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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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Mid Fork Rocks
PostThu Jul 11, 2019 2:25 pm 
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Four years ago I was on a trip up the West Fork Foss and from a camp at Chetwoot Lake we climbed Turquoise, Camp Robber, Wild Goat and Iron Cap (and Atrium on the way in). That knocked off some Middle Fork peaks plus a couple Home Courts. But mainly, I fell in love with the area. After dinner one night I strolled up to a knob to evaluate climbing St Agnes Ridge before dark. Ultimately I decided I was too tired and didn't like the prospect of losing 200' to Azure Lake to start out and then possibly hiking back to camp cross country in the dark.

2015: St Agnes Ridge on right, so tempting
2015: St Agnes Ridge on right, so tempting

This spring I've been getting out enough to feel like doing St Agnes Ridge as a day hike was possible. It's in that middle distance for me -- a huge day hike, but hardly worth a camp. Two frequent hiker partners were willing go and the weather cooperated -- a big rainy system coming in held off until our drive home.

We got an early start and were on the trail about 7:30, booking it up the first 2500' of switchbacks to Copper Lake. After filtering water we continued until we took a short side trip to an impressive overhanging cliff view point directly above Delta Lake. On both trips up this way I've wondered why the trail goes so high here, only to drop down again to Big Heart Lake. This cliff is the reason.

Getting an early start at 7:30am
Getting an early start at 7:30am
Dramatic overhanging viewpoint between Little and Big Heart Lakes
Dramatic overhanging viewpoint between Little and Big Heart Lakes
Delta Lake from the viewpoint
Delta Lake from the viewpoint
St Agnes Ridge and Angeline Falls from viewpoint
St Agnes Ridge and Angeline Falls from viewpoint
A view down the overhanging cliff taken by holding my camera out as far as I could
A view down the overhanging cliff taken by holding my camera out as far as I could

We met a couple parties hiking out who had camped at Big Heart Lake, but then no one else the rest of the day. From Big Heart Lake a boot trail continues on all the way to Chetwoot Lake, but we diverted on a way trail down to the Angeline Lake outlet. This lake drains through a narrow cliff-lined channel with the stream flowing underneath massive granite rocks. It's like a giant punched a hole in the wall to create the outlet and all the pieces are still laying there. Maybe a glacier was the giant. The result is that it's easy to cross, probably any time of year. However, it was really helpful having the way trail to get down because it wouldn't be obvious how to get through the cliffs. As a side note, the 1990 Mount Baker-Snoqualmie Forest Plan proposed a possible trail on this route, continuing all the way to the Otter Lake outlet.

Big Heart Lake
Big Heart Lake
Descending on small way trail to the Angline Lake outlet
Descending on small way trail to the Angline Lake outlet
Nearing the creek it got really steep with veggie belays coming in handy
Nearing the creek it got really steep with veggie belays coming in handy
Angeline Lake outlet with massive rock blocks covering the water flow
Angeline Lake outlet with massive rock blocks covering the water flow
Angeline Creek emerges from the rock blocks just below our crossing point
Angeline Creek emerges from the rock blocks just below our crossing point

Visually, the ridge up to St Agnes Ridge looks a lot harder than it is. Other reports didn't mention any difficulty, and a small way trail is visible in the satellite photos. This turned out to be true. There are a series of blueberry covered benches with small rocky outcrops in between. Just before the ridge rounds off near the top it gets steeper, but only for about 150'. After that the terrain opens up into gentle meadows sprinkled with white rocks with views all around. The actual high point is covered by krumholz, and we found an old glass jar register nearby dating back to 1948 from the party that named this peak. This peak is not climbed much so it was unexpected to see that John Fosberg had been there only 3 days earlier.

St Agnes Ridge from the flanks of Atrium Peak. It looks like it could be hard.
St Agnes Ridge from the flanks of Atrium Peak. It looks like it could be hard.
Climbing up from the creek crossing
Climbing up from the creek crossing
The way trail continued intermittently most of the way up the ridge
The way trail continued intermittently most of the way up the ridge
Malachite Peak above, Delta and Trout lake in the valley
Malachite Peak above, Delta and Trout lake in the valley
The last 150' of the ridge entered some scrubby trees and brush. It was steeper than the rest, but not exposed.
The last 150' of the ridge entered some scrubby trees and brush. It was steeper than the rest, but not exposed.
Emerging into the white rocks that cover the entire summit area of St Agnes Ridge
Emerging into the white rocks that cover the entire summit area of St Agnes Ridge
Traversing the summit ridge to reach the high point
Traversing the summit ridge to reach the high point
St Agnes Ridge summit, under a tree
St Agnes Ridge summit, under a tree
Original 1948 summit register
Original 1948 summit register
Original 1948 summit register
Original 1948 summit register
Transcription of original + later climbs
Transcription of original + later climbs
Transcription of original + later climbs
Transcription of original + later climbs
Panorama northwest from St Agnes Ridge. Includes Chimney Rock and Overcoat (over the horizon), Iron Cap-Wild Goat ridge, Tourmaline, Camp Robber Angeline Lake below, Chetwoot Lake peeking throught the gap
Panorama northwest from St Agnes Ridge. Includes Chimney Rock and Overcoat (over the horizon), Iron Cap-Wild Goat ridge, Tourmaline, Camp Robber Angeline Lake below, Chetwoot Lake peeking throught the gap
The massive rocky wall to the east, topped by Otter Point. Silver Eagle Peak at far left
The massive rocky wall to the east, topped by Otter Point. Silver Eagle Peak at far left

The way out was uneventful but long. We were all worn out after a 10 hour day of almost constantly moving.

Angeline Lake outlet with steep cliffs on both sides, huge rocks clogging the outlet
Angeline Lake outlet with steep cliffs on both sides, huge rocks clogging the outlet
Dropping down to the outlet channel of Angeline Lake
Dropping down to the outlet channel of Angeline Lake
Climbing back up the steep sections of the way trail to get back to Big Heart Lake
Climbing back up the steep sections of the way trail to get back to Big Heart Lake
Back on the main West Fork Foss trail, here approaching Little Heart Lake
Back on the main West Fork Foss trail, here approaching Little Heart Lake
Copper Lake waterfall
Copper Lake waterfall
Upstream from the West Fork Foss bridge
Upstream from the West Fork Foss bridge

Stats: 18.4 miles, 6500' gain, 10 hours

My GPS stats came out as 18.4 miles and 7500' of gain. I think the gain is exaggerated but just adding up the start/stop of the uphill sections is 6000' and there are a lot of smaller ups and downs along the trail. So I'm calling it 6500' of gain -- it sure felt that way.

St Agnes Ridge
St Agnes Ridge

Edit: Add excerpt from 1966 101 Hikes book

I happened to be paging through the classic 101 hikes book from 1966 shortly after doing this hike. I was surprised to see that back then the side trail to Angeline Lake was well known enough to include on the map and in the description
I happened to be paging through the classic 101 hikes book from 1966 shortly after doing this hike. I was surprised to see that back then the side trail to Angeline Lake was well known enough to include on the map and in the description

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Mid Fork Rocks ē flickr
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostThu Jul 11, 2019 4:05 pm 
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up.gif

Cool!  I did much of this accidentally several years ago when I missed the turn to continue towards Chetwoot.  I climbed a few hundred feet above Angeline's outlet before I figured out for sure I wasn't where I wanted to be.  That drop down to the outlet is a bit nasty from what I remember.  Steep and rough.
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Fletcher
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PostThu Jul 11, 2019 5:11 pm 
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Cool trip! I backpacked to Big Heart years and years ago before getting into peakbagging and have been wanting to go back ever since.
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iron
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getting old
PostThu Jul 11, 2019 11:07 pm 
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the who's who of peakbaggers in that register

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

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RichP
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PostFri Jul 12, 2019 7:16 am 
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Back on the Home Court.  up.gif

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Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
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chiwakum
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PostFri Jul 12, 2019 8:04 pm 
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Big day! Thanks for a cool trip idea up.gif
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BarbE
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PostSat Jul 13, 2019 6:58 pm 
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I didnít know this was St Agnes Ridge. On a solo Foss Lakes backpacking trip about 10 years ago,  I attempted but failed to make a loop back to Big Heart Lake. Seeing your route, I doubt I could have found my way. Glad I backtracked via Chetwoot Lake and the Ridge above Big Heart Lake.

across this
across this
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Justus S.
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PostSat Jul 13, 2019 9:33 pm 
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Nice trip report. Looks like a peak that is easy to overlook.
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reststep
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PostSat Jul 13, 2019 10:18 pm 
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Panorama northwest from St Agnes Ridge. Includes Chimney Rock and Overcoat (over the horizon), Iron Cap-Wild Goat ridge, Tourmaline, Camp Robber Angeline Lake below, Chetwoot Lake peeking throught the gap
Panorama northwest from St Agnes Ridge. Includes Chimney Rock and Overcoat (over the horizon), Iron Cap-Wild Goat ridge, Tourmaline, Camp Robber Angeline Lake below, Chetwoot Lake peeking throught the gap

This picture shows a good view of the ridge between Big Heart and Angeline lakes that is the route to Chetwoot Lake.

Thanks for the report.

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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Fred Beavon
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PostWed Sep 25, 2019 11:48 pm 
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Good work, Monty!
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