Forum Index > Trip Reports > Ramparts-Alta Pass-Glacier-Chikamin-Fall Colors-10/7-13/2012
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contour5
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contour5
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PostMon Oct 15, 2012 2:06 pm 
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Three Queens from Chik-a-Bro Four.

I went up through Lillian on the short, steep Rocky Run trail.

The weather was perfect- sunny and cool with no bugs.
Lillian Lake was looking lovely with some nice burnt sienna tones creeping around in the crusty, old, dried-out shrubbery.

As I continued up through the Twin Tarns, the color increased, with reds, yellows and other colors I probably can't even name.
Some smoke or haze off toward  the south-east, but I never smelled smoke on this trip. I spotted a smallish fire over by Cooper Lake, and watched it burn for a couple of days from up on Chikamin ridge. Pretty spooky looking to see the flames at night.

The Twin Tarns were running low but still holding water.
It was a Sunday, so there were lots of day hikers stumbling around, shouting into their awesome cell phones.
I went over the hill and camped at Rampart Lakes.
By sunset, there was nobody else around.
I was surprised to find a lot of flowers in the meadowy areas above the lakes.
Purple flowers in Ramparts meadow

In the morning another hiker showed up and we walked over Alta Pass together.
It was... unusual to have somebody just glom on to my trip suddenly,
but Greg and his unleashed dog were pretty good company, so it all worked out ok.

The colors were leaping out of the bushes as we made our way over to the Lilas.
Meadow colors on the route to Lila Lakes
The view from Alta Pass is breath-taking.
I went down the gully just below the peak, while Greg and his dog found a switchback trail from up by the summit of East Alta.
We met up again down by the snow patch in the meadow below.
The trail down through the steep brush below the meadow was faint to non-existent, but not really difficult to follow. The terrain and the deer tracks sort of funnel you down the hill to the big talus apron that leads over to the PCT in the meadow below the other Alta Pass ( the one the PCT crosses-what's the real name of that pass?).

Greg was headed for Stevens Pass, so he dropped off at Park Lakes and I continued west, camping in a mossy swale overlooking the upper lake.
It was still 50 degrees after sunset.
The sky was clear and filled with stars so I left the tent in the bag and just slept out in the open.
The moss on this little creek was a bright, almost florescent orange when I first spotted it, but it faded as the sun set.
Upper Park Lake

In the morning I was totally soaked with condensation and deer saliva. Took all morning to dry out, then I headed over the hill to Glacier. The views from Park/Glacier saddle are spectacular. It is, after all, the gateway to the fabled Stone Kingdom.
Spectacle Lake. This little bench is a fine spot to sit back and dangle your feet out over the lake.
Stone Kingdom
Lemahs from tarn above Glacier Lake
Three Queens

I sped by Glacier Lake and went up past the monolith.
Pretty sure it was a third class move to get this shot, although the exposure was mostly aquatic in nature. A little more climbing led to the lesser-most Chikamin Lake; known in some circles as Icebox Lake, although I've always referred to it as Chick-a-Bro Four.
Chick-a-Bro 4, aka Icebox Lake.

Lots of flat, rounded slabs and meadowy corners at the lake and on the route up to Chikamin Ridge. This is really fine walking country, and it was especially pleasant to visit during extraordinarily fine weather. This place is like a slice of heaven when the conditions are right.

The color is not "enhanced" in this photo- I actually had to reduce the saturation so it wouldn't blow your eyeballs right out of their sockets.

Conditions were perfect for camping on Chikamin Ridge. The huckleberries were all gone; the leaves as brittle as potato chips, and not nearly as easy to digest.
Sunset was actually not that great, but the ridge lit up nicely.

Saw these goats climbing up through a little pass on Chikamin
Sorry, crappy digital zoom.

So, I tried to climb Chikamin and failed. Got up to the big crack next to the overhang and could not do the next move. Or, I guess I could have gone up, but I wasn't sure I could get back down. Sorta bummed about the fail, but climbing isn't my thing, obviously.

I have another sort of connection with this place.
Hey- That's my name! A distant ancestor/relative carved his name here in 1899. Nobody in my family had ever heard of Lawrence Denny Lindsley before his name came up in a discussion about the rock here on NWH.

Scary looking curly-forehead clouds started showing up so I bailed down to Glacier.
Tarn in basin below Four Brothers
Icebox outlet
Glacier outlet
Glacier outlet area. The colors are not enhanced- I think I actually dialed this one back, as it was overexposed.

Friday I woke up to rain in my face. I decided to run for Alta Pass, but as I passed above Park Lakes a heavy bank of fog rolled right over the ridge and covered the mountain and filled the valley below me. I lost the faint trail, climbed too early and got confused and disoriented. It was pouring rain and I was bushwhacking through chest-high brush on a very steep hillside, slipping, cursing and generally not having the best day ever.

So I ended up bailing out through Park Lakes, followed by 5 miles down Mineral Creek. The TH parking lot was empty, it was pouring rain, and I was soaked. It was getting cold all of a sudden. I baked my undies dry and walked up over Cooper pass in my cheap rubbery rain gear.

What a beast of a road-walk! I rested at the Cooper Lake turn-off, and tried to hitch a ride. It was starting to get dark, and I was beginning to get desperate. My down bag was pretty wet.

Twenty cars came out of Cooper Lake, and none of them would give me a ride. I walked down to Salmon la Sack, in drizzling rain, arriving just before sunset. Lots of cars coming down the Cle Elum, but nobody stopped. I camped in the rain right there at the intersection.

In the morning there wasn't much traffic, so I set off walking for Cle Elum. My pack was probably about sixty pounds at that point, so progress was fairly difficult. I got about 5 miles when a really decent hunter guy from Cle Elum stopped and gave me a ride to town. Thanks for saving my life, dude. You will always be remembered.

I hung out in Cle Elum with an old road hippie who was also trying to bum a lift. Finally a roofer named Mark pulled up and gave me a ride all the way back to my car at Rocky Run TH. Mark will never be forgotten. I shall name all of my children after him.
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Hutch
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PostMon Oct 15, 2012 3:50 pm 
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I know the feeling on that final move. A month ago I got there and almost turned around out of fear that it would be too sketchy on the way down. Didn't end up being as bad as I imagined - I got on my butt and slid down a little ramp to the right rather than down-climbing. Better safe than sorry though.

I know it's been mentioned on here, but where exactly is that Denny rock at?

Really love Glacier Lake and that whole climb is fun. Granite wonderland.
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contour5
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PostMon Oct 15, 2012 4:30 pm 
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The rock is on Chikamin Ridge, just a little west of the low point, between 4 Bros and Chikamin
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D. Inscho
Not bored yet...



Joined: 28 Feb 2010
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D. Inscho
Not bored yet...
PostTue Oct 16, 2012 8:09 pm 
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What a report!  The buildup of fabulous pictures and sweet x-country navigation had me singing along, remembering my own travels of trips past redface.gif

Then you pulled the bliss-rug from underneath as things began to unravel bawl.gif  ...so close to making your exit.  You actually had to walk UP from the Mineral Creek TH huh.gif   Anyway, thanks for the capable story-telling and plush photos up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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http://david-inscho.smugmug.com/

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see --HD Thoreau
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
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GaliWalker
Have camera will use
PostWed Oct 17, 2012 8:05 am 
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I'm extremely surprised that this trip report has had so little play to-date. Excellent trip, lovely photos. Pity about the exit, but stuff happens. I've had my share of similar ill-luck, when trying to hitch a ride back to my car after a long hike.

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'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography site: http://galiwalker.zenfolio.com/
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iron
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iron
getting old
PostWed Oct 17, 2012 9:19 am 
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great story telling! glacier lake is indeed quite a gem.

i didn't realize there was a move on chikamin. seemed like a trail to the top???

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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Hutch
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Hutch
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PostWed Oct 17, 2012 9:37 am 
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iron wrote:
i didn't realize there was a move on chikamin. seemed like a trail to the top???

No biggie for an experienced climber, but enough to give you pause if you're a hiker just wanting to bag some peaks. Just involves hoisting yourself up a few feet - not a huge deal going up but on the way down it requires some down climbing and feeling around for footholds. I did it when I was there a month or so ago with a partner, but to be honest if I was in the OP's position and was doing it solo I probably would have ended up turning around as well.

There's also a bit of a fork in the road on the way up that will corkscrew you to the left but not bring you to the summit.
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Force9
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PostWed Oct 17, 2012 9:49 am 
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Really beautiful photos.  I hope you donít mind I snatched one for my desktop background.  Yeah, what a change in weather between Thursday and Friday.  Did you know that was coming?  Greate report   up.gif  up.gif  up.gif
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Magellan
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PostWed Oct 17, 2012 10:26 am 
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One of the best reports of the entire year!!   up.gif   up.gif  up.gif  Really nice photos and great story telling.
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HitTheTrail
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PostWed Oct 17, 2012 10:29 am 
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This TR is starting to shame me into getting a better camera!  up.gif  up.gif
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Snowday
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PostWed Oct 17, 2012 1:53 pm 
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Thank you for the great trip report!  I'm at home helping out my mother, and haven't been able to get out much this summer so my hiking has been done vicariously through NWhikers.

Your TR really picked up my spirits.  I wish I could get out there.
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Matt
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Matt
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PostWed Oct 17, 2012 10:00 pm 
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Nice account of the travel past all those lakes.

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ďAs beacons mountains burned at evening.Ē J.R.R. Tolkien
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Ramparts-Alta Pass-Glacier-Chikamin-Fall Colors-10/7-13/2012
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