Forum Index > Trip Reports > Cultus Mountain (almost) Skagit County 6-25-06
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1801 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostMon Jun 26, 2006 12:30 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
After completing 'coffee hour' duties this morning, I was staring out the window longingly at Mt. Baker... contemplating my unplanned (due to an unexpected availability) outing for the day.

While I was dreaming of a snowy visit to Park Butte, a call to the Ranger Station informed me that snowmobiles are still allowed up there... but today is the last day.  Bummer - I'm not up for thin Ice Bridges AND snowmobilers.

Aha!  A perfect opportunity to attempt the summit of Cultus Mountain.  A beautiful day and the summit is cloud free.  Frequently the summit is obscured with low clouds even on the sunniest of days.

Cultus mountain isn't a very exciting looking mountain.  However, I see it daily from Mount Vernon so I put it on my 'to-do' list for just this sort of opportunity.  To see Cultus Mountain, look East from I-5 when you are in Mount Vernon (College Way exit specificially).  The highest point is Cultus Mtn.

It's already 1:30pm before I start pulling my gear together for this challenge.  I'm not aware of a trail to the top, but I've previously attempted to map out some logging roads, with a final 500 foot bushwack ascent since it seems the roads don't really go there in a very direct manner.  The string of logging roads starts just east of Clear Lake (located on Hwy 9, north of Mt Vernon, south of Sedro-Woolley.  First, locate Judy Reservoir and then follow the map.
Made it to the red flag... 12.2 miles round trip, +2,700ft elevation gain, 3 hours, 20minutes (with a bike)
Made it to the red flag... 12.2 miles round trip, +2,700ft elevation gain, 3 hours, 20minutes (with a bike)

This route is long and pretty steep... more than 6 miles each way, gaining about 3,000 feet.  Not extreme by Cascade standards, but in +80degrees on logging roads with limited shade I was expecting more than moderate hardships and discomfort.

I parked my vehicle at the gated logging road and started my journey at about 2:30pm.

My mountain bike allowed for fast progress... for the first 2.25 miles.  After that, the slope increased significantly and my legs started burning.  It's probably been 11 months since my last bike ride so this didn't surprise me.

Progress slowed considerably while I alternated between pushing the bike and riding the bike on less-steep sections.  Progress might have been faster without the bike, but it was going to be an unforgettable ride down - for sure!
Green AND level
Green AND level
Near turnaround point
Near turnaround point

It was hot.  Hot!  The road alternated between old forests (not old growth but pretty mature... tall cedars with minimal ground cover) to barren recently logged areas, back and forth, back and forth.

The scenery was nice but the position of the sun made it difficult to obtain any high quality viewpoint shots.  Sunset could have been spectacular as you can see out to the San Juan islands - but that wasn't on my agenda for today.
Clear Lake
Clear Lake

At about 3:45 or so, my upper legs started to cramp up... similar to what I experienced while attempting to summit Desolation Peak a few years ago.  Being years smarter, I continued with lots of water, gatorade and solid nourishment and slowed my pace a bit... and took advantage of the periodic shade afforded by the few unharvested evergreens.

I considered turning around, but figured I had the time and was well stocked with food and water, so I continued onward and upward.

Finally, I rounded one of the two final corners before I would reach the location where I had originally intended to bushwack toward the summit.  By now, I knew that bushwacking was not going to occur today - I'll save that for another day.

Suddenly there was a loud ruckus just a short ways up the road and down into the depths of deep forest.  The bright sun from the west caused dark shadows in the trees such that it was impossible to see what the commotion was.  Fearing a bear encounter may be in my future I began talking loudly and making noise to make my presence known.  In my condition my only defense would be pray and use my bear spray in hopes I don't collapse from leg cramps.  I paused and listened.  More ruckus... sounds like something BIG is splashing in the water... stops...more splashing.  Likely an animal cooling off or playing.

My yelling didn't seem to have any impact in encouraging this creature into leaving.  Should I continue onward?  What if I reach my destination in 1/4mile, turn around and find a bear has caught my scent (and some scent I'm sure it would by by that point in time) and come up to the road to investigate?  Unlikely of course... but I'm solo, with cramps, 6 miles from the car on a gated road... all alone.   I wasn't going to make the summit anyway... yep.  Time to turn around.  I put a red flag on the map at my turnaround point.  Shortly thereafter the planned route leaves the road for an unknown adventure to the summit.
Flowers
Flowers
More Baker
More Baker
Road Less Travelled
Road Less Travelled

So close... going to have to go back.  I'll pick another sunny day, but with much milder temperatures.

FWIW, it  you are considering trying to follow my tracks, go right ahead.  I will warn you however, that the summit is forested so once up there you may not have a view of anything, even if it is cloud free.  I can say that it would be cool to camp along the higher portions of the road to see a sunset and maybe some soft light at sunrise.

Returned to vehicle at 5:50p.m.  Didn't see or hear a single person the entire trip.
Post Excursion
Post Excursion

Elvis

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
My Trip List
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
Andrew
Member
Member


Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 1178 | TRs
Location: Arlington
Andrew
Member
PostMon Jun 26, 2006 12:49 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
On my way to school, I always wondered if there was a route up to the top and if people ever bothered to go up it.  Nice report.
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
Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1801 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostThu Jun 29, 2006 4:17 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
The Native American word "cultus" means "bad, useless, of little value.

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
My Trip List
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
Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1801 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostThu Jun 29, 2006 4:47 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
For those of you who read the trip report...

I did a little subsequent terrain review using the Microsoft Virtual Earth Beta (ariel view) which shows that my expected bushwack section is actually a road.  What a pleasant surprise that would have been.

View potential still unknown.

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
My Trip List
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
mike
Member
Member


Joined: 09 Jul 2004
Posts: 5839 | TRs
Location: SJIsl
mike
Member
PostFri Jun 30, 2006 3:49 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
FWIW Dept:

Cultus Mtn. isn't really the high point of the mountain as it appears to be from Mt. Vernon. The peak to the SE is the true summit even though it appears to be lower. I was up to the summit marked "Cultus" on TOPO!  right after the second logging when it was 500' or so through slash and brush from the last landing. Not much for views as the top is rather flat. Now there looks to be some kind of communication site up there so I would assume a service road to the summit. My Dad has some old slides from the early 50's right after the original logging when they did a winter ski ascent. Great views with rime ice on the snags.

Cultus is accessible from many sides. Gilligan Ck., Walker Valley and Lake Cavenaugh for starters. It's a maze of roads up there and easy to get lost. A good bike trip might be to do a traverse by continuing on off the end of the first big switchback. This will end up at Gilligan creek. Fairly flat too..
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
LostandFound
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2006
Posts: 68 | TRs
Location: Silverdale/Bremerton
LostandFound
Member
PostFri Jun 30, 2006 7:19 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I have done this hike many times from the Boy Scout Camp- Fire Mountain.  I have worked there for many years and now do volunteer work for the camp with trails from time to time.

The summit is the two radio towers and the power station that runs them.  From that point you get a great view over the valley.  Beware though, I did this last summer in late July i think and stayed only long enough to grab a bite of my sandwich and sip of water.  The dear flies and horse flies are horrendous and will eat you for lunch if you stay too long.

--------------
You can't be lost if you don't care where you are.
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
Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1801 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostFri Jun 30, 2006 8:25 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks for the info, everyone.

It is quite the maze of roads up there.  I was really glad I brought my map and GPS because they prevented me from making at least one wrong turn.

Is there any kind of decent or interesting view to the East?  Seems like quite the expanse of forest back there.

L&F - funny enough, I had never heard of Fire Mountain until Tuesday of this week - a coworker is going there with her son for Boy Scouts... and borrowing one of my packs for her trip.

That conversation led me to the Fire Mtn website... where I found the meaning of 'cultus' which I posted above... then the Virtual Earth review.

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
My Trip List
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
cultusfan
Member
Member


Joined: 08 Jul 2006
Posts: 2 | TRs
Location: Mount Vernon WA
cultusfan
Member
PostSat Jul 08, 2006 9:12 pm 
cultus info
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Can anybody give me some information on the crater on the west side of Cultus Mountain?  This would be much appreciated...I have been wondering for many years what the deal is.

Thanks...
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1801 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostSun Jul 09, 2006 10:03 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I'm not sure what crater you are talking about.

Are you referring to the half-moon shaped valley just above the 122.09.000 marker on my map (of which you can only see the northern half of)?

If so, I don't have an answer.
Sorry.

~E

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
My Trip List
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
mike
Member
Member


Joined: 09 Jul 2004
Posts: 5839 | TRs
Location: SJIsl
mike
Member
PostSun Jul 09, 2006 12:29 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Not a crater, I think it is a large slide the debris from which can be seen below it. The road from Walker Valley winds up through the large rocks etc.  The relief stands out when viewed from Pleasant Ridge with low angle sun. Another similar slide can be seen on,  you guessed it, Slide Mountain on the Nooksack R.  east of VanZandt. It appears to be from about the same time erosion-wise so I'd guess it to be the result of a large earthquake.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
cultusfan
Member
Member


Joined: 08 Jul 2006
Posts: 2 | TRs
Location: Mount Vernon WA
cultusfan
Member
PostSun Jul 09, 2006 12:42 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks a lot!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Riverside Laker
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 2260 | TRs

Riverside Laker
Member
PostMon May 07, 2007 7:07 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
We tagged the mighty and feared Cultus lookout site yesterday. The gate where Elvis route starts was unlocked but wisely we parked the rig outside the gate. A guy was working with a backhoe a quarter mile further. On our return we found the gate locked.

Although this would make a great bike trip, we did it on foot, using Elvis' route. There has been a lot of logging and the roads are fairly smooth. We cut the first switchback a bit but ran into pesky brush. Where the USGS shows a single-track "trail" near the top (was it a cat track?), we followed up hoping to track an abandoned trail. Alas, it's too brushy and the nearby forest was far too tempting. It's relatively open and was covered with a few large snow patches. So it was an easy romp up to the towers. Naturally, it began to rain, so we hid in the trees and scarfed down sustenance. We dropped down the south side in fairly open forest to the road and enjoyed the view from near the borrow pits. Unfortunately, the view looked the same in all directions due to copious airborn moisture. So we high-tailed it back down the road. The cult of Cultus summitteers is a unique one, indeed.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Sabahsboy
Member
Member


Joined: 18 Jul 2006
Posts: 2479 | TRs
Location: SW Sno County
Sabahsboy
Member
PostThu May 10, 2007 7:40 pm 
Cultus mysteries
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Many years ago I attempted Cultus.  Unphased, I went back and managed to wind through the maze of alder thicket roads, eventually reaching the summit and relay towers (buzzing) and discovering the access road reaching the summit.  Satisfied that there were no good views, he returned to where I started, now lost in the fog of memory.  Can't say I'd do it again.  What I did have was a very nice day of sun and pretty clouds...I do recall that much...and the brush, bushwhacking and thicketeering.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Elvis
Shuffl'n



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 1801 | TRs
Location: del Boca Vista
Elvis
Shuffl'n
PostSat May 12, 2007 7:24 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Here are a couple of pics of Cultus Mtn... since everything else is 'from' Cultus Mtn:

Cultus Mountain
2 labels
Cultus Mountain
Cultus Mtn
Cultus Mtn

These were taken from Skagit Valley College, just north of College Way... accessible via the College Way exit off I-5 in Mount Vernon if ya don't know.

See the clearcut happy face (profile)?

~E

--------------
"Ill habits gather unseen degrees, as brooks make rivers, rivers run to seas."  ~John Dryden
My Trip List
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
Stefan
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 4194 | TRs

Stefan
Member
PostMon May 14, 2007 11:58 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Does anyone know if the ONLY gate on Cultus is the gate at the base by elevation marker 714T?

What I want to know is if there is a second gate for the road that heads north at the elevation between 1880' and 1920'?

--------------
Art is an adventure.
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 > Cultus Mountain (almost) Skagit County 6-25-06
  Happy Birthday Anatoli!
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