Forum Index > Trip Reports > Kololo peaks - 03-04 aug 2019
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kitya
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PostTue Aug 06, 2019 5:20 pm 
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Day 1: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3917163161
Day 2: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/3917165751

As the name suggests, "Kololo peaks" is not one single peak, but a series of rocky outcrops (highest being 8200+ ft.) about 3 miles south of Glacier Peak, just between Glacier, Tenpeak, Luahna and Clark. It peaks out of a weird expansive but almost flat field with White River, White Chuck, Suiattle and Honeycomb glaciers on all sides. A nunatak (from Inuit nunataq) is an exposed, often rocky element of a ridge, mountain, or peak not covered with ice or snow within (or at the edge of) an ice field or glacier. Fred Beckley suggested Kololo is the nunatak of Cascades.

Kololo shares most of the approach with Glacier peak, and, wow, Glacier peak is popular this time of year. There is a constant stream of big climbing groups and literal trench in the snow on the standard route. The climbers trail between White Pass and Foam Pass is as defined as the PST. Saturday morning already all parking spots on NF Sauk river trail are taken.

However Kololo was all mine - no other footprints, but me and Cookie and some mountain goat tracks. On the way up we walked the center of White Chuck glacier and the plan was to scramble the ridge, but it was too broken and loose and narrow and we eventually gave up and went back down to snow. Way back was all on snow around the edge White Chuck and much easier.

This was my second attempt to hike to Kololo, I tried before a week ago and failed due to flat tire on the forest road. This time I got to the trailhead without an issue. I debated for long time weather to do it as a long day hike or an overnight and finally settled on the overnight. It is doable as a long day hike, but this means waking up early and driving back tired at night, which is not nice. Unfortunately overnight means carrying a large and heavy pack up the switchbacks to white pass in the heat of the day. It was very hot and I felt tired. Every time I would stop - black flies will show up biting, so I kept going anyway.

I brought crampons and ice axe, but didn't end up using them, since we climbed the snow part in the afternoon, when snow was baked and soft. They would have come useful if going up snow early in the morning though - the night was very cold and everything turned  back to ice. Camping near the tarns is really nice and there are no bugs at all once above Foam Pass.

Next morning I have seen some amazing number of marmots. Insane photo dump follows:

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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostTue Aug 06, 2019 7:22 pm 
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Quite the wildlife safari!

White Pass area is so gorgeous.  I haven't been up there for a couple years.  Kicked my butt both times.  I gotta make sure to not do the exposed switchbacks in the middle of the afternoon next time, poor planning on my part.

Cookie seems to be entranced by cracks in the ice.
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kitya
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PostTue Aug 06, 2019 8:10 pm 
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olderthanIusedtobe wrote:
up.gif

Quite the wildlife safari!

White Pass area is so gorgeous.  I haven't been up there for a couple years.  Kicked my butt both times.  I gotta make sure to not do the exposed switchbacks in the middle of the afternoon next time, poor planning on my part.

Cookie seems to be entranced by cracks in the ice.

I made the same mistake - exposed switchbacks at noon. But it kind of unavoidable mistake really, the flat forest part of NF Sauk trail is so long, that unless you start at some unreasonable morning time, you will always be at switchbacks sometime around mid day.

One advantage of sleeping in overnight there was getting back to the area between Foam Pass and White Pass early in the morning, when most climbing groups camping in left for Glacier peak climb and new groups have not arrived yet - this morning time before people come there - the whole area is just full of wildlife. Never seen so many marmots. Also one grouse had 4 baby grouses and there was a male grouse too, but he decided to be shy and not pose for photos.

Cookie is kind of scared of them actually. She knows if there is a crack in the ice, even if it is covered by a snow bridge. She will always cross them very carefully, first checking them out, than jumping over.
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RichP
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PostTue Aug 06, 2019 8:42 pm 
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I got heat exhaustion on those switchbacks. The next time I camped at Mackinaw Shelter so as to get an early start and it worked well.

Nice pics.  up.gif
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kitya
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PostTue Aug 06, 2019 9:02 pm 
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RichP wrote:
I got heat exhaustion on those switchbacks. The next time I camped at Mackinaw Shelter so as to get an early start and it worked well.

Oh, heat exhaustion is not fun. Mackinaw shelter camp is a good idea, but it had bugs, lots of bugs!
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fyodorova
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PostWed Aug 07, 2019 6:13 am 
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Great report and photos as always.

We were also in the area this weekend, next to the cinder cone below Red Pass, and the marmots were abundant. It was the same at Itswoot Ridge a couple of weeks ago. Seems like there was a marmot baby boom around Glacier Peak this year.
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kitya
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PostWed Aug 07, 2019 9:53 am 
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fyodorova wrote:
Great report and photos as always.

We were also in the area this weekend, next to the cinder cone below Red Pass, and the marmots were abundant. It was the same at Itswoot Ridge a couple of weeks ago. Seems like there was a marmot baby boom around Glacier Peak this year.


I'm so happy to hear marmots are doing well this year!
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Downhill
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PostMon Aug 12, 2019 11:53 am 
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Great trip and fantastic photos - thanks for sharing!  I love how Cookie rolls in the snow just like my dog does.  He loves to scratch his back and snout on hard, crusty snow.  smile.gif
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Brushbuffalo
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PostTue Aug 13, 2019 6:22 am 
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kitya wrote:
Cookie is kind of scared of them actually. She knows if there is a crack in the ice, even if it is covered by a snow bridge. She will always cross them very carefully, first checking them out, than jumping over.

Cookie is a sensible climber in her glacier climbing. She will live to be old at the sake of being bold.

Several years ago you mentioned that you always keep her on leash. I see from your pictures that it appears.to be true, unusual responsibility on your part.  up.gif  up.gif

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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kitya
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PostTue Aug 13, 2019 1:15 pm 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
Several years ago you mentioned that you always keep her on leash. I see from your pictures that it appears.to be true, unusual responsibility on your part.  up.gif  up.gif

I don't really know why some people ever leave their dogs off leash at all. Cookie is off leash at home and in a fence backyard, but not outside. There is absolutely no reason to. She is healthy and happy and safer on the leash.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostTue Aug 13, 2019 2:09 pm 
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kitya wrote:
I don't really know why some people ever leave their dogs off leash at all.

I unfortunately encountered a pair of hikers around a month ago with 2 off leash dogs that were not remotely under voice control, they completely ignored all calls to them.  The dogs didn't bother me but it pissed me off when they started chasing marmots every which way in a meadowy area.  The owners called to them at that point, but that had already proven to be completely ineffective.  Not sure what you can do about clueless people.
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Brushbuffalo
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PostTue Aug 13, 2019 2:21 pm 
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olderthanIusedtobe wrote:
chasing marmots

If more people aren't as responsible as Kitya, will we soon see the 'no pets on trails' policy of the NPS in force by other agencies?

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostTue Aug 13, 2019 2:38 pm 
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Sorry for the thread hijack Kitya.

Brushbuffalo wrote:
If more people aren't as responsible as Kitya, will we soon see the 'no pets on trails' policy of the NPS in force by other agencies?

If it comes to that, USFS will have a hard time enforcing it.  Very little personnel, and thousands of miles of trails.  People already ignore where some trails are closed to dogs (Lake Ingalls for one example), or obviously the general standing rule of dogs must be on leash or under voice command.
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kitya
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PostTue Aug 13, 2019 6:52 pm 
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olderthanIusedtobe wrote:
started chasing marmots every which way in a meadowy area

oh no, this is really horrible frown.gif so sad for poor marmots! they don't need this.
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Brushbuffalo
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PostTue Aug 13, 2019 7:28 pm 
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kitya wrote:
sad for poor marmots! they don't need this.

Although I don't wish to ignite the old 'dog' topic yet again, bad behavior by people who hike with dogs is poor any time but especially from now on until snowfall,  since marmots are fattening up and preparing for a long winter's nap  that they instinctively know is coming.
I would be angry not at the dogs but at the ignorant or arrogant owners. I won't call them ' handlers', as that term refers to people under whom dogs are in control.

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