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plain old dan
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plain old dan
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PostWed Oct 03, 2018 9:51 pm 
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I had to try it.  I'm glad I did but not sure I'll ever ascend Crystal Creek again.  It's approximately 8 miles of river trail along Ingalls Creek and 2 miles of boulder hopping up 3000 feet.  Day one I ran out of gas about 100 feet from this valley.



Put up my tent at the first flat spot I saw.  Day two I made my way up to Lake Perfection through the low spot in the above picture and spend a few hours wandering around in larch heaven.



The one nice thing is, no overnight permit required!
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostWed Oct 03, 2018 9:54 pm 
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up.gif  beautiful
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Josh
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PostThu Oct 04, 2018 10:24 am 
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Looks great!  I'm heading up that way in two days.  Got any beta to share about the drainage approach?  I've never gone that way before.

-Josh
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Sammy
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PostThu Oct 04, 2018 11:11 am 
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plain old dan wrote:
I'm glad I did but not sure I'll ever ascend Crystal Creek again.

Glad I'm not the only one... We descended Crystal Creek Drainage during our Stuart Circumnavigation and I don't plan on ever going back haha!
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BigBrunyon
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PostThu Oct 04, 2018 4:16 pm 
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looks like a route that forces you to compete!!

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i go to the FITNESS GYMS!!!
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Backpackapalooza
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PostFri Oct 05, 2018 8:38 am 
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I'm sure there is snow up there now.
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plain old dan
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PostFri Oct 05, 2018 12:40 pm 
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It was a challenge, at least for me.  I'm 53 so there is that.   

Here's the Beta for those interested: 

For the first 8 miles it's a gentle river walk with plenty of nice looking camping spots including one shortly before Crystal Creek.  It took about 2 1/2 hours at a comfortable pace (a little over 2 hours on the way out).  Since the forest is pretty open, it's not hard to see where you should head up into the drainage.  I found the creek then headed up on the east side of it.  There wasn't much in the way of tread or path to follow for the first quarter mile but I did pick up some tread for the next quarter mile through forest then rocky shelves.  I never looked on the west side of the creek to see if there was a more established path ... so there might be.  I did have to navigate around some big burnt out fallen trees and I occasionally got a face full of some puffy seed pods from a particular type of head high weed.  At about a half mile up there is a tempting spot on a rock shelve to say f-it I'm going to camp here.  Soon after that, if you head north westerly (climbers left) the rock shelves looked steeper and steeper so I don't know if they "cliff" out.  I headed north easterly (climbers right) into a boulder field.   Going up the boulder field I tended to try and go up the eastern side (relative to where the creek would be if it was above ground) only because I wanted to avoid the steeper cliffy sections.  There was one spot where I collected some water along the way but for the most part water is not available.  Eventually you'll see a huge house sized black boulder sitting on, what looks like from below, the lip or top of the boulder field.  I started tending left towards that because it was lower on the ridge line.  It's not the top but there is not too much farther to go until you reach the flat plateau in my first picture.  There are 3 potential camping spots including the small first one I took in the final hundred yards  prior to exiting the boulder field onto the plateau but it's probably best to get to the open plateau.  This section up from Ingalls Creek Trail took me a whooping 3 1/2 hours to go up the mile and 1/2 or so.  On the way down I think it took about an hour and 1/2 and that was more just to make sure I didn't fall and break a leg boulder hopping / jumping.   

Going from the Camping Plateau in my pic there is a stand of trees which look denser than they are (in fact the best camping spot of all is probably the one just inside the stand because the ground is more compact and less dusty)... then another boulder field (not as steep as the first one below).  Then finally a relatively short but steeper climb up the gap to the notch.  This section, I found the best was to follow the creek closely in the thin forest instead of navigating the rocks and scree.  There is a boot path on softer ground with plenty of water available which starts on the left side of the creek, crosses over to the right then ends at the top on the left side.  It still took over an hour from camp to gain the notch.   

BTW Dicey did this trip as a day hike up McClellan and has a report here on it.     

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7961759&highlight=crystal+creek

A day hike certainly would be easier going up without a heavy pack but that's a lot of miles to do in one day and not good if you are interested in morning photography as I was.
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Sculpin
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PostFri Oct 05, 2018 1:47 pm 
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I have looked upon the lovely "camping plateau" wistfully from the Teanaway peaks.  I have looked up from Ingalls.  Never going to do that.   shakehead.gif

Now I am just waiting for someone to show up and complain that you just revealed their sekrit route!   biggrin.gif

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plain old dan
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PostFri Oct 05, 2018 6:12 pm 
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Maybe someone will complain which could be fun.  However, there will never be a trail there as it's 75% boulders.  I did see one cairn which was useless.  Plus no one has mentioned the "E" word so that's going to limit the potential number of people who will view this report  biggrin.gif
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Brushwork
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PostFri Oct 05, 2018 6:49 pm 
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Just beautiful!

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When I grow up I wanna play.
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Downhill
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PostThu Oct 11, 2018 6:15 pm 
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Fantastic photos - thank you for sharing.
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rbuzby
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PostFri Oct 12, 2018 1:18 pm 
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Sculpin wrote:
you just revealed their sekrit route!

Gene Prater, inventor of the Sherpa Claw snowshoe, published a snowshoe hikes book that suggested Ingalls Creek - Crystal Creek as a snowshoe route.  I found the book at the library, so my buddy and I climbed Annapurna on snowshoes in the spring, and Dragontail from Ingalls too.  Back during the Reagan administration.

Carrying heavy packs up Crystal creek after carrying them 7.5 miles up Ingalls creek trail was exhausting.  I fell off a short cliff and face planted in some rocks, I was so tired my balance was failing. Luckily my face landed in a little snowpatch in the rocks.  I had a metal white gas bottle in my pack's shoulder pocket, that hit the rocks when I landed; it has a big dent in it.  1 foot to the right, and the dent would have been in my skull.  My fingernails were bloody too, from involuntarily clawing at the rock as I slid off the cliff.

It's a cool route, and you get a perspective on the nightmare needles that is nifty, once you are almost in the enchantments.
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RandyHiker
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PostSat Oct 13, 2018 3:59 am 
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I suspect that the USFS has no concerns about the Enchantments being overrun by hordes storming up Crystal creek to bypass the permit system.
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Backpacker Joe
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PostSat Oct 13, 2018 9:23 am 
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Who'd ya bribe, blackmail, threaten to get core permits?  They seem impossible to get these days.... Great pics Daniel. up.gif

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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."

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RandyHiker
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PostSat Oct 13, 2018 12:03 pm 
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
Who'd ya bribe, blackmail, threaten to get core permits?  They seem impossible to get these days.... Great pics Daniel. up.gif

In a couple weeks you won't need a permit, but brrr.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Above Crystal Creek drainage
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