If you donít like reading long, boring trís please scroll down and check out the pictures.
Friday June 30, 2006
Destination: Black Mtn, Portal Peak, Red / Painted Mtn, Peak 6735 (Magenta Mtn)
I met Mike Collins at 4:45, and we headed to the Mtn Loop and the North Fork Sauk up FR 49. We were on the trail a little before 7 and headed up the trail to Red Mtn Lookout. Near the lookout we headed up the ridge toward Red Mtn and soon found the climbers trail. On the way we came across a grouse protecting her chicks. We easily followed the trail to about 5600 where the high country opens up, and the trail fades. As we neared the summit of Red we parted. Mike had already done Red and waited for me below on a nearby ridge as I went to check out the summit for the first time. After we joined back up we headed to the saddle between Red and Magenta. We were soon on Magentaís summit and getting a good look at the main objective for the day, Black Mtn. As we headed for Black the route was not as easy as the map seemed to show. The ridge is fairly cliffy, and we had to drop down on the south side several times to make it to the saddle between point 6716 and point 6824. From the saddle we headed across snow slopes on the northwest side of the ridge. We then kicked steps up a snow filled gully to connect with the northwest ridge of Black. We were soon standing on the summit enjoying the views.
It had taken us longer than we expected to reach the summit of Black. We were already starting to feel tired, but we did not want to head back the way we came. We would stay with our original plan of heading over to the PCT at Red Pass. We dropped down the east side of Black. This required some class 3 maybe 4 to get down. There is likely an easier way. After a short traverse below the summit we crossed over Black's south ridge and took a straight line path toward point 6844. To avoid added gain point 6844 was skirted around the west side. We then followed the ridge to non-prominent SkullCap Peak, nothing more than a mere bump on the ridge. There was a nice cairn on the top though. It was now time to head for Portal. Peak 6910 looked enticing but lack of energy had us traverse the Glacier Peak side of the peak instead of going over the top. Between 6910 and Portal we rested a bit at the saddle before making the last major gain of the day. On the summit of Portal we took in our last views of Glacier Peak and then dropped to Red Pass and the PCT. The walk out was pretty uneventful except for the crossing of the raging Red Creek. Fortunately, there is a logjam about 75 feet upstream that allowed us to cross and keep our feet out of the water. The trail seems much too long after a long day, and we were glad to reach the car some 45 minutes after dark. This trip was certainly not easy and we had to keep moving to make it in a day. The area is very beautiful though, and I canít wait to return. I would like to thank Mike for joining me on this trip and keeping us moving throughout the day.
It would have been nice to include White Mtn and do what I call the Color Traverse (Red, Black, and White Mtns), but with the time and my exhaustion summiting White did not seem prudent. I have no regrets. If you do try this trip in a day I recommend going the way we went, as you will be able to follow the trail out after dark.
Notes: Trip time 15.75hours. Reached the summit of Red in 3hours. Our ascent route of Black is probably faster that the reverse as it took us 7.5hrs car to summit and 8.25hrs summit to car. Black to Portal was about 3.75hrs.
Nic report and pictures Justus. Fifteen hours makes you realy appreciate your car when you finally see it. I have never spent any time that close to glacier peak, it was nice to see it though through the lens of your camera.
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