Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 4458 | TRs
|Here is Pilar's trip report for Voodoo Peak. Here are also some links to the peak we climbed, the central rib you see in the picture is the preferred route to the summit--and the one we climbed.
Getting there: Drive to Darrington and then follow the Mtn. Loop Highway
towards Barlow Pass for ~2.5 miles and take a right onto Clear Creek Rd
#2065. Follow it until you hit snow (at approximately 1,250’).
The trail: Stefan, Mike T and I started out a good 3 miles from where we
were anticipating beginning. The day began by Stefan’s Honda being stopped
by snow and the three of us piling in Mike’s truck and getting a good
hundred yards further (we almost couldn’t see Stefan’s car from Mike T’s
trucks high point!!). We began under “drizzly” skies that continued to get
“drizzlier” as the day progressed. Starting without snowshoes we donned
them after about a mile when the wet, heavy snow made “shoefree” progress
The day continued uneventfully as we slogged up the road finally crossing
Clear Creek road as the road forked with Copper Crk. After crossing Clear
Creek we continued up the road towards the “Witch Doctor Wall” before
deciding to go cross-country at around 1,600’. The going then got ugly,
post-holing through cut-over hemlock forest. We then crossed the main
stream emanating from the saddle between Voodoo and Helena Peak continuing
upward until we hit old-growth forest where we both lost snowshoes and the
going got steep!! The snow was always saturated with rain and
“ridiculously” heavy with almost continuous potential for post-holing. The
NW ridge of Voodoo (really more of a due west rib) just kept getting steeper
and steeper with each step. At this point it was becoming quite windy with
a “very occasional” sucker-hole that kept Mike praying and saying that “the
tide was changing” in our favor (…I don’t think so Mikey!!!!). This pipe
dream faded quickly as it got wetter and colder as we climbed higher. At
around 3,500’ the ridge became more distinct and the terrain near vertical.
Stefan led exclusively from this point onward, the first pitch he climbed
unroped while Mike and I wondered nervously below whether this was the right
way… not to be deterred Stefan shouted down that this looked like the way to
go as he threw the rope down to us. Mike used it as a hand-line while I
full on roped up to do this steep crack that ended up on vertical brush.
Once at the top of this gully we all roped up for the rest of the day.
We continued in this fashion doing a running belay with me in the middle and
Mike in the rear. Stefan continued plodding upward in horrendous snow
conditions taking us all the way to the summit ridge at around 5,100’. Once
on the ridge we’d hoped that we’d topped out on the summit but with only 5’
of visibility and blowing snow it was hard to tell. Unfortunately I thought
that I could make out some sort of rock formation just a bit higher a few
hundred yards to the south and of course we had to go check it out… so on we
continued crawling up one cornice and down another ending finally at a small
col before the (what seemed to be) the final summit pyramid. Now believe
you me this thing was intimidating!!! We still had about a hundred feet of
vertical up 40-50 degree slopes across a 30’ overhung cornice!
Stefan didn’t bat an eyelash as he led out with Mike barking instructions
and belaying him upward. In not time Stefan had made it to the top in what
was now a driving blizzard confirming that we now were on the summit (Voodoo
Peak 5,198’) whew!!! Stefan then proeceeded to downclimb the route while I
prepared myself for my turn at the summit (a turn that I really wasn’t
looking forward to!). Taking my time, Stefan urged me to hurry up as he
continued to freeze at the belay station while I embarked cautiously up the
steep slope. Needless to say I made it to the top while I posed on the
summit for a picture taken by Mike, I then walked “down” to the summit cairn
finding no apparent register. I then cautiously downclimbed the route while
Mike prepared to go up. Mike ran up this thing like it was the most natural
thing to do in the world and then down climbed the route pulling protection
(we only had pickets to protect the final pitch), making it up and back in
less than eight minutes with both time to rummage through the cairn and ask
us to pose as he took our pictures from the summit, Wow!!
Now that everyone was safely down we re-roped up and descended to the
section where Stefan had freeclimbed and set up our one and only rappel. I
went first taking about fifteen minutes as I spent most of the rappel
untangling the rope from the brush (this was my biggest contribution to the
climb, impressive eh?). Once down the others followed and we made quick
work descending back to our snowshoes (we’d left them around 2,200’) via
plunge stepping and glissading. We then re-donned our shoes for the 3-4
mile slog back to the vehicles, whew!!!
We began the day (I’d woken up around 3:45 am) at 6:30 am and were back at
the cars 12 hours later at 6:30 pm (a twelve hour day, ouch!) with about
4,000’ of elevation and ~12 miles of travel. In ending I’d just like to
say a few words that I’ve been dying to say, “who do Voodoo…? We DO!!!!!”
This was one of the few peaks in the cascades that none of us personally
knew of anyone as having done!!! Unheard of!!
Well take care kids!
Art is an adventure.