Forum Index > Trip Reports > Sherpani, Peak 6564 (AKA Peak MD) and Paddy-Go-North - 28 Jun 2020
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kitya
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PostMon Jun 29, 2020 5:24 pm 
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Sunday weather forecast for Roslyn, WA was calling for rain/thunderstorms, so I thought it would be a good day to go to Sherpani and around.

The crux of the climb though definitely is driving to the trailhead. I remember NF-4330 being bad from previous years. It only gets worse as years pass. Pass the private houses that exist in the forest for some reason, the road is less of a road and more of a double black diamond ski run with moguls. You better have a good suspension. I have never been this early yet, usually by late summer it at least dries out a bit, but not yet. Fording Scatter Creek was like going through a car wash - water splashes all the way up to windshield. Past the ford it is was just trucks, jeeps and me, not even a single Subaru. And yeah, after the ford Tucquala lake (that used to be incorrectly named Fish lake, but now renamed) decided that it would be fun to extend the lake shore all the over the road for a mile or so. It took 1 hour to drive 10 miles.


It was quite busy too. Literally every single corner of the road, somebody was camping. Btw, how do you know if it is safe to ford Scatter Creek or not? My car did well, but, I live in Duvall and it floods every year. When it floods there is a lot less water on the road, but the road gets closed. Police always say that it is unsafe to drive over river flooded streets even if level is low. So why it is okey to drive over Scatter Creek?

Hm...

Anyway, here is the route.


At 9 am no other cars at Paddy-Go-Easy trailhead. Many bity bugs, but they eventually gave up following me on the account of rain.

First mile of trail has about 20 large trees over. But after that the slope is more open and there are no more trees over the trail and it is quite easy going. It was raining and everything was super wet. Ah, spring is in the air. Saw some bear poop.


And also a few ground squirrels.

- One wrong move Mr. Photographer and I'm going back into my house, I warn you!


I started with Sherpani. This was my approximate route up Sherpani.


It is as steep as it looks, but with more runoff and less cliffs. And I did it in complete white-out, so I couldn't see a thing and it was less scary this way.

Sherpani summit has interesting summit register.


The current register was placed back in 1992 and still only the first few pages are filled in. The register was placed by Gene Prater.

Undoubtedly the most important invention of XX century are the modern snowshoes. Brothers Gene and Bill Prater played big role in it. They started as farmers, working on their family’s 500-acre that their parents homesteaded in Ellensburg, WA, but eventually both became interested in climbing. Bill’s Peak in Teanaway is a somewhat popular scramble, named after Bill Prater. Bill’s Peak is also a part of Seattle Mountaineers Teanaway-20 list.

Both Bill and Gene contributed greatly to local climbing. While primitive snowshoes have ancient history, probably starting with native American hunters of Eastern Canada, modern snowshoes really didn’t exist until Gene and Bill. Even now snowshoes are intrinsically linked to pacific northwest, in Europe people use skis a lot more often for winter travel, but in here snowshoes are a big deal. Steep, dense forest with lots snow does not work well with ski, because it is hard to move through lots of trees with long skis. Yet snowshoes are not as popular as ski and perhaps never will be, because there is no shortcuts: you have to walk up and you have to walk down. But they do allow amazing freedom, amazing scenery and total solitude as nothing else. Gene was an avid snowshoer and wrote a book about snowshoe technique that is still in print today. Bill and Gene started by repairing old wooden snowshoes, but eventually design the very first metal frame snowshoes. They patented the first metal frame with crampon style grip snowshoe design that is still used on all modern snowshoes today. In 1970s they started their own company, called Sherpa Design, that quickly became the legend of snowshoe quality. Eventually they sold the company and it no longer exists, but even know the best snowshoes in the world use design very similar to theirs and are still made in Seattle – MSR.

https://www.snowshoemag.com/2005/02/22/pioneer-profile-gene-prater-and-bill-prater/

First page of the register – 10/25/1992. Gene Prater climbed Sherpani Peak with his wife Jeri Prater on the 6th month anniversary of their wedding. He describes how he and Bill first climbed Sherpani Peak back in 1949 and named it Sherpani as a tribute to female Sherpas.

It is hard to say if 1949 visit was the first ascent of the mountain. Almost all first ascents are fake anyway, as it is impossible to know what mountains various native people ascended before modern written histories began. I read that Gene and Bill didn’t like this first ascent culture either and never claimed first ascents. However, the peak was definitely not named before them and so they named it.

Second page of the register and the very second visit to the mountain almost exactly a year later – 9/17/1993. Gene Prater passed away on Feb 2nd 1993 and it has been almost 7 months from his death. His wife Jeri Prater and some other friends climbed together to Sherpani Peak to remember him.

https://archive.seattletimes.com/archive/?date=19930207&slug=1684044

They seem to climb every autumn for the next few years, but eventually stop. New generations of climbers come. The thing about obscure peaks - I often see and recognize the same names of just a few dedicated people who love this sort of thing. Some years a couple of parties sign the register, some years – nobody does.

After the summit me and Cookie got back down and scrambled over to Peak 6564 with hopes of more views. The scramble was interesting with steep snow gully and some narrow moats and tricky spaces to get through. We had some additional views to Paddy-Go-North.

So naturally we decided to go to Paddy-Go-North next. My route up Paddy-Go-North was hm.. adventurous. My approximate route up is shown in red. I think later in summer this might be an easy ramp. But now it is covered by quite steep ice. Even with ice axe I hate traversing on steep ice, but even more I hate traversing on narrow steep ice right above cliffs, with not enough run off to self arrest. I took it very slow, always pushing ice axe fully in first. But on my way down I found another interesting option, I dropped into the narrow tunnel I found between ice and upper cliff band. The ice is taller than me and the tunnel turned out just wide enough for me to walk on the edge inside. It worked almost all the way, but unfortunately eventually i got to steep drop off and an underground waterfall. At that point I used my ice axe to climb out of the ice tunnel back up and finished the shorter traverse on ice again.


Great day, but short day. Seen no other single person. Nice to see some larches around North-Paddy-Go. Done back at the trailhead by 3pm. Well, with the long miserable drive back it was actually good to end early.


P.S. Found some trash on the route and took it out.

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Type E
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PostMon Jun 29, 2020 6:37 pm 
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Another trip report that brings back very fond memories

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Bosterson
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PostMon Jun 29, 2020 7:55 pm 
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Great writeup of the history of the Praters and Sherpani!  up.gif

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Follow the river until it turns to ice. Follow the ice until it turns to rock. Follow the rock until it turns to sky. Then we will be there.
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zephyr
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PostMon Jun 29, 2020 8:50 pm 
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Bosterson wrote:
Great writeup of the history of the Praters and Sherpani!  up.gif

Exactly!  Thanks, kitya for sharing the trip AND the history.  Very nice.  ~z
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fourteen410
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PostMon Jun 29, 2020 8:55 pm 
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Very interesting history. I suspect the Prater Trail in Ellensburg (near the Westberg Trail) is named after them as well.
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kitya
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PostMon Jun 29, 2020 9:57 pm 
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Thank you everyone. I'm glad you found the history interesting, because I found it interesting too. Please note that I have no personal knowledge of anyone involved. In fact I had no idea of Praters or their influence on snowshoe design until this peak. I scrambled up Bill's Peak before and I remember reading somewhere that Bill's peak is named after Bill Prater "a local farmer". But at that time I never bothered researching why a peak would be named after a local farmer. But than I come to Sherpani peak and see familiar Prater name mentioned so many times. I got curious and did some research. And by research I mean I googled it. I put my sources in. I didn't know about the Prater Trail, but again a little bit of searching brings up this article:

https://www.dailyrecordnews.com/top_story/manastash-ridge-popular-hike-a-focal-point-for-community/article_6ce907dc-e657-11e0-a576-001cc4c03286.html

it is indeed named after the same brothers:

"Gene Prater and his brother, Bill Prater, were the first to use Manastash Ridge as a training ground as early as the late 1930s or early 1940s, avid hiker Jack Powell said. Powell and Prater met through a mutual love for mountaineering and Powell described the Prater brothers as two of the best mountaineers in the Northwest at that time."

"Powell, a Washington Department of Natural Resources geologist, first began hiking the ridge with Gene Prater in 1965 at the age of 15. Since then, he has logged more than 1,000 trips up and down the ridge."

Prater family is very large. While Bill and Gene seem to be most mentioned in context of climbing, hiking and snowshoes, it appears other brothers and sisters may have been involved too.
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rbuzby
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PostTue Jun 30, 2020 11:05 am 
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Thank You for posting about Gene Prater.

I had some Sherpa claw snowshoes back in the 80's that I wore out, winter climbing Icy Peak, Annapurna, Dragontail and others.

Gene Prater once wrote a book of snowshoe hikes too.

I called his house to talk to him about snowshoes once, but I missed him by a couple years, he had already passed away.

Good to know he lives on, in Cascade mountain lore.
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kitya
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PostTue Jun 30, 2020 11:26 am 
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rbuzby wrote:
I had some Sherpa claw snowshoes back in the 80's that I wore out, winter climbing Icy Peak, Annapurna, Dragontail and others.

It is cool you had the Sherpa snowshoes!

And yes, he also lives on in his book, the book he co-authored with others is still being published by The Mountaineers, though I image this book might be a bit outdated now

https://www.mountaineers.org/books/books/snowshoeing-from-novice-to-master-5th-edition
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Sherpani, Peak 6564 (AKA Peak MD) and Paddy-Go-North - 28 Jun 2020
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