Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mesatchee & American Ridge (USGS Norse Peak) 10/25/2020
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 4243 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
  Top

Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostSun Jan 03, 2021 10:02 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Catching up on fall trip reports...

Date:  October 25, 2020
Destination:  Mesatchee 6240, American Ridge 6960 (USGS Norse Peak)
Party:  Matt, Carla, Elle

With the alpine larch season over, we headed down to American Ridge to find some western larches and visit a couple new summits.

Summary:
Some fine tall gold western larches lower down on Mesatchee Creek trail.
Mesatchee is a rocky brushy bump, of peakbagging value only.
Beautiful frosty ridge run up high on the American Ridge trail
American Ridge requires some steep scree scrambling, but great views.
Pretty skies and moon for a sunset departure.

Mesatchee Creek Trail to Mesatchee Peak

We parked at the abandoned road about 1.5 miles west of Lodgepole Campground.  This was a shorter connection to the Mesatchee Creek trail, but don't bother trying to drive on it, because there were some large trees down just 0.2 miles in.  Also, the second "footbridge" marked on the map is actually a crossing on a large log jam.  We hiked Mesatchee Creek Trail 969 to its junction with American Ridge Trail 958.

Partially frozen waterfall
Partially frozen waterfall
Larches in the valley looking back toward Chinook Pass
Larches in the valley looking back toward Chinook Pass
Western larch rising above the shadows
Western larch rising above the shadows
Variety of larch shapes and colors
Variety of larch shapes and colors
Fresh snow higher up
Fresh snow higher up

From the col, we followed the crest west to Mesatchee's false summit then a bit farther north to the true summit.  Fresh snow made the rocky parts interesting, but traction was still pretty good.  The hike to the peak was more interesting than the peak itself.

Hiking along the crest toward Mesatchee
Hiking along the crest toward Mesatchee
Rocky steps up toward the summit area
Rocky steps up toward the summit area
Looking back toward Elle & Carla who are between the summits
Looking back toward Elle & Carla who are between the summits

American Ridge Trail to American Ridge 6960

I continued onward up the American Ridge trail.  This was the most enjoyable hiking, as the trail curved upward along the crest, trees above me were frosty while, and the sun shone warm from south of me.  Up high on the ridge were broad flat areas that would have made a great camp.

Hiking up American Ridge, with Mesatchee and Rainier in the background
Hiking up American Ridge, with Mesatchee and Rainier in the background
Frosty meadows higher up, with Nelson Ridge & Aix in the background
Frosty meadows higher up, with Nelson Ridge & Aix in the background

American's summit looked more challenging.  The trail goes up high on Point 6946, but then I'd have to traverse over and around some rock outcrops to get to the true summit.

From the trail high point, my route was:  Follow the ridge down to a 6700-foot col.  Ascend brushier crest over 6800-foot high point to next col.  Descend screen 120 feet to get below rock ribs.  Follow goat path across steep scree to far side of basin.  Scramble up rocks and scree to notch before summit block.  Scramble up back side of summit block to top.

Thank you, goats, for your path across the scree!!!  The scree was steep, icy, and loose, but their path made for a much easier traverse across the middle.

For my return, I noticed a longer goat path that bypassed more of the crest and took me directly back to the 6700-foot col.

Also, thank you to previous peakbaggers who verified that the further east summit is lower, so I didn't have to go there.

Looking at the summit ridge
Looking at the summit ridge
Route from trail to summit
Route from trail to summit
Goat path across the scree (yellow x's)
Goat path across the scree (yellow x's)
Looking back at paths on the scree (white x's approach, red x's exit)
Looking back at paths on the scree (white x's approach, red x's exit)

Summit, Sunset, & Exit

For my summit meal, I tried a new flavor of black bean & lime soup.  It tasted okay, but was exceptionally ugly to look at.  By the time I departed, the sun was setting and moon rising.

Summit soup
Summit soup
Alpenglow on Kettle Peak
Alpenglow on Kettle Peak
Sun setting above the col where I need to descend
Sun setting above the col where I need to descend
Moon rising over American Ridge
Moon rising over American Ridge

Back on the trail, I hiked back to the 6550-foot col above Mesatchee Creek, and then dropped down cross county back to the trail at 4800 feet.  For the first 500 feet downhill, there was a boot track.  After that, it was just a dark descent by headlamp.

Looking back from the high point of the trail (pink x's are the scree traverse, colored to match the sunset)
Looking back from the high point of the trail (pink x's are the scree traverse, colored to match the sunset)
Last view of the moon over American Ridge, Nelson Ridge, and Bumping Lake
Last view of the moon over American Ridge, Nelson Ridge, and Bumping Lake
Ready to drop down into the valley and darkness
Ready to drop down into the valley and darkness

Stats:  15.6 miles, 4830 cumulative gain, 12:30 hours

--------------
ďAs beacons mountains burned at evening.Ē J.R.R. Tolkien
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 13102 | TRs
Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
  Top

Brutally Handsome
PostSun Jan 03, 2021 11:03 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks for this report, Matt. I was trying to get this one a week after you did. I didn't know about the short cut so our day looked like 19 miles. I had dinner plans and bailed after Mesatchee.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 4243 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
  Top

Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostSun Jan 03, 2021 12:02 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I found several tracks for that shortcut on peakbagger.  From the trail, you basically just start uphill a bit after you cross the creek at 4750 feet.  It's mostly open forest or meadows.

--------------
ďAs beacons mountains burned at evening.Ē J.R.R. Tolkien
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Nancyann
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Jul 2013
Posts: 1841 | TRs
Location: Sultan Basin
Nancyann
  Top

Member
PostSun Jan 03, 2021 9:13 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks for a fine report on a larch area that I did not know existed. Itís always nice to see the really tall ones, they seem so stately and grand! Iíve always felt that larches each have their own unique personalities. ( Probably need to have my head examined. clown.gif)
As for the soup, I also tried it and it tasted just fine, but sometimes there is only so much you can do to make black bean soup look pretty. smile.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mesatchee & American Ridge (USGS Norse Peak) 10/25/2020
  Happy Birthday payton!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy