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Fletcher
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PostSat May 16, 2020 9:10 am 
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The only decent looking weather day for this week was Friday, and the weather looked best in the NE Olympics. Inner Constance has been on the list for a long time so we decided to go see what kind of shape it was in. Team Kirkland Junior High (hard to believe we've all known each other for nearly 20 years!) assembled on Thursday night for the Dosewallips Trailhead Bivy. We knew getting up and down the peak as early as possible would be vital to a successful summit, so we were hiking at 1:15am on Friday morning. Since we all carpooled out there, we did not utilize bikes.

At 5.5 miles in, we blew by the Lake Constance Trail turnoff in the dark, and didnt realize our mistake until 10 minutes later. Back on track and up through the burn area and the wonderful forest above, we were already climbing the long headwall below Lake Constance at first light. On schedule!

scrambling the Lake Constance Trail in twilight
scrambling the Lake Constance Trail in twilight

The trail was snowfree until the lake, and constant snow beyond. We switched to boots and traversed around the lake with only a few postholes. The clouds seemed to be lifting and spirits were high!
alpenglow on Inner C
alpenglow on Inner C
Inner Constance is the furthest left point getting hit by the sun
Inner Constance is the furthest left point getting hit by the sun
The Brothers
The Brothers

The morning snow was nice and firm, making progress up Avalanche Canyon efficient. We found some running water coming off of The Thumb, then threw on crampons and began ascending the steep snow slopes towards Inner C.
our objective looms
our objective looms
love this place
love this place
pillow basalt everywhere
pillow basalt everywhere
Jake climbing towards the upper basin
Jake climbing towards the upper basin
almost to the sun
almost to the sun

Once in the basin between The Thumb and Inner C, we did an ascending traverse towards the first of the two couloirs of the route. This couloir is hidden until you are below it. Steep and runnelled, we were happy to have brought extra tools for added confidence. Awesome front-pointing conditions!
Reed breaking trail toward the first couloir
Reed breaking trail toward the first couloir
stoked
stoked
front pointing up the runnel
front pointing up the runnel
Jake and Reed nearing the top of the first couloir
Jake and Reed nearing the top of the first couloir
Kyle coming up
Kyle coming up

From the top of the first couloir, the second couloir that leads to near the summit is on the far right. Note that the summit of Inner Constance is mislabeled on the topo, which apparently causes some parties to go the wrong way. The summit is actually the point to the NW. To access the second couloir, we had to cross a downsloping snow slope with bad runout. There was recent wet slide activity here with weird, saturated punchy snow that gave us pause. Well, all of us except for Reed, who was already front-point up the couloir towards the summit! Emboldened by his stoke, we all agreed to go tag the summit as quickly as possible to make it back down through this section before conditions might get more sketchy.
should we cross?
should we cross?
the route to the summit with Reed setting a strong pace
the route to the summit with Reed setting a strong pace
Constance
Constance
Jake and Kyle midway up the couloir
Jake and Kyle midway up the couloir
nearing the top
nearing the top

Topping out of the couloir, we were all weary of a small cornice at its apex. From here, its a short class 3 scramble to the comfortable summit. Be wary of a loose soft ball sized rock here and there.
the scramble finish
the scramble finish
Kyle and Jake finishing up
Kyle and Jake finishing up

We summited at 9:17am, just about 8 hours in from the car. Stoked! We all took a few minutes to take in the views and Reed had to make a work call, then we began our descent.
Mystery, Deception, and the Royal Basin peaks
Mystery, Deception, and the Royal Basin peaks
socked in to the south
socked in to the south
Rainier
Rainier
Constance
Constance
summitshot
summitshot
heading down
heading down
Warrior makes a quick appearance
Warrior makes a quick appearance
the first downclimb
the first downclimb

The downclimb of the upper couloir was chill, we had excellent conditions here. The traverse back across the slope wasnt any worse than it was an hour before.
dudes downclimbing
dudes downclimbing
dudes downclimbing
dudes downclimbing

Downclimbing the lower couloir was more of the same. We'd hoped to tag The Thumb on our way out, but the snow had become far too sloppy for that. We then postholed and glissaded down into Avalanche Canyon, where we enjoyed a nice game of frisbee before continuing out.
looking down the lower couloir
looking down the lower couloir
The Thumb, next time!
The Thumb, next time!
postholing towards Constance
postholing towards Constance
alpine frisbee
alpine frisbee
alpine firsbee
alpine firsbee
alpine frisbee
alpine frisbee
alpine frisbee
alpine frisbee

The snow had softened up enough to warrant snowshoes out of Avalanche Canyon back to the lake. I really enjoyed the views hiking out of here. What a place!
current state of the lake
current state of the lake

The descent back down to the Dosewallips Road went by pretty quick, then we all made great time back out to the car in great time with no suffering.  cool.gif
easy to miss in the dark
easy to miss in the dark
blooming Rhodie
blooming Rhodie

~25 miles
~7900 ft of gain
~14 hours
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meck
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meck
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PostSat May 16, 2020 10:15 am 
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Very cool Fletcher, I was wondering when we'd see a TR from one of the big Oly peaks!  Those pics of the surrounding peaks are great (good info too)!  That pic of the Thumb definitely makes me rethink my plans of climbing it; without the snow would it be climbable w/o ropes?

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*Just say NO to Rent-Seeking, don't give up the concept of "ownership"*
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zephyr
aka friendly hiker



Joined: 21 Jun 2009
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aka friendly hiker
PostSat May 16, 2020 12:40 pm 
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Such an inspiring trip report.  And even alpine Frisbee to boot.  Great planning and execution.  Well done!    ~z
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graywolf
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PostSat May 16, 2020 1:08 pm 
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Nice climb - takes me back 40 years to when I climbed it.

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The only easy day was yesterday...
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ozzy
The hard way



Joined: 30 Jul 2015
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Location: University place, wa
ozzy
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PostSat May 16, 2020 3:15 pm 
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Nice peak guys! Damn that's crazy I was just thinking about getting there soon but was gonna approach from crystal pass! Thanks for the conditions report too, cheers!

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Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer. -Arnold
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bobbi
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Joined: 13 Jul 2006
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Location: olympics!
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PostSat May 16, 2020 4:11 pm 
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fabulous climb!  great tagging Inner Constance! 

well, I've only been to Lake Constance and I think that's enough for me,  lol.gif

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bobbi ૐ

"Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way!" - Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
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awilsondc
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awilsondc
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PostSat May 16, 2020 5:41 pm 
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Nice work fellas!  Work call from the summit of Inner Constance?  That's gotta be a first.  Stoked for you guys, well done!   up.gif  up.gif  up.gif
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cascadetraverser
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PostSat May 16, 2020 8:12 pm 
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Well done! So beautiful up there.  No suffering on the way down from all that?
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Fletcher
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Fletcher
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PostSun May 17, 2020 9:42 am 
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meck wrote:
That pic of the Thumb definitely makes me rethink my plans of climbing it; without the snow would it be climbable w/o ropes?

We really wanted to climb The Thumb! I cant comment on what its like to climb without a rope, I've never had eyes on it in the summer. I think theres a report on here from a couple years ago where a guy did it though.

cascadetraverser: None of us had done a day that long since last summer. Im a bit sore today.

Video up!
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timberghost
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PostTue May 19, 2020 5:34 am 
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up.gif
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Inner Constance ~ 5-15-20
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