Forum Index > Trip Reports > Massie Lake High Route   Sept 12-14
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daffish
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daffish
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PostWed Sep 16, 2009 9:00 pm 
The route is an old sheepherders trail that traverses through the high basins along the SE ridge of Fortress Mtn. The 1965 book “Routes and Rocks” has a description that is still a good guide to follow. Not much seems to have changed since the authors surveyed the route long ago.
My first day was a long haul up the Buck Creek Trail until continuing on a good path to the meadow below Pass No Pass and a campsite in the trees.
Mountain Gentian in Pass No Pass meadow
Mountain Gentian in Pass No Pass meadow
berry delicious
berry delicious

The next morning, I committed to the route, curious as to what I would find. It starts out very clear and distinct right from the campsite and after a rising traverse it goes to a small meadow.
start of high route trail
start of high route trail
morning on Liberty Cap
morning on Liberty Cap
the high route contours upwards
the high route contours upwards
Glacier Peak above Buck Creek Pass
Glacier Peak above Buck Creek Pass

The tread always disappeared in the meadows, but could usually be seen on the other side.
trail thru a meadow
trail thru a meadow

After it crossed a prominent spur, the path descended sharply several hundred feet to cross a stream. Alas, this stream course was literally filled with avalanche debris; a jumbled mess of tree trunks, limbs, branches, dirt and bad vibes. Yes, after clambering over, through, under, and around the obstacles, I lost the trail. But on the hill above the debris, a little exploratory bushwhacking brought me back to the path. Soon, the path contoured open slopes and several times I had to stop and question if I was indeed still on the trail or not. But I always picked it up again shortly and continued on into the next basin. The further east I got; the fainter the tread.
around a spur into another basin
around a spur into another basin
faint path on the slopes
faint path on the slopes
Mt Cleator across the valley
Mt Cleator across the valley
along the high route
along the high route

Every time I turned a corner, the marmots would announce my presence with a high piercing whistle that alerted all their buddies to an “INTRUDER”. In the basin next to the 6082’ knob, I watched a pair of eagles hunting the slopes. The marmots were conspicuously silent. I again found the path on the uphill side of the knob amid more avi knocked down trees and shortly after lost it for good. Now, I had to figure how to get above the slabby cliffs. Instead of dropping down and losing elevation to explore a likely draw between the rock ribs (which is the route described in the book), I chose to climb the grassy slopes and scramble a short gully to the top.
route finding thru the cliffs
route finding thru the cliffs

Hoof prints, goat hair, a boot print, and an obvious animal trail at the top vindicated my choice. 
above  the cliffs looking back at 6082 hump
above  the cliffs looking back at 6082 hump

The animal trail contoured the open slopes until it faded out to nothing. These open dry slopes are covered with small boot-wide terraces where seemingly a path runs along for a hundred feet or so until fading out to nothing.
view down Buck Creek Valley
view down Buck Creek Valley
traversing open slopes
traversing open slopes

After a while, I dug out the topo and determined that I needed to be a couple of hundred feet higher to hit the ridge where I wanted to be. So I zigzagged my way upwards to the ridge. On the ridge, I immediately spotted a well used trail just below me.
rock promontory at ridge
rock promontory at ridge
view from the ridge
view from the ridge

And now, sure of my success, I took a nap. When I got to Massie Lake, well, yes, I took another nap.
Massie Lake
Massie Lake
Massie Lake shoreline
Massie Lake shoreline

Stats (for high route only)
~ 4.5 miles
A lot of minor up and downs between 5800’ and 6400’
4.5 hrs
Massie Lake High Route
Massie Lake High Route
Google view of High Route
Google view of High Route

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Kim Brown
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PostWed Sep 16, 2009 9:13 pm 
Damn.  Nice trip report.  R&R rocks. up.gif

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" I'm really happy about this! … I have very strong good and horrible memories up there."  – oldgranola, NWH’s outdoors advocate.
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Hanzsek
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PostWed Sep 16, 2009 9:54 pm 
MLHR
I (and a partner) had come through that route exactly that you took two days prior.  We saw you had signed the trail register as we exited.  That was our boot prints at the top of the scruffy little gully, too.  Did you happen to find my friend's pocket knife that he left on top the 6082' knob?  Have any trouble picking up the trail to cross the river?  We hemmed and hawed a bit before deciding to trust the altimeter and compass...

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Marmot Bait
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Dayhike Mike
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Dayhike Mike
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PostWed Sep 16, 2009 10:24 pm 
Great first post! Thanks for the trip report! I'd like to do this one myself one day.

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"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostThu Sep 17, 2009 1:02 am 
up.gif on the illustrated photos and maps.

We did a trip that crossed the Fortress south ridge a few years ago and I never figured out where the Massie HR went (we weren't trying to follow it). Great report. Isn't that area fantastic in good weather!

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DIYSteve
seeking hygge



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DIYSteve
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PostThu Sep 17, 2009 6:37 am 
Welcome. wave.gif Excellent. up.gif   MLHR is on my list.  Gotta luv Tabor & Crowder.

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silence
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silence
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PostThu Sep 17, 2009 7:34 am 
sweet .... very sweet .. way to get out there and do something different .. i'm jealous

hey chris (hanzsek) .. i just realized that was you .. howdy pal .. great to see you out there too .. where's your pix???? we gotta get together for a hike sometime  -- kathy biggrin.gif

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PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. – Bob Dylan
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wamtngal
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PostThu Sep 17, 2009 7:44 am 
Very nice!  up.gif  up.gif  Have had the MLHR on my list for quite awhile now...thanks for the great detail too.

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silence
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silence
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PostThu Sep 17, 2009 7:45 am 
btw .. anyone .. i have the maps/pdfs for the challenger and glacier peaks quads of r & r but nothing for that area or chelan .. did i miss them?? are these also posted online and where again?

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PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. – Bob Dylan
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Schroder
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PostThu Sep 17, 2009 8:01 am 
This area is in the same book (Routes & Rocks) and you can download it from Tabor's site

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Malamonster1
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PostThu Sep 17, 2009 10:13 am 
Yeah, we also did this route starting on the 11th with our Malamute.  Spent the first night at Helmut Butte after bushwacking over avy debris instead of walking a couple more miles to Buck Pass and then over.  The next day we too ran into that gigantic slide path.  Took awhile to get through there.  We came in north of Massie lake vs. traversing further to the south where the trail actually goes.  It was a more direct route but we had to down climb that steep scree/talus/heather field on the north side of the lake.  Beautiful lake!!  We couldnt believe we were the only ones there on such a great weekend.

We didnt find a pocket knife.  However, if someone's heads that way I left my eye glasses at the nothern most campsite at the lake.  They are black titanium.

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Tom
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PostThu Sep 17, 2009 10:18 am 
Love the labels on the map.

"no path or possible animal trail" rotf.gif

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HitTheTrail
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PostThu Sep 17, 2009 12:20 pm 
I was actually thinking of dayhiking or doing a one-nighter to Massie Lake next week. How is the Chiwawa River crossing?

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Hanzsek
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PostThu Sep 17, 2009 12:32 pm 
Chiwawa crossing
Crossing the Chiwawa was short and easy once you find the vicinity to cross...  We got suckered into following a trail remnant northward along the river thinking it would lead us to an easy crossing and efficient boot path beyond but it kept going - probably an abandoned river trail.  There are two pieces of flagging on the trees marking the spot.  Once across we found additional trail remnants but no clear route up to intersect the Chiwawa River trail.  We just went the path of least resistance in a ENE direction and that worked well.

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Marmot Bait
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daffish
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daffish
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PostThu Sep 17, 2009 2:23 pm 
Crossing the Chiwawa is easy. Here is what it looked like when I came across - 
Chiwawa River crossing
Chiwawa River crossing

A very clear path from the Chiwawa River Trail heads downhill to the river crossing at the LARGE rock.

Hanzsek - So that was your boot prints that I kept occasionally seeing. I saw the path to the top the the hump but did not go up. So I did not find the knife.

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