Forum Index > Trip Reports > Crook & Sylvester via Schaefer Lake, 9/20-21/2020
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 10, 2021 12:13 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dates:  September 20-21, 2020, my 61st Birthday
Destination: Sylvester 6913 and Crook 6930 via Schaefer Lake
Party: Carla, Brett, Don, Anna, Annette

Highlights of the trip:
Our camp at Schaefer Lake provided congenial company for the evening.
Up on the peaks, it was like hiking up an escalator of colors.  The larches hadn't turned gold yet, but their vibrant green color beautifully complemented the rich reds of the blueberry meadows.

Camp at Schaefer Lake
Camp at Schaefer Lake
Hiking up pathways of beautiful color
Hiking up pathways of beautiful color
GPS Track
GPS Track

Sunday

We hiked in on Sunday afternoon and arrived at Schaefer Lake around 3pm.  At the Chiwawa ford, I crossed the log jam, but others reported the ford was less than knee deep.

Annette, Anna, and Don had hiked in earlier, and Don was out visiting "D" Peak.  I had intended to hike up to visit "D" as well, but the company at camp was so nice that I stayed to enjoy the time together.  The meadows near the lake were quite colorful.

I brought along slices of angel food cake for my 61st birthday.  The colors are supposed to represent a blue lake, green forest, white snowfield, and pink and orange alpenglow.  I have many, many photos, because my camera somehow switched to high speed continuous mode, and I couldn't figure out how to turn it off.  The control was not in any my camera's 16 menus, 12 settings options, or 10 modes.  I finally found it on the upper side of the rotating rocker switch.

shoreside meadow at Schaefer Lake
shoreside meadow at Schaefer Lake
brilliant colors near camp
brilliant colors near camp
birthday cake
birthday cake
evening sun by the lake, with musical wavelets lapping against the rocks
evening sun by the lake, with musical wavelets lapping against the rocks

Schaefer TH to Lake:  4.6 miles, 2740 gain

Monday

Schaefer Lake to Sylvester Mtn (8:05- 10:50am)

Route to Sylvester:
1) Hike down the trail to the wilderness boundary and cross Schaefer Creek
2) Work your way uphill through steep forest (fairly open if you stay under large trees and avoid brush)
3) At 5600 feet is an unmarked cliff band - from the ridge crest, work left to find class 2 steps and ramps that provide the only access through the cliffs
4) Follow increasingly easy meadows upward, and then the easy open crest across to the summit.

The upper slopes were a feast of colors.  Most larches hadn't turned yet, but their bright green color beautifully complimented the bright red blueberry meadows.  It was a joy to hike upward through colorful pathways with deep views peaking over the edge of the ridge.

Crossing Schaefer Creek
Crossing Schaefer Creek
Looking down at Schaefer Lake
Looking down at Schaefer Lake
Hiking up the meadows
Hiking up the meadows
An especially fine meadowy aisle between columns of bright green larches
An especially fine meadowy aisle between columns of bright green larches
More bright meadow hiking
More bright meadow hiking
Looking back down the slope
Looking back down the slope

Higher up, a few larches had turned to add accents of gold.

Happy to hike near larches
Happy to hike near larches
Larches with Glacier, Clark, Bandit, and Buck
Larches with Glacier, Clark, Bandit, and Buck

The far end of the summit also provided a cool view all the way down the Napeequa to its confluence with The White River.

Confluence of Napeequa and White Rivers
Confluence of Napeequa and White Rivers
Napeequa valley and White Mtns
Napeequa valley and White Mtns
Chiwawa Ridge running up toward Bandit Mtn
Chiwawa Ridge running up toward Bandit Mtn

Sylvester Mtn to Crook Mtn (11:10am  – 1:40pm)

Route from Sylvester to Crook
1) From Sylvester summit, walk east to the first drainage, then drop down meadows and stream gullies to the wide headwater meadow of Raging Creek at 5600 feet.
2) Work farther east below Crook to get past the large boulder field, first along the stream, then at base of the boulder field.
3) Work upward among trees and rock bands, sometimes third class, to the base of the major gully of "Crook Creek" about 6000 feet.
4) Follow increasingly easier gullies uphill to the broad open basin, then wander easy grass, slabs and pumice to the top.

Travel from Sylvester to Crook requires dropping 1400 feet down to Raging Creek and then ascending back up.  Don and I continued, while the rest of our party chose a more leisurely return to camp.

Going down from Sylvester, we descended sometimes on steep meadows and sometimes in dry streambeds, angling sideways occasionally to avoid rock bands.  The variety of terrain and colors made for entertaining travel.

Descending from Sylvester toward Crook
Descending from Sylvester toward Crook
Crook route out ahead
Crook route out ahead
Looking back up at some of the terrain we descended.
Looking back up at some of the terrain we descended.
Meadow at head of Raging Creek, looking back toward Sylvester
Meadow at head of Raging Creek, looking back toward Sylvester

At the head of Raging Creek was a large grassy meadow, with the creek ox-bowing through it.  On the opposite side, a boulder field led up Crook, but we weren't sure we could exit it before cliffs at the top.  We worked our way farther east along the edge of the boulders, and then went up amid trees and rock bands, with a short stretch of class 3 scrambling on lumpy projecting rocks between stubby trees.

Farther up we reached gullies that had looked very steep from below, but actually lay back and were filled with stable rocks that made decent stair steps.  Above 6400 feet, the upper basin made a wide amphitheater to the top, highlighted with larches that had turned more golden in the northern exposure.  There are also a few tarns around 6600 feet, but they were partially dried up.

Ascending a gully around 6000 feet; it has a hidden exit rightward near the top.
Ascending a gully around 6000 feet; it has a hidden exit rightward near the top.
Nice gully stairway into the upper basin
Nice gully stairway into the upper basin
Larches in the upper basin
Larches in the upper basin
Easy hiking in the upper basin
Easy hiking in the upper basin

Crook has a broad summit with big patches of and pumice.  The sun came out, and it was very tempting to just stay and nap in the warm afternoon.  But we still had to go back down and up again to regain Sylvester's east ridge.

View northeast from Crook
View northeast from Crook
View north from Crook, and route back to Sylvester
View north from Crook, and route back to Sylvester

Crook Mtn to Schaefer Lake (2:15 – 5:40pm)

Route from Crook to Schaefer Lake
1) Descend Crook route back to grassy meadow
2) From middle of meadow, ascend forest to saddle just left of rocky areas of Point 5915
3) Follow meadows north of Point 5915 and west of Point 6170, and then make a slightly rising traverse to Sylvester's east ridge circa 6200 feet
4) Descend the Sylvester route and hike the trail back to camp

Don heading back down toward the gullies
Don heading back down toward the gullies
Sunlit larch along the way
Sunlit larch along the way
Descending in sunshine
Descending in sunshine

Once we had returned to Raging Creek, we still needed to ascend 700 feet again to regain the approach route on Sylvester's east ridge.  It was especially scenic between Point 5915 and the ridge.  All along the way, we were gifted with beautifully colored meadows opening up among the trees.

While hiking down the steep forest on Sylvester, around 5400 feet, I found an old ice axe half buried in the dirt.  I wonder how long it had been there.

Hiking through a meadow west of Point 6170
Hiking through a meadow west of Point 6170
Pretty and tasty
Pretty and tasty
Traversing back on toward Sylvester's east ridge
Traversing back on toward Sylvester's east ridge
More traversing
More traversing
Colorful hillsides
Colorful hillsides
Found ice axe
Found ice axe

Sylvester & Crook Round Trip: 8.9 miles, 4290 gain.

Schaefer Lake to Trailhead (6:10-8:35pm)

Hiking back down the trail, I wondered why the clouds were already tinted orange overhead.  Then I realized that, yes, the days are much shorter now, and sunset is just past 7pm.  Fording the river seemed more intimidating by headlamp, when I couldn't see the water depth, but it was still only knee deep.

Schaefer Lake to Trailhead: 4.6 miles, 2740 descent
Trip total:  18.1 miles, 7070 gain


Bonus Birthday present at home, my wonderful grandchild came to visit
Bonus Birthday present at home, my wonderful grandchild came to visit

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” 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
Sky Hiker
Member
Member


Joined: 03 Feb 2007
Posts: 1189 | TRs
Location: outside
Sky Hiker
  Top

Member
PostSun Jan 10, 2021 5:57 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
See any wildlife?
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
kitya
Fortune Cookie



Joined: 15 Mar 2010
Posts: 698 | TRs
Location: Duvall, WA
kitya
  Top

Fortune Cookie
PostSun Jan 10, 2021 10:36 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I'm very sad I didn't go to Crook when I went to Sylvester. Looks like Crook is super nice too.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
RichP
here and there



Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 4995 | TRs

RichP
  Top

here and there
PostSun Jan 10, 2021 6:28 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I still haven't gotten up that side of the Chiwawa. Looks very nice.  up.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
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



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

Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostSun Jan 10, 2021 11:37 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Sky Hiker wrote:
See any wildlife?

Didn't see any wildlife, though we did follow dear tracks uphill during some of the steep sections in the woods, since they usually know the best line to follow.

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” 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
Get Out and Go
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Nov 2004
Posts: 1939 | TRs
Location: Leavenworth
Get Out and Go
  Top

Member
PostMon Jan 11, 2021 5:53 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
up.gif  Crook looks like a seldom-visited destination.  So many opportunities for solitude when one is willing to go off-trail.  tongue.gif

--------------
"These are the places you will find me hiding'...These are the places I will always go."
(Down in the Valley by The Head and The Heart)

"Sometimes you're happy.  Sometimes you cry.
Half of me is ocean.  Half of me is sky."
(Thanks, Tom Petty)
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 > Crook & Sylvester via Schaefer Lake, 9/20-21/2020
  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