Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mt. Catherine via Nordic Pass, 02.16.2008
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3549 | TRs
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostSat Feb 16, 2008 8:09 pm 
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A motley crew set out for a rematch with Silver Peak via Ollalie meadows.  Unfortunately our plans were denied when we pulled off exit 47 to find the bridge to the trailhead blocked by a 10 foot wall of firmly plowed snow.  We crossed the highway to park at the Granite trailhead to find the driveway unplowed!  We were baffled since the DOT parks their plows down this road and always plows it.  So rather than risk a ticket and tow we drove on for another attempt at Mt. Catherine.

The Hyak ski lot was thankfully plowed.  While the rest of us geared up JimK gained 30 ft on the rest of us by summiting Parking-Lot Peak.  We marveled at the huge snow banks as we headed up to the trailhead.  Luckily there were easy steps up the bank and the easiest crossing I've ever done of the creek.  We trucked our way up the snow watching for the blue diamonds.  Last time we were here they were about 8 ft up the trees.  With this years snow they are anywhere from shoulder to ankle level above the snow!

Partway up we found a broken trail which greatly sped our progress.  We zoomed along to Hyak Lake and soon the ridge.  From here we briefly lost the route but picked it up again after some wandering.  It was then a slower walk to Nordic Pass when our broken trail fizzled out.  Nearly there Emma the dog had some stomach issues and Joanna nearly had to turn back.  But Emma's a tough old dog and pulled through the rest of the way on.  At the pass we took a brief break.  At least we assume it was the pass - we couldn't find any sign of the Nordic Pass sign.

Now it was just a long ridge climb to the top.  The snow was perfect for us - a little fluffy but easily packed into firm steps.  We made good time and were encouraged by the sun popping in and out of the clouds.  About a tenth of a mile from the summit Bruce had a catastrophic failure of his snowshoe.  He opted to drop back and posthole on in our packed trail the rest of the way.  Soon we were at the point where both Jim and I turned back on separate trips a few years back.  Steep slopes on both sides of the narrow ridge with a large rock and tree blocking the middle.  After some back and forth, literally, we came to the sensible solution of everyone doing something different.  Bob went to the right.  I followed, ditching my snowshoes below.  Everyone else went to the left and had an easier, less steep, trip.  But we all made it!  This was my fourth try at this peak and now I was on top!  We traversed along the dull knife-edge ridge of Mt. Catherine to the summit.

The ridge had a huge cornice so we hung back a bit for lunch imagining the other peaks we should be seeing according to the weather forecast.  We spat a few invectives at Jeff Renner and then started back down.  This time we all took the same route.  I quickly fell behind when my legs started to cramp from the Tubbs snowshoes I've been having trouble with.  Back at Nordic Pass Bruce made an impressive repair of his snowshoe with a backpack strap.  The rest of our trip down went well, we even managed to stay on route with all the blue diamonds.  We managed the entire trip, including summit and lunch, in less time than it took to simply reach Nordic Pass just last month.  Very satisfying to get that peak monkey off my back finally!  On the return we made a quick swing by Exit 47 to find it still unplowed both to Annette and the Granite lot.

Full Mt. Catherine photo set

Parking Lot peak
Parking Lot peak
Bad dogs
Bad dogs
Good dogs
Good dogs
Waiting for the UFO
Waiting for the UFO
Hyak Lake
Hyak Lake
Mush!
Mush!
Looking for diamonds
Looking for diamonds
Climbing
Climbing
In the trees
In the trees
Dog pile
Dog pile
Kolleen
Kolleen
Jim
Jim
Nearing the top
Nearing the top
The view
The view
The summit
The summit
Trailpair
Trailpair
Joanna
Joanna
Jasper
Jasper
Blue diamond
Blue diamond
Leaving the pass
Leaving the pass
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nuclear_eggset
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Joined: 02 Jul 2006
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Location: Eastside
nuclear_eggset
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PostSat Feb 16, 2008 8:40 pm 
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that looks like it was a fun trip!  bummer about the snowshoe failure, though.
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TrailPair
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Joined: 17 Apr 2005
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TrailPair
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PostSat Feb 16, 2008 8:57 pm 
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Great report, Opus! Here are a few of our photos.
Snowing at Nordic Pass
Snowing at Nordic Pass
Bob high above Ollalie Meadow
Bob high above Ollalie Meadow
Opus
Opus
Jim K photographing Opus
Jim K photographing Opus
Mt. Catherine summit
Mt. Catherine summit
Mt. Catherine summit, Joanna on right
Mt. Catherine summit, Joanna on right
K and Opus on summit
K and Opus on summit
Mt. Catherine
Mt. Catherine
Afternoon light
Afternoon light
Good weather on way out!
Good weather on way out!
Hyak Lake
Hyak Lake

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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Gabigabs
Trail Breaker



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Posts: 844 | TRs
Location: Seattle
Gabigabs
Trail Breaker
PostSat Feb 16, 2008 9:05 pm 
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Beautiful day to be out. Happy to hear you made it to the summit.

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Life is simple... Eat, Sleep, Hike!
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Coasty
I like Salmon!



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 763 | TRs
Location: Kodiak, AK
Coasty
I like Salmon!
PostSat Feb 16, 2008 10:38 pm 
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NICE TR guys and gals!   Way to go!

Jason B

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The Most Comprehensive Interactive Gear Reviews and Tests on the Planet!
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GeoTom
Custom Title



Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 3171 | TRs
Location: Location
GeoTom
Custom Title
PostSun Feb 17, 2008 8:37 pm 
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Nice to have witnessed your successful summit of Catherine Opus  up.gif Even if you did follow the adventurous route at the top  huh.gif

A few of my photos:
Bad Dogs on the move
Bad Dogs on the move
Begging
Begging
Oh, hi!
Oh, hi!
All 4 dogs begging
All 4 dogs begging
Jasper leads the way
Jasper leads the way
Partial clearing
Partial clearing
Hyak Lake
Hyak Lake

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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 4075 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostSun Feb 17, 2008 10:39 pm 
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Are the white dogs multiplying?  There seem to be more of them every week.  Or are all the other dogs just turning white for the winter?

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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peltoms
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peltoms
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PostMon Feb 18, 2008 5:06 am 
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I love the fog forest shots. Looks like a dogs day biggrin.gif
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JimK
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Location: Ballard
JimK
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PostTue Feb 19, 2008 2:53 pm 
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I now have my report posted on my site along with 30 photos. Go here to take a look:  Mt. Catherine Report And Photos

Here are a few of them:

On The Snow Wall
On The Snow Wall
Kolleen
Kolleen

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Hiking Northwest
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
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Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostTue Feb 19, 2008 7:53 pm 
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Matt wrote:
Are the white dogs multiplying?

lol.gif
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostTue Feb 19, 2008 9:43 pm 
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Good stuff guys.  I may have to go back for the views which appear from the top occasionally.
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Alpine Pedestrian
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Joined: 24 May 2007
Posts: 133 | TRs
Location: Stevens Pass
Alpine Pedestrian
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PostSun Feb 24, 2008 11:13 am 
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8 Mounties summited Mt. Catherine on the 23rd in fabulous weather.  We followed the trench Opus and Pals had made the week before all the way to the summit, which made routefinding very simple.  Much appreciated!  The snow was so firm that we really didn't need snowshoes, and some of us packed them out after summiting.  The last stretch right before the summit was definitely ice axe territory, because the snow was so hard.  And like Opus says, the left route around the first block was the better way.  We occasionally stopped to inspect Bruce's steep postholes and sympathize.

I was amazed at how clueless most of the people on our trip were about staying off the handful of groomed nordic ski trails we had to cross.  They didn't seem to get it that we needed to make a direct cut across the groomed areas with as minimum an impact as possible.  Some stopped in the middle and took off their packs to fiddle with their gear, they tried to gather on a groomed area for a group photo until I pointed out it was very rude to be trashing a ski trail, and some even walked several hundred yards up the center of one when we came out a little off on our way back down.  Sheesh!   Saw a sundog for the first time!
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Mikey
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Mikey
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PostSun Feb 24, 2008 2:42 pm 
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Where to you park to do this Mt Catherine "expedition"?
Thanks, Mike
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Alpine Pedestrian
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Alpine Pedestrian
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PostSun Feb 24, 2008 5:05 pm 
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Mikey - here's a link to a good website that describes how the Nordic Pass Trail was created and about the parking areas.   The left turn to go up the ridge to the summit of Mt. Catherine is just after you pass the weather station.

http://www.kuresman.com/2006/Trip_Reports/Nordic_Pass/Report_Nordic_Pass.html
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JimK
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JimK
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PostSun Feb 24, 2008 5:13 pm 
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My that is a good website.   wink.gif

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Hiking Northwest
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mt. Catherine via Nordic Pass, 02.16.2008
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