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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Hozomeen Mtn (8066)
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Mike Collins
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Post Fri Jun 24, 2005 1:43 pm    Hozomeen Mtn (8066)
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This is one of two mountains that I had hoped to climb this year. The other being Klawatti. Hozomeen has called to me from the top of Ross Lake everytime I pass it on the North Cascade Highway. The name is a Lushootseed word for "sharp stone". When Henry Custer became the first person of European blood to visit the upper Skagit in 1859 it is the name the guides told him for the mountain. It might describe the sharp ridges as they scrape the sky at the edge of the Pasayten Wilderness. It is equally plausible that the word describes the chert quarries on its flanks which have been mined for thousands of years. Chert is used for knapping sharp tools. Scrapers for skins and adzes to hollow out a canoe are only two of the possibilities. Henry Custer had hoped to climb the peak but the clouds around the summit and the smoke filled air prevented him. The predominant forest of the area is lodgepole pine which combined with lightning strikes makes forest fires common. Indeed a lightning strike had happened recently on the ridge used for our ascent and the immediate area of the strike still smelled of smoke.
We drove south from Hope B.C. on the Silver-Skagit road 54 kilometers until just past the International Boundary. We parked our car at an unstaffed A-frame Ranger Station and self registered our destination. The planned approach was to be up the border swath. Believe it or not we couldn't find the swath. We only spent two minutes looking though as the swath was not our destination, the summit was. So we opened the map and determined a route the old fashion way. We would climb the western slope of Hozomeen and meet up with the West Ridge. That connected with the North Ridge which we were on until 6500 feet. We lost elevation to get into the snow basin beneath Hozomeen. Before descending we pieced together a planned route to connect with the NE ridge, our final route of ascent. The strategy was simple. We would follow the lines of lowest angle. That meant going to the slopes to the right of the top basin. Then we went left onto soft scree toward the NE ridge. At the end of the scree is a lateral ledge with vegetation on it. We crossed on this. There is one 12-15 foot section which has white-knuckled Class 4 exposure. Our harnesses remained unused on our hips as there weren't any rock horns or cracks to place protection. The greenshist bedrock had inconsistent degrees of hardness and some was quite brittle. Our holds held and it was the crux of the climb. We connected with the NE ridge near an elbow in the ridge where the slope changes from 45 to 20 degrees. About 40 feet from the elbow on the 20 degree side is where we breached the ridge. There is a lovely bivy site located here which is long on views but short on water. From there to the summit we were directly on the ridge. The register revealed Jim B. and I to be the first to sign in since August, 2003. Our descent was totally different. We went down the basin 2,000 feet and just crossed at a saddle immediately adjacent to the border. From there we made a descending traverse through 3,500 feet of forest. The forest was fairly miserable with miles of deadfall trees piled up like jackstraws. The slopes had groves of vine maple and patches of Devils Club to make the experience even more memorable. We arrived back at the car at 2130, some 13 1/2 hrs after leaving. A national park ranger drove by checking up on our well-being as he had reviewed the day-climb destination on our permit. I greatly appreciate his concern and professionalism.
Elevation gain; 6500 feet, Distance travelled, 16 miles
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Don
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Joined: 25 Apr 2005
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Location: Fairwood, WA
Post Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:45 pm   
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Way to go Mike!  Caught your desire on Klawatti.  You HAVE to get Austera in while you are in there.  Both can be done in the same day easily.  Austera gives you incredible views of the McAlister Glacier, which I believe to be the wildest in the North Cascades.

Ps.  Camping at Klawatti Col is pretty sweet too!
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Snowshoe Hare
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Joined: 03 Dec 2004
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Post Fri Jun 24, 2005 5:52 pm   
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Cool report. I enjoyed the close view of it from atop Desolation Peak. Kerouac wrote about Hozomeen while doing duty at the lookout in the 50s. Jeez what a stunning area, suitable for poets.  smile.gif
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Mike Collins
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Post Fri Jun 24, 2005 6:17 pm   
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I spoke of Jack Kerouac in a writeup done for wta.org on the same peak. He penned a playful quip while serving as a lookout; "Hozomeen, Hozomeen. The most beautiful mountain I ever seen." He continues in "Desolation Angels" with darker reflections on the peak. "...but what a horror when I first saw that void the first night of my stay on Desolation Peak, waking up from deep fogs of 20 hours to a starlit night suddenly loomed by Hozomeen with his two sharp points, right in my window black..." As Salinger captures the angst of teenage years Kerouac crystallizes the enthusiasm of a man on a mission of discovery. It is tragic that his pas de deux with alcohol cut his life short at age 47.
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Snowshoe Hare
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Joined: 03 Dec 2004
Posts: 1186 | TRs | Pics

Post Fri Jun 24, 2005 6:26 pm   
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Well fancy that. That was exactly the verse I was thinking of  too. I can see how he could think of the peak in sinister terms as well. I didn't know much about him at the time other than the general beat stuff. But I felt like I was doing my own little moment of discovery to go where he had gone.
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Tazz
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Post Fri Jun 24, 2005 6:27 pm   
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very nice TR I love the history lesson.

thankyou very enjoyable.

good work up.gif
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Trevor
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Post Fri Jun 24, 2005 6:43 pm   
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Yes, indeed quality work once again collins.Hozomeen is great stuff up.gif  We were assuming that you were probably bagging one of the peaks visible from our 5,500+ viewpoint yesterday, definitely a nice june day for it.

--------------
Trevor Anderson Photography
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