptible to erosion and doesn't get into goopy clay areas. But another motivation might be to keep that part of the Middle Fork friendlier for animals by reducing the number of people walking through.

One possible plan I've heard is to convert the open area on the Bessemer Road just past the creek near the gate into a trailhead to access the CCC trail midway and connect to a possible Green Mountain trail. It would be longer than from the Big River Bridge but workable. But none of these get done without money being allocated via a grant and I haven't heard if that's happened yet.

Logs cleared for the paving project are stacked in the big opening just beyond Big Blowout Creek on the Bessemer road. This was taken in 2016 and all the logs were trucked away in 2017.
Logs cleared for the paving project are stacked in the big opening just beyond Big Blowout Creek on the Bessemer road. This was taken in 2016 and all the logs were trucked away in 2017.

User-Name - that sure looks like the ridge coming down from West Green. We didn't get there this trip but I was there once before, but with lots of snow. It's good to see what it's like under the snow.

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



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Have camera will use
PostFri Jan 05, 2018 4:41 pm 
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puzzlr wrote:

Amongst a number of some nice photos, I really like this one. up.gif

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EastKing
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PostThu Feb 08, 2018 9:39 pm 
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Went up on 2/7/18. The log across the creek is about to give way. Chances are that soon someone is either going to have to bring something to cross the creek or find a more solid log. Made to just above the talus field in which because of the soggy conditions we decided to turn back. I hope to be back there next month in order to get a view.


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Malachai Constant
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PostThu Feb 08, 2018 9:45 pm 
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Yum, I think I will stick to Cableline for training.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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whitebark
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PostTue Feb 13, 2018 7:17 pm 
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That log crossing of Moraine Creek looks nasty!  Fortunately, the creek's water level has now gone down enough so that you can use the stepping stones. As a very rough rule of thumb, if the Mid Fork is running at 1000 CFS or less, the stepping stones will be above water.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Middle and Main Green (Middle Fork) - 01/01/2018
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