Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mt Townsend 4-15-07
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Guiran
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Guiran
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PostMon Apr 16, 2007 7:20 am 
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Since there appears to be continued debate within the group over who's responsibility it is to write the TR, I'll start by posting some pictures.

Given the avalanche forecast, our group of seven (Dicey, Matt, Yana, Cartman, BenTheBeerman, Mark, and myself) opted out of Merchant and headed further up the valley to climb Mt. Townsend.

Pictures now, text later. Good times had by all, of course.

Ascending (partially) buried alder
Ascending (partially) buried alder
Paradise Meadows
Paradise Meadows
Paradise Meadows
Paradise Meadows
Crossing Eagle Creek
Crossing Eagle Creek
Dicey contemplates Townsend
Dicey contemplates Townsend
Looking towards the summit of Townsend
Looking towards the summit of Townsend
Giant Cornice of Death
Giant Cornice of Death
Cool blocks and untouched slopes
Cool blocks and untouched slopes
Mark coming down from the summit
Mark coming down from the summit
Snowy tree
Snowy tree
Dicey, Yana, and Cartman on the ridge
Dicey, Yana, and Cartman on the ridge
Moving back along the ridge on Townsend
Moving back along the ridge on Townsend
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Tazz
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Tazz
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PostMon Apr 16, 2007 7:24 am 
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eek.gif  great images Brian!!!   wish I was there.... good stuff!!!
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dacker
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Joined: 27 Sep 2006
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Location: the end of my rope
dacker
little black dots
PostMon Apr 16, 2007 7:34 am 
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Looks like fun stuff!

About that time, I was hanging from prusiks on a rope off of Barney's Rubble, coaching students in mountaineering boots up a thin friction slab. But when they actually "get it," and you see the little light bulb turn on...that's really gratifying. Teaching isn't for everyone, but I love it.

Now...looks like Merchant is still on the menu. Gotta cheer for that!  biggrin.gif

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We don't stop hiking because we grow old; we grow old because we stop hiking. --Finis Mitchell
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Dane
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Dane
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PostMon Apr 16, 2007 11:20 am 
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Is that the Mt. Townsend in the Olympics? None of the other names are ringing a bell (Merchant, Eagle Creek) so I can't tell if this is Olys or not.

Either way, nice pics and it looks like a good trip.

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Without judgement what would we do? We would be forced to look at ourselves...

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Mesahchie Mark
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Mesahchie Mark
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PostMon Apr 16, 2007 11:51 am 
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Dane wrote:
Is that the Mt. Townsend in the Olympics? None of the other names are ringing a bell (Merchant, Eagle Creek) so I can't tell if this is Olys or not.

Either way, nice pics and it looks like a good trip.

This Mt Townsend is off of Hwy 2, just north of Baring...

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Cheers,

Mesahchie Mark
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Canuck
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Canuck
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PostMon Apr 16, 2007 12:14 pm 
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Thank goodness.  I was emailing Tamster off-line about this and said it didn't even look recognizable to me as the Mt. Townsend I know (Olympics).  I thought I was losing my mind.   dizzy.gif
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Guiran
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Guiran
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PostMon Apr 16, 2007 12:15 pm 
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Hmm... I would have thought the rock quality visible in the photos would have immediately disqualified a peak in the Olympics.  hockeygrin.gif
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Randy
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PostMon Apr 16, 2007 3:42 pm 
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Cool.  up.gif

Looks a lot more intersting this time of year.
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Canuck
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Canuck
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PostMon Apr 16, 2007 5:03 pm 
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Guiran wrote:
Hmm... I would have thought the rock quality visible in the photos would have immediately disqualified a peak in the Olympics.  hockeygrin.gif

You would think so.  That, and the creek crossing you have a picture of.  But for some reason (probably lack of coffee) made me question it.  I sat there going "this doesn't remotely look like Mt. Townsend."  I should have trusted my gut!!
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Gil
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Gil
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PostMon Apr 16, 2007 5:09 pm 
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Cool! Excellent cornice!
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Mesahchie Mark
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Mesahchie Mark
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PostMon Apr 16, 2007 10:23 pm 
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OK, I'll add something...
Fun trip!  Started just before 8 AM, ended about nine hours later.  Weather made it interesting - I was covering up and applying sunscreen at the same time!

Here are some more pics:
Frosty Trees
Frosty Trees
Thru The Woods
Thru The Woods
Townsend South Slope
Townsend South Slope
Guiran on the Edge
Guiran on the Edge
Gully_Townsend
Gully_Townsend
Cornice
Cornice
Townsend Descent
Townsend Descent
Matt The Sentinel
Matt The Sentinel

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Cheers,

Mesahchie Mark
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Tazz
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Tazz
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PostMon Apr 16, 2007 10:29 pm 
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that cornice is making me drool!!! slobber.gif
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Matt
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Matt
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PostTue Apr 17, 2007 12:52 am 
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We ascended Townsend (USGS Baring) by taking the trail to Barclay Lake, the fisher’s track to Stone Lake and Paradise Meadow, then kicking steps the wide long south face of Townsend, and following the corniced ridge to the summit at its far eastern end.  I’m surprised that Townsend is so rarely done as a spring trip.  Once the Barclay Lake road melts out and avy conditions are moderate, it’s an enjoyable route, with cornices on the ridge and views of Merchant & Gunn for entertainment.

Map
Map

We had originally planned to do Merchant.  However, the avalanche forecast seemed custom made to deter us from the gully and high south-facing slopes on Merchant:  “locally considerable danger on sun exposed terrain where recent new snow should become wet and weak… be aware of terrain above intended route… even small loose slides from higher rocks can be difficult to escape… can take a victim in terrain traps.”  Okay, so we decided to do Townsend, which is also an avalanche slope, but is wide-open so that it’s easier to assess as you go and has no terrain traps.  As it turned out, the weather stayed mostly cloudy and didn’t soften the snow too much, but there was new snow all the way down to the trailhead, which would have made for slippery climbing on Merchant.

We found almost an inch of fresh snow all the way down at the Barclay Lake trailhead, 2200 feet.  We hiked the trail to the far end of Barclay Lake, crossing over a dozen downed logs.  The crux of the whole route might be to make the correct turn at the east end of the lake.  Just at the end of the lake, before crossing a small puncheon bridge, turn left and follow a faint track uphill, past a “toilet” sign.  The track is vague, but it keeps you in passable forest as you work your way uphill into the drainage that leads to Stone Lake.  If you miss the turn and go too far east, the brush in the center of the drainage is awful – slide alder so thick that you climb through it without touching the ground.

Track to Stone Lake
Track to Stone Lake

About halfway up, we had to put on snowshoes to avoid postholing in some brushy areas.  Visibility was poor, but we just stayed between the ridges and the drainage delivered us uphill to the col by Stone Lake, where the snowy woods were particularly pretty.

Postholing
Postholing
Higher in the drainage
Higher in the drainage
Col near Stone Lake
Col near Stone Lake

We continued NNW and dropped down to Paradise Meadow and Eagle Creek.  The creek itself was melted out, with vertical eight-foot banks of snow.  We found a crossing where you could lower yourself down one side by hanging onto tree branches, hop onto a big rock mid-stream, and then climb the other side by stemming between a tree trunk and the snowbank.

Blue snow glasses
Blue snow glasses
Crossing Eagle Creek
Crossing Eagle Creek
Paradise Meadow
Paradise Meadow

From here on, the clouds opened enough to give us decent views of the long south slope of Townsend ahead and occasional views of the steep east side of Merchant.  We kicked steps up the 1500-foot slope and reached the crest just east of the 5500-foot closed contour.  Ben was having bad leg cramps and elected to stay behind in a tree clump circa 5000 feet.

Above Eagle Lake, Dicey & Yana
Above Eagle Lake, Dicey & Yana
Above Eagle Lake, Mark & Eric
Above Eagle Lake, Mark & Eric
Nearing the top
Nearing the top
At the ridge crest.  Summit is the furthest rocks in the distance.
At the ridge crest.  Summit is the furthest rocks in the distance.

Near the crest there was an interesting change in the snow surface.  Approaching from the south, winds had swept off almost all the snow and exposed the top edges of all the heather and rocks.  But beyond those the snow turned back to solid white, stretching out further to a ragged edge.  Yep, cornice city.  The prevailing winds turn the entire north edge of this ridge into long lines of cornices.  We made sure to keep visible solid ground under our feet for the rest of the trip.

Corniced bump
Corniced bump
Traversing across
Traversing across
At the base of the summit rocks
At the base of the summit rocks

From the ridge, the summit was the furthest rocky point we could see eastward, with a couple other bumps into between.  We traversed along south of the bumps and up the summit.  The cornices and slopes made it all look quite dramatic.  The last bump before the summit had an especially big cornice.  The summit rocks looked steep, but had solid ledges to the top.  It was actually a very comfortable summit, with a register and a big flat block for a bench to sit on.

Summit
Summit
Summit Group
Summit Group
Summit Tea
Summit Tea
Matt at the summit
Matt at the summit

We stayed an hour on the summit, as the clouds played hide and seek, throwing curtains of gray across the scene, but then pulling back more and more to yield views of the surrounding terrain.  The cloud curtains made the scene more dramatic, because the peaks were revealed and hidden in bits and pieces, providing more anticipation and appreciation of each revelation.  Toward the end, the whole ridge crest of Townsend came clear, with pointy spires of Merchant and Gunn sticking out of the clouds beyond.  I had to re-take my summit tea picture after the tea was almost gone, because the view suddenly cleared up.

Townsend ridge east of summit
Townsend ridge east of summit
Gunn?
Gunn?
Townsend & its neighbors
Townsend & its neighbors
Departing the summit
Departing the summit
Traversing back along the ridge
Traversing back along the ridge

On the way down, we got in about a thousand feet of glissading down the long slope.  The snow was soft enough that I wasn’t afraid of crashing so I let my speed exceed my stability, and one glissade ended with sort of a rolling somersaulting crash.  I just made sure to keep all the pointy parts of my ice axe away from me until the sky and snow stopped cartwheeling around me.  Then I worked on scraping the snow out of all the opening in my clothes while the others looking on with odd expressions of mixed worry and hilarity.

Glissading 1
Glissading 1
Glissading 2
Glissading 2
Glissading 3
3 labels
Glissading 3

On the hike out, Merchant appeared one more time as we approached Eagle Lake.  Further down, the huge dark scary bulk of Baring slowly emerged from the clouds.  At Barclay Lake, we spent a few minutes looking up at Baring and trying to figure where the north face route could go.  Yana dipped her head in the water and it came out steaming.  Apparently her brain is very hot.

Merchant & Eagle Lake
Merchant & Eagle Lake
Baring emerges
Baring emerges
Baring
Baring

Round trip 8 miles, 4000 gain, 10 hours

Footnote 1:  The nwhikers spellchecker suggests that “Yana” should be corrected to “Hyaena.”  That seems rather harsh.

Footnote 2:  There must have been a carryover effect from Friday the 13th.  On Friday, I lost my work keys, but I found them on Monday.  On Saturday, my son lost his baseball glove, but found it later in the weekend.  On Sunday, I lost my glacier glasses.  I know where I could find them also, sitting on the summit of Townsend.

Footnote 3:  Never trust any directions I give regarding east and west.  In the original draft of this report, I wrote "west" in seven different places where I meant "east."

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Tazz
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Tazz
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PostTue Apr 17, 2007 4:56 am 
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Matt you have some incredible action shots in that group. Good stuff!  thanks for the report.
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dicey
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Joined: 11 May 2004
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Location: giving cornices a wider berth
dicey
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PostTue Apr 17, 2007 8:14 am 
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Matt wrote:
On the way down, we got in about a thousand feet of glissading down the long slope.  The snow was soft enough that I wasn’t afraid of crashing so I let my speed exceed my stability, and one glissade ended with sort of a rolling somersaulting crash.  I just made sure to keep all the pointy parts of my ice axe away from me until the sky and snow stopped cartwheeling around me.  Then I worked on scraping the snow out of all the opening in my clothes while the others looking on with odd expressions of mixed worry and hilarity.


Glissading 3
3 labels
Glissading 3


lol.gif  Labels added

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I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
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