Forum Index > Trip Reports > "It looks like it goes..." -- 9 Days in the ALW - 8/4-8/12
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Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Posts: 10967 | TRs
Location: Going to Tukwila
Dayhike Mike
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Bad MFKer
PostMon Aug 13, 2007 9:12 pm 
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Jeremey and Tisha (the dynamic duo otherwise known as Schmidt Altitude) and I just returned from a nine day "grand tour" of the ALW. We had a good time revisiting many of our old favorites, but also got to cover some new ground and see some new sights.

Day 1:

We got an early start Saturday morning and headed east to the Mineral Creek trailhead. Sunny skies awaited us on the east side of the crest and it looked like it'd be a great start to a long backcountry trip.

Noticed two others prepping their packs in the parking lot when we arrived: Marylou and Odonata! We chatted a bit as we packed up and then headed up to greet the brushy unmaintained morass that is the Mineral Creek trail. Met a couple parties coming out the Mineral Creek trail, but saw no one after we reached Park Lakes.

Winds picked up a bit as we approached Glacier and the reason became apparent as we descended to the lake -- large clouds had ensconced Chikamin and Lemah and bad weather was seeping over the top of the crest. We decided to play it safe and decided to camp a bit below the pass to avoid getting wet on our first night in.

Posing at the Parks
Posing at the Parks
Weather's rolling in...
Weather's rolling in...
Descending to Glacier
Descending to Glacier
Ready to raft
Ready to raft
Jeremy's in the freezer
Jeremy's in the freezer
Icebox and the Four Brothers
Icebox and the Four Brothers
Mossy waterway
Mossy waterway

Day 2:

This was a very very long day.

Great colors at Chikamin, lots of steep loose talus traversing to Grebeci, and hot temperatures rising up the valley and traversing to Taocrevo, but at the very least, we had nice weather for the entire day and all the clouds stayed down in the valley while we traversed the Italians. Gotta love high pressure inversions. wink.gif

We stopped walking at 8:30pm and I fed the heather twice. Tasty!

Morning at the Tarns
Morning at the Tarns
Glacier and Chick Magnet
Glacier and Chick Magnet
Stunning colors and stony rims
Stunning colors and stony rims
Agua Chica
Agua Chica
Chikamin
Chikamin
A long look back...
A long look back...
Descending to Grebeci
Descending to Grebeci
Schmidt Altitude floating the 'berg
Schmidt Altitude floating the 'berg
Last light on Overcoat
Last light on Overcoat
Ready to rise
Ready to rise

Day 3:

Weather stayed nice for us and even cleared up as we descended to the valley floor and rose again to reach Drofwarc. Sadly, as we ate our dinner, ominous tendrils of mist and cloud begin to curl over the ridge to the north. This was to be the last good weather we'd get for a while.

Overcoat and misty 'boots
Overcoat and misty 'boots
Overcoat again
Overcoat again
Under the Overcoat Glacier
Under the Overcoat Glacier
Close-up of glacier run off
Close-up of glacier run off
Rising on talus to Cindy's shores
Rising on talus to Cindy's shores
Drofwarc Tarn and Summit Chief
Drofwarc Tarn and Summit Chief
Camp tarn and Drofwarc
Camp tarn and Drofwarc

Day 4:

We rose to find ourselves socked in, with clouds and mist threatening to rain. Low visibility made navigation a little difficult as we dropped over the ridge to the north, but we managed to get down to the right elevation and began to traverse to Nori Pac.

Rain was falling, but the clouds lifted from time to time and offered us some partial views as our reward. Hit the ledge at 5400 and continued traversing to Iron Cap Gap. Finally, we rose from the gap in heavy winds and rain to make camp in a sheltered spot just north of the Tanks.

Angeline and Azure
Angeline and Azure
Traversing on Talus
Traversing on Talus
A touch of color
A touch of color
Leaving Nori Pac
Leaving Nori Pac
Building cairns again?
Building cairns again?

Day 5:

Weather wasn't much better in the morning, so we decided to head north and check out Tahl and Foehn. Tisha and Jeremey, full of energy, headed down to visit Bonnie, but I contented myself by wandering around the plateau a bit.

A little after noon, sun began to break through the clouds and eventually opened up. We broke camp at 3pm and headed east to La Bohn via a high traverse. Found a party of four camping at La Bohn Gap including a member here -- BigSteve.

We'd planned to camp at Lepul this night, but decided that La Bohn might offer a bit more protection in case the bad weather returned.

"I'm not cold...!"
"I'm not cold...!"
But on closer inspection...
But on closer inspection...
Tanks in the morning
Tanks in the morning
Tisha at Foehn
Tisha at Foehn
Foehn detail
Foehn detail
Tahl outflow
Tahl outflow
Tahl outflow horizontal
Tahl outflow horizontal
Tahl outflow vertical
Tahl outflow vertical
Azurite, Otter, and copycat tarn
Azurite, Otter, and copycat tarn
Tank vertical
Tank vertical
Tank horizontal
Tank horizontal
Ilswoot and Cloudy
Ilswoot and Cloudy
La Bohn Outflow
La Bohn Outflow
Down the outflow waterfall
Down the outflow waterfall
Northern La Bohn
Northern La Bohn
Overhanging rocks
Overhanging rocks
Overhang close-up
Overhang close-up

Day 6:

Headed up onto the shoulder of Hinman under sunny skies. BigSteve had told us better weather was on the way and we were thankful for the warmth.

At the top of the ridge, we dropped pack and headed north to Lepul. Unfortunately, we stopped just short -- steep soft snow kept us from dropping the final 400 feet and reaching the shores of Lepul and better views of Hinman Lake. We headed south to grab our packs and head on...this would be a long day.

We rose toward the summit of Hinman and met BigSteve's party returning from their successful trip up. At the top, we dropped onto the Foss Glacier and then traversed onto rock to descend to the tarns to the NE below. Sadly, the mists and fog had returned and our views were less than optimal.

From the tarns, we headed across the Lower Foss Glacier and crossed the gap between Daniel and Hinman. Finally we traversed west across the southern slopes of Hinman to reach our campsite for the night, perched on a cliff high above Rebecca and Rowena.

Southern La Bohn
Southern La Bohn
Southern La Bohn again
Southern La Bohn again
Middle and Northern La Bohn
Middle and Northern La Bohn
Rising up
Rising up
Shoreline detail
Shoreline detail
Ridgeline tarn
Ridgeline tarn
Ridgeline tarn vertical
Ridgeline tarn vertical
First views of Lake Hinman
First views of Lake Hinman
Hinman and Lepul
Hinman and Lepul
More tarns and the northern ridge
More tarns and the northern ridge
Wishing wistfully for Lepul
Wishing wistfully for Lepul
Hinman and Lepul
Hinman and Lepul
Jeremy and Tisha on the Foss Glacier
Jeremy and Tisha on the Foss Glacier
Glacial melt
Glacial melt
First views of the NE Hinman tarns
First views of the NE Hinman tarns
Jeremy, the human cairn
Jeremy, the human cairn

Day 7:

Weather improved overnight and we happily dropped to Rebecca and Rowena and soaked in the views under warm sunny skies. Soon, we were rising up the ridgeline toward Rowena Pass and dropping on talus to the Chain Lakes.

At Williams, we met a ranger camping for the night. She told us that good weather was on its way and we happily headed up to the Dutch Miller Gap. Tish and Jeremey enjoyed another side trip to tarns near the gap while I descended to set up camp at Ivanhoe.

Rowena, from the Gap
Rowena, from the Gap
Rowena horizontal
Rowena horizontal
Ivanhoe Waterfall
Ivanhoe Waterfall
Waterfall pool
Waterfall pool

Day 8:

We followed the Cascade Crest trail for a bit before heading off cross country toward the Summit Chief Tarns. Following a combination of goat paths and blind luck, we managed to make it into the basin with these beauties and I enjoyed another swim.

We rose on steep snow and rock to the ridgeline, then back down to Summit Chief Lake for one last bagged lake. After a short break, we began discussing food....real food...maybe Mexican food, or fondue!

With renewed vigor , we rose to Escondido Ridge and traversed to the Escondido Tarns. There we met two nice ladies, Linda and Billie, who were going to bag Summit Chief the next day. They graciously offered to help us get back to our car that very evening and perhaps realize our dream of fresh food, clean sheets, and warm water.

After our break at the tarns, we began the long, flat, long, nigh interminable, long, boring descent down the PCT to the valley floor. Somewhere along the way, we lost the inspiration we'd felt on top, and reality and soreness settled in. We camped at the Lemah Creek junction.

Traversing into the valley
Traversing into the valley
Lower Summit Chief tarn
Lower Summit Chief tarn
First views of the upper tarn
First views of the upper tarn
Mmm...swimming rock
Mmm...swimming rock
Tarn on ridge
Tarn on ridge
Wishbone Tarn
Wishbone Tarn
First view of Summit Chief Lake
First view of Summit Chief Lake
Interesting rock
Interesting rock
Summit Chief Lake
Summit Chief Lake
And the first Vista Tarn
And the first Vista Tarn

Day 9:

We rose early and headed with renewed vigor for the Pete Lake trailhead. The 6.7 miles flew past and we were out.

Thanks to Tisha and Jeremy for a great trip! You two are truly a great couple to travel with and have truly impressive energy and stamina. This was not an easy trip to make and they made it a real pleasure.  up.gif  up.gif

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"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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jenjen
Moderatrix



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 7620 | TRs
Location: Sierra stylin
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Moderatrix
PostMon Aug 13, 2007 9:19 pm 
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Dang, buddy!  I'm tired just reading that!

up.gif  up.gif  up.gif   What a trip!

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If life gives you melons - you might be dyslexic
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Magellan
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Brutally Handsome
PostMon Aug 13, 2007 9:20 pm 
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biggrin.gif Thank you sir, may I have some more? chow.gif
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Mtn Dog
Technohiker



Joined: 01 Aug 2004
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Mtn Dog
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Technohiker
PostMon Aug 13, 2007 9:22 pm 
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DH Mike:
And by now I would have thought you'd had enough of the Italian Traverse last year!  shakehead.gif   What an amazing trip - fun to see, and fun to share.  As a side note, wouldn't it be more Italian to call it, "PacNori?"  lol.gif

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Footprints on the sands of time will never be made sitting down.
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 4198 | TRs
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Matt
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Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostMon Aug 13, 2007 9:22 pm 
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Wow, lot of lakes.  Looking forward to the pics.

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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trailjunky
Backcountry Bumpkin'



Joined: 14 Jun 2004
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trailjunky
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Backcountry Bumpkin'
PostMon Aug 13, 2007 9:25 pm 
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Holy crap, that trip sounds awesome, cant wait for the pics.
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Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 23293 | TRs
Location: Cle Elum
Backpacker Joe
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NWH Joe-Bob
PostMon Aug 13, 2007 9:27 pm 
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Wow, Im not sure I could have kept up. Nice work. up.gif

--------------
"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

— Abraham Lincoln
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Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Posts: 10967 | TRs
Location: Going to Tukwila
Dayhike Mike
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Bad MFKer
PostMon Aug 13, 2007 9:48 pm 
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
Wow, Im not sure I could have kept up. Nice work. up.gif

I can only speak for myself, but it was definitely quite a challenge. smile.gif We had a good time, but we had quite a few long days.

Tisha has the stats re: elevation, but I know I started with 16.5lbs of food and a 47 pound pack. I ended with less than 8 oz. of food and down 13lbs of body weight.

--------------
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
"Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment." -Solomon Short
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Tom
Admin



Joined: 15 Dec 2001
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Admin
PostMon Aug 13, 2007 10:04 pm 
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joker
seeker



Joined: 12 Aug 2006
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seeker
PostMon Aug 13, 2007 10:30 pm 
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Yeehaw - that's quite a trek. Way to not let a little gate crimp your style!
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Schmidt Altitude
Whippet Entourage



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
Posts: 802 | TRs
Location: The Quah
Schmidt Altitude
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Whippet Entourage
PostMon Aug 13, 2007 10:41 pm 
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Great summary of the tour Day....er 9 Day Hike Mike  wink.gif  biggrin.gif !  We had a memorable and superb time touring the alpine lakes.  Sorry there's no pics yet Tom.....we're having a bit of trouble sorting through all 1300 pics we took (plus would it be wimpy to say we're still recovering?  bawl.gif).  We'll try our best to post some by tomorrow....stand by for lake splendor!  agree.gif

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"Forest 101: These big wood stick things are called trees.  The big rocks are called mountains, and the little rocks are their babies."  Elliott from Open Season
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
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Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostMon Aug 13, 2007 10:48 pm 
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1300 pics.  Darn, you doubled my record.

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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ActionBetty
Im a dirty hippie!



Joined: 06 Jul 2003
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Location: kennewick, wa
ActionBetty
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Im a dirty hippie!
PostTue Aug 14, 2007 12:31 am 
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Ive been waiting for this TR, I was planning on suprising you all with a visit at the end of your trip if it wasnt for this darned JOB thing suuure.gif

sounds like 9 days of bliss  cool.gif

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"If you're not living good, you gotta travel wide"...Bob Marley
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TeeJay
Sofa King



Joined: 11 Jul 2005
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Sofa King
PostTue Aug 14, 2007 3:24 am 
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Wow. borank.gif

Sounds like a 12-14 day trip squeezed into 9 days. Gnarly.

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It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellowmen. -- George MacDonald
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Kat
Turtle Hiker



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Kat
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Turtle Hiker
PostTue Aug 14, 2007 5:43 am 
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Incredible journey!  You were carrying more food than my overnight pack weighs!  And sorry to hear you "fed the heather twice" if I interpreted that correctly.....

Can't wait to see pics of my favorite places, and those I'd like to make it to some day....
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