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Pribbs
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PostFri Jul 31, 2020 9:25 am 
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GPS track to download: https://www.gaiagps.com/public/rGaed8pEDDAxQRKcJDxRc5lj

Mount Larrabee is such a distinct, prominent mountain that is seen from virtually every hike on the north side of Mt. Baker and from the ski area, making it a tempting peak to climb. Three years ago I attempted this peak but we turned around about 400 feet from the top since we were running out of time and my partner was not as experienced. This time around I returned with a more experienced partner and a slightly earlier start time.

The road to Twin Lakes Trailhead is in its typical condition, but actually not as bad as I was expecting. Lots of bumps on the road but if you have a Subaru or better, you are golden. There is snow blocking the road before the main parking lot, but plenty of parking along road next to the first lake.

We set off at 9:45am and at the Wichester/High Pass junction we went right to High Pass. On the back side of Winchester the trail has several snow crossings that require an ice ax. On the switchbacks up to Low Pass the worst snow is avoidable by climbing up heather to the side. From Low Pass the trail continues of the gorgeous ridge with views getting better and better until you reach High Pass. From High Pass we continued up the trail another 1/3 mile or so until we came to a small path that goes left toward the snowy basin under Larrabee.


We made a rising traverse to the left and aimed for the high little tree line on the ridge to the left of Larrabee. We got off snow onto rock, dirt, and heather to ascend to the top of the ridge and the end of the tree line.


We then followed a faint path up the dirt/scree that angles up to the left until it reaches the base of the obvious big gully.


Up the gully we went, carefully dealing with all the loose rock. We got past the big boulder wedged in the gully (The Boulder Problem) and then came to what I consider the crux of the route (more so on the way back down). Then when we came to some water cascading down from lingering snow above, we looked to the right of the gully to exit it and gain the top of the rib to the right, marked by a cairn.


We climbed up this steep rib for a bit until we got above the snow to our left, then saw the next cairn above the snow on top of some tan colored rock. We found the place to drop off the rib to the left down to the top of the snow before heading up the band of tan rocks toward the next big cairn.


Soon we got to the point where the route becomes big loose flat plate-like rocks with about 500 feet to go. The key here is to as best you can stay right near the top of the rib, following cairns and occasionally a faint path. Don't get lured toward the loose gully off to the left. Keep following the rib up up up straight for the summit.


As you reach the summit, there are two summits next to each other that are close in height, but I think the flat summit area on the right side is the true summit (we tagged the other one just in case).


We reached the summit just before 2:30pm and stayed for about 40 minutes. Despite being a little hazy on this warm day, the views were so dramatic and rewarding! In your face is American Border Peak with a beautiful glacier at your feet. Look at all of the mountain ranges in B.C. and to your NW is the craggy Slesse Mountain. Look east toward Spickard, Redoubt, Jack, Luna, Challenger, the Picketts. South to Shuksan, Ruth, Goat East and West, Baker. West to Tomyhoi and Church Mountain.


We very carefully made our way back down EXACTLY the way we came up. When you get back to the big snow patch at the top of the gullies, do not get tempted to go down to the right of the snow and be sure to cross back over to the rib on the left that you came up. This is key! Carefully scoot your back back down the gully and past the boulder back down to the path down the dirt to the top of the tree line on the ridge.


The snow in the basin was softer and easy to descend back to the trail. The evening lighting made the scenery look stunning for the relaxing hike out. We returned to the trailhead at 6:30pm. Yes, 8 hours 45 minutes (including summit break) for a 7 mile round trip day.


Tip: Eat dinner at North Fork Brewery. Great pizza and big diverse craft beer menu (and great root beer for those of you who don't drink).

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Photos: https://www.facebook.com/PribbernowPhotography
Peakbagger: http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/climber.aspx?cid=20593
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Brushbuffalo
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PostFri Jul 31, 2020 11:56 am 
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Pribbs wrote:
where the route becomes big loose flat plate-like rocks

Larrabee is a peak on which I think it is probably safer to solo due to looseness. Or at least stay very close to each other,  or ascend and descend different loose gullies.  I don't recall it being any worse than loose class 3 with lots of options for routes. But as Pribbs states, beware of getting too far climber's left, where it is steeper and just as loose.

There was a mine on the north side of Larrabee but avalanches have destroyed pretty much all the artifacts.

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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Pribbs
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PostFri Jul 31, 2020 12:34 pm 
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I do a lot solo but due to the challenging and hazardous route I definitely am glad I did this with a partner. Group of 2-3 is ideal for this peak. We stayed fairly close together.

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Photos: https://www.facebook.com/PribbernowPhotography
Peakbagger: http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/climber.aspx?cid=20593
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gb
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PostFri Jul 31, 2020 2:22 pm 
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I remember Larrabee as one of the most hideous "climbs" I ever did - the worst rock. It would be skiable in winter/spring with stable snow.
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Tom
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PostFri Jul 31, 2020 11:42 pm 
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For some reason I don't recall it being that bad.  It was chossy for sure, but maybe we picked a decent line.
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Mike Collins
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PostSat Aug 01, 2020 7:42 am 
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gb wrote:
I remember Larrabee as one of the most hideous "climbs" I ever did - the worst rock.

Ditto that observation. The rock is so loose that every time there is a full moon that slight influence of gravity pulls more rocks to add to the pile. I think it is not coincidental that Dallas Kloke died on its next-door neighbor The Pleiades. The Pleaides shares the same rock matrix of phyllite and greenschist that have a tendency to split. He was as experienced a climber as anyone and l speculate he weighted a rock that housed a hidden fracture which gave out on him.
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Gimpilator
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PostMon Aug 03, 2020 11:04 am 
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Nice job!  That is a fun peak, even despite the loose rock and a few exposed sections.  It's right on the verge of Canada and might even tempt a hiker to explore further north.

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http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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Pribbs
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PostMon Aug 03, 2020 1:20 pm 
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Gimpilator wrote:
It's right on the verge of Canada and might even tempt a hiker to explore further north.

There was go going north. Straight drop to a glacier below. And even American Border Peak looks insanely challenging of a climb.

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Photos: https://www.facebook.com/PribbernowPhotography
Peakbagger: http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/climber.aspx?cid=20593
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