Forum Index > Trip Reports > North Twin Sister 09/15/07
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Yana
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Yana
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PostSun Sep 16, 2007 7:23 pm 
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Cast of Characters: Dicey, Amy, Jeanine (sp?), and moi.

We drove to the trailhead on Friday evening with the hope of car camping and getting an early start in the morning. Things began ominously when we missed the turnoff off Mosquito Lake Road, but we back tracked and quickly rectified the situation, finding FR 38 in short order but not without some confusion.

Expecting a quiet evening, we were surprised by the arrival of a large group of campers armed with various coolers and other fun items. Luckily, they chose to camp across the river, which drowned out any noise they may have been making.

We retired early to our various chosen sleeping locales. I decided to try sleeping in my car, which turned out surprisingly restful. Dicey had not had much fun in her bivy sack outside, where she had been molested by a mouse for most of the early morning hours. Initial investigation revealed that the dastardly creature had somehow snuck into her pack (serving as a pillow at the time), chewed through her food bag and found some yummy trail mix. However, it was later discovered that it had also chewed a prodigious hole in her bivy sack as well.

We set out on the gated road on our bikes, where I felt a bit daunted by the fact that everyone else had spiffy and useful mountain bikes, whereas I had a cheap, rusty piece of junk. Then, just to prove some sort of point, the chain on my bike fell off about 300 yards up the road. Later, my bike refused to switch to the lowest gear without some help from Amy. While this might sound bad, I actually decided to just walk up and push the bike for most of the way. It was much more efficient for me and not much slower than riding given the steepness of the grade.

After about 2.5 miles, there is an intersection where the route stays right - the various descriptions dicey and I had suggested an overgrown, brushy road, but this has been recently cleared and is now a very large gravel road replete with large earth moving machinery. The grade lets up here, and we were able to bike most of the next 2.5 miles to the final turn off - this road is actually brushy (as advertised) and much narrower, but still in good shape. The road makes a switchbacking ascent, where I just put my head down and didn't stop until it finally dead ended at a clearcut. Ostensibly, there is a perfect view of the west ridge of North Twin Sister from here - our chosen route. However, all we could see were low clouds. Oh well. At least the trail to the ridge was easy to find.

Due to a bizarre series of events, we misplaced Jeanine for about an hour on this stretch, but finally all of us gathered at the "trailhead," stashed our bikes, and trudged up through blueberries to the ridge. Initially, the ridge is timbered, but soon opens up and becomes rocky and the scrambling fun begins. And is it ever fun! The rock is solid, very grippy, and has super jugs at every turn.

Amazingly enough, around 5200' we found ourselves surrounded by blue skies, having left the low clouds below us.
Morning on North Twin Sister
Morning on North Twin Sister

We stayed fairly close to the ridge and enjoyed awesome scrambling.
Amy on Ridge
Amy on Ridge

I was playing catch-up most of the way up the ridge, and occasionally would glimpse various members of my party higher on the route.
Jeanine on ridge
Jeanine on ridge

Luckily, they were nice enough to wait up and we gathered for lunch just in time to see North Twin's higher neighbor come out of the clouds.

South Twin Sister and Fog
South Twin Sister and Fog

At one point, we momentarily separated because dicey and I wanted to find what Beckey describes as a "gable" in his route description. I always thought gables were vertical support structures, but apparently what he meant was a very narrow but flat section of ridge, which is what I think this was:

Carla on the gable
Carla on the gable

We mostly followed the ridge up and over the false summit to the true summit, where views of Mt. Baker finally opened up:
Baker
Baker

Also, the proximity of Canada shone through in various ways.
Blame Canada!
Blame Canada!

The views from the summit were gorgeous, particularly with the peaks rising out of the low clouds. In addition to Mt. Baker, the view of south Twin Sister was particularly striking.

South Twin Sister
South Twin Sister

I could even see my nemesis Whitehorse peeking above the west ridge of South Twin Sister, and some things very far away in Canada.

We lounged about on the summit for some time.
Carla and Amy on the Summit
Carla and Amy on the Summit

I tried for a more creative foot shot,
Summit Foot Shot
Summit Foot Shot

and attempted to put the rest of the group to sleep by reading the geological description of the area from the Beckey guide.

Eventually, it was time to go.

Descending the summit
Descending the summit

On the way down, I was able to take more pics since I was once again last but this time with the advantage of being above everyone instead of below:
Descent Gully Fun
Descent Gully Fun
Amy on Descent
Amy on Descent
Descent
Descent
Carla Descending
Carla Descending

The downclimbing took some time and we were all fairly tired by the time we reached the bikes. Not being a mountain biker at all, I was afraid that I would maim myself on the descent, but miraculously failed to do so. Even the exciting water bars on the first part of the descent did not do me in and were even kind of fun. We descended ~7 miles in about 45 minutes. Never have I had a trip end in this kind of exhilaration. Usually the end is a death march lasting for hours on end, but not this day. Wow! What a rush!

We arrived at the trailhead invigorated and happy. Thanks to dicey for putting this trip together and picking another excellent destination. Hopefully, she will add some better pictures, too.

Edited to add: after getting back to the trailhead, naive optimism took hold and while Amy and Jeanine chose to retreat back to civilization, I dragged dicey over to the Yellow Aster Butte Trailhead for another night of car camping and a try at Tomyhoi peak the next day. We ascended into fog, which became insanely thick as we reached the tarns. Dicey wisely suggested we turn around at this point, and we beat a hasty retreat, stopping only occassionally for some blueberry grazing. My Sherpa informed me that the wind chill was 35 degrees. BRRRRR!!!!! Because the trip wouldn't have been complete without it, rain accompanied us the last 1.5 miles on the hike out. Oops! Sorry, dicey.  frown.gif

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PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
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Tazz
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PostSun Sep 16, 2007 7:35 pm 
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bawl.gif  bawl.gif  bawl.gif  bawl.gif  my dream trip. It has some of the best scrambling and an awesome downhill bike ride.... bawl.gif  bawl.gif  bawl.gif

I wanted to sooo be on this trip. Oh well another time. Maybe solo. biggrin.gif

great tr and pics lady!!  Good stuff. from now on you or dicey have to write the reports. i suck at writing compare to you two.
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Magellan
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Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Magellan
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PostSun Sep 16, 2007 8:19 pm 
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Great TR Yana.  Another one bites the dust.  Was Dicey the only one with a brain bucket?  Did any rocks cut loose?  How many feet worth of scrambling is there?  Way to get after it.
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Yana
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Yana
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PostSun Sep 16, 2007 8:44 pm 
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Magellan wrote:
Great TR Yana.  Another one bites the dust.  Was Dicey the only one with a brain bucket?  Did any rocks cut loose?  How many feet worth of scrambling is there?  Way to get after it.

I too had a helmet. The ridge was very solid, but off the ridge there were some loose rocks in the gullies. Generally much less loose than most of the cascades, though. Umm... There was lots of scrambling. Perhaps about 1800' vertical or so.

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PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
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Yana
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Yana
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PostSun Sep 16, 2007 8:51 pm 
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Tazz wrote:
bawl.gif  bawl.gif  bawl.gif  bawl.gif  my dream trip. It has some of the best scrambling and an awesome downhill bike ride.... bawl.gif  bawl.gif  bawl.gif

I thought of you often on this scramble - you would have loved it, Tazz. Well, you wouldn't have loved the "pushing the bike up" portion, but I don't think anyone in their right mind likes that part.

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PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
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Slim
This space for rent



Joined: 31 Aug 2004
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Slim
This space for rent
PostSun Sep 16, 2007 8:56 pm 
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Yana wrote:

and attempted to put the rest of the group to sleep by reading the geological description of the area from the Beckey guide.

The rock is  Twin Sister's dunite - very cool stuff indeed.   Mostly made up of olivine, the same mineral as the gemstone peridot.

Great pictures and TR  up.gif

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Not all who wonder are lust
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Yet
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Yet
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PostSun Sep 16, 2007 9:34 pm 
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Very nice rocks! Enjoyed your TR, Yana. Your pictures are coolness, too. When I grow up, I want to go there.
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Matt
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Joined: 29 Jan 2007
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Matt
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PostSun Sep 16, 2007 9:45 pm 
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When you dragged Dicey as far as the Yellow Aster tarns, were the meadows starting to turn color yet?  I was thinking of trying Tomyhoi one of the next couple weekends to catch the colored meadows.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Tazz
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PostSun Sep 16, 2007 9:48 pm 
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dragged dicey??!!???? ykm.gif  nothing drags that girl! good stuff!!!  biggrin.gif  Damn I miss our trips... frown.gif
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Yana
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Yana
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PostSun Sep 16, 2007 9:49 pm 
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Matt wrote:
When you dragged Dicey as far as the Yellow Aster tarns, were the meadows starting to turn color yet?  I was thinking of trying Tomyhoi one of the next couple weekends to catch the colored meadows.

It's a bizarre mix. There are still blooming flowers here and there interspersed with fall color. Near the tarns, most of the blueberry bushes are a lovely red color. It was hard to get a good feel for it overall as visibility was poor. And I mean poor:
Phantom
Phantom

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dicey
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dicey
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PostSun Sep 16, 2007 10:18 pm 
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Thanks for writing the TR Yana!
What a super fun route, everything I'd hoped for, plus some.  Don't underestimate the value of bringing a bike up here.  Ending a trip with adrenaline vs throbbing feet is something I'm not used to, but could easily grow accustomed to!

After careful consideration and recent trip experimentation, I've decided that it is actually more time efficient to keep all party members present and accounted for, than to go looking for them later  dizzy.gif

Some of my pics:
Yana checks out the view
Yana checks out the view
Cloud blanket below
Cloud blanket below
south twin comes into view
south twin comes into view
Jeanine scrambling
Jeanine scrambling
North Twin Sister summit
North Twin Sister summit
Looking down
Looking down
descending into the clouds
descending into the clouds
Standing at the edge of clouds
Standing at the edge of clouds

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I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
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Justus S.
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Justus S.
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PostSun Sep 16, 2007 11:10 pm 
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Looks like a sweet trip. Thanks for the report and pics.
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peppersteak'n'ale
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peppersteak'n'ale
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PostSun Sep 16, 2007 11:27 pm 
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Great TR, looks like an absolutely fun time (especially like those "sea of clouds" pics up.gif ) Did you ever show those Canadians who's who and knock that thing off the north summit once and for all  hihi.gif
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Spotly
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PostMon Sep 17, 2007 4:10 am 
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Nice TR. And nice shoes on Dicey too smile.gif

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Guiran
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PostMon Sep 17, 2007 6:45 am 
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Wow, that looks fun.  drink.gif
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