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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSat Jun 07, 2008 8:22 pm 
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The weather was deteriorating rapidly for today.  What to do?  I recommended the "east side" of the mountains for probable better weather.  I had it in my mind that Esmerelda Peak would be a good destination.  Middle E (Barry), Jim K and Opus (David) were in - Trail Pair wasn't convinced!  Bryan's trip report earlier this week on his Gallagher Head Lake trip convinced us this would be a good destination.  The road beyond 29 Pines was open all the way to the DeRoux campground  up.gif .  It would be a bittersweet journey.  Almost a year ago to the day, Sadie made her last backpacking trip to Gallagher Head Lake with a jaunt up Hawkins for a fun glissade - but we wouldn't reach the summit of Esmerelda on that trip.   Today, we got a reasonable start at about 7:15 a.m. from the 65th Park and Pool - weather was ugly in Seattle.  We even passed Two Dog Dad going across Snoqualmie Pass -  balloons.gif  party.gif  birthday.gif  blowout.gif  candles.gif  Don't know where he ended up - we fully expected to see his Element at the Red Mountain Trailhead!   lol.gif  (inside joke - he missed joining us on that trip a few months ago!) doh.gif   In any case, we are ready for the day .  . 
We're heading to Navajo, right?
We're heading to Navajo, right?
Let's go already . . . (note, new cargo carrier on top!  Yay!)
Let's go already . . . (note, new cargo carrier on top!  Yay!)
The crew @ 9:30 a.m. start
The crew @ 9:30 a.m. start
. . . and in the beginning . . . our route today
. . . and in the beginning . . . our route today

Gus was hoping for snow - a little impatient!
Someone can't wait for the snow!
Someone can't wait for the snow!

We discovered that the Teanaway River (and later, DeRoux Creek) wasn't running particularly high - about normal.  The cool weather the last several days must have reduced the run-off flow.
Crossing Teanaway River - not that raging
Crossing Teanaway River - not that raging

As we traveled the trail, beyond the crossing of the Teanaway River, we came upon the crossing of DeRoux Creek.  It looked a lot different this year than it did last year when we did this trip.
Jim and Gusto crossing DeRoux Creek
Jim and Gusto crossing DeRoux Creek
David crossing DeRoux Creek
David crossing DeRoux Creek
David and Yumi crossing DeRoux Creek in 2007
David and Yumi crossing DeRoux Creek in 2007
Crossing DeRoux Creek in May 2007
Crossing DeRoux Creek in May 2007

We did find a few flowers along the way - it's still early, however.
Looks like Blue-eyed Grass
Looks like Blue-eyed Grass
Close up
Close up
Ballhead Waterleaf
Ballhead Waterleaf
Trillium
Trillium
Glacier Lilies
Glacier Lilies
Hillside of Glacier Lilies
Hillside of Glacier Lilies

and then some other flora . . . of sorts
Fungus among us!
Fungus among us!

The snow amount was about the same this year as it was last year - 
Intermittent snow on the lower elevations
Intermittent snow on the lower elevations

As we continued along, the weather was so-so.  Since this area hasn't been accessible for very long, probably not many crews have been in to do some trail work - often, horseback riders will bring in chain saws to clear downed trees.  Bryan, we thought that you would clear the trail for us!   embarassedlaugh.gif 
Bryan - you forgot to move this for us!
Bryan - you forgot to move this for us!

You have to cross little "creek-lets" along the way - but the route is pretty easy to follow - much easier than it was last year.  Here is one signed junction.
Our route today - for a while
Our route today - for a while
Junction of route to Koppen and Gallagher Head Lake
Junction of route to Koppen and Gallagher Head Lake

We were able to catch some view glimpses on occasion.   
View of Iron Peak early in the day
View of Iron Peak early in the day

At the point where you are walking parallel to DeRoux Creek, you begin to see some fabulous waterfalls - be sure to take time to stop and view.
Waterfall on DeRoux Creek below creek crossing
Waterfall on DeRoux Creek below creek crossing
Professionals sizing up the waterfall
Professionals sizing up the waterfall

At this point, we had to make a decision - do we try and follow the "regular" summer trail - or do we go the way we went last year - around a little hill to go up and over and cross the creek farther west?  We decided to attempt the creek crossing along the regular summer trail - but this is the spot that can be very difficult at this time of year - the regular trail has a LOT of snow on it - we had to go up and around it - one slip, and you are down in the creek - with fast running water over numerous waterfalls  eek.gif  paranoid.gif   It isn't a long distance - maybe 100' - but be wary.    agree.gif  (Bryan - we didn't see your tracks here!) We managed to negotiate this section well (hopefully, the others have some photos - I was holding onto my ice ax too tightly!)  We got down to the creek and it was a relatively easy crossing - the creek wasn't very deep today. 
Jim crossing DeRoux Creek
Jim crossing DeRoux Creek

We continued on our way along the standard route towards Gallagher Head - sticking pretty much to the regular trail (even though it was covered in snow.)  We found this sign rather interesting  . . .
Thank goodness - vehicles are limited to designated roads and trails!
Thank goodness - vehicles are limited to designated roads and trails!

Unlikely we would see any motor vehicles today!  In fact, we didn't see anyone until we were headed out.  Fortunately, the weather was cooperating enough that we could see our likely route - although it was hardly summer sunny!   cool.gif   We cut off from the Gallagher Head Lake route and headed almost due north to head towards a couple of benches and then up to the ridge that would take us to the Esmerelda summit.
The steep section up to the upper bench
The steep section up to the upper bench
Jim and David up the steep part - with Hawkins East in the background
Jim and David up the steep part - with Hawkins East in the background
DeRoux from across the creek
DeRoux from across the creek
Jim making his way up through the trees
Jim making his way up through the trees
Our destination (on the left)
Our destination (on the left)
Jim and David heading up towards summit saddle
Jim and David heading up towards summit saddle

Last year, Joanna, David, Yumi and I (along with Banjo, Holly and Sadie) attempted to summit Esmerelda - but Sadie refused to go any farther - and the others cliffed themselves out at about 6,000'.  Today seemed much more promising.  The snow was great!  No snowshoes needed, well-consolidated, but there had been as much as 12" of new snow in the last several days.  Great for kick-stepping!  Even the steep parts didn't seem so bad.  Someone had to show off a little.
Gus practicing his back glissade!
Gus practicing his back glissade!

Barry and I continued up towards what we thought was the right saddle to the summit . . . but we ended up there by ourselves!   
Barry heading towards ridge
Barry heading towards ridge
Barry on ridge and heading to Esmerelda-2
Barry on ridge and heading to Esmerelda-2
Barry on Esmerelda-2
Barry on Esmerelda-2

and limited views from what we coined as Esmerelda-2.
Fortune Peak in the clouds!
Fortune Peak in the clouds!

But, Jim K and David had headed in a more westerly direction to "summit" Esmerelda-1 (to the West) - so we back-tracked and headed towards them.   
Gus and Barry waiting for Driver to come up to Esmerelda West
Gus and Barry waiting for Driver to come up to Esmerelda West

A relatively easy "walk up" with little exposure - if you were to slip and slide - it's an o.k. run-out most of the way down!   
Snowing on the summit - David checking the summit register - How many days until summer?
Snowing on the summit - David checking the summit register - How many days until summer?
Gus and the Driver on the summit
Gus and the Driver on the summit

It was sooooo windy on top - and snowing!  We could see Gallagher Head Lake below . . . 
Gallagher Head Lake below
Gallagher Head Lake below
Frost/ice on trees at summit
Frost/ice on trees at summit

but we decided not to stay long at the 6765' summit - we did sign the register, which hadn't been signed since last November 4th (2007)!  We were the first for 2008!  In any case, we decided to drop back down to the saddle to have our lunch - out of the wind.
David coming down off of summit
David coming down off of summit

It was easy plunge-stepping down the steep slopes we had come up - we even had a couple of fun glissades (hopefully, the others have a better picture than I do!)   
Looking back up to the ridge (can't seek our glissade track)
Looking back up to the ridge (can't seek our glissade track)

We thought we could find a better route down - avoiding some nasty trees - but ended up getting hung up on some slippery, snow-covered rocks and had to mince our way along - not bad views, however.
East Hawkins on our way out
East Hawkins on our way out

When we got to the bottom of that stretch, we grabbed a bite
"David, you're my best friend, really!"
"David, you're my best friend, really!"

and changed out some clothing, because it wasn't so windy and we would be heading out now.  The way out was pretty unspectacular.  We decided to re-trace our way in and the sketchy part after the creek crossing was much easier on the way out.  In fact, we saw two groups of two coming in - heading to the Lake for an overnight.  By now, (of course) the weather was improving considerably and the skies were clearing.
Iron Peak in the afternoon
Iron Peak in the afternoon

We made great time on our way out.  Here's an odd little sample of nature .  . . .
Gnarly
Gnarly

Finally, we were nearly back to the bridge crossing the Teanaway River and we turned and looked across this lovely meadow towards East Esmerelda . . .  lovely.
At end of trip - looking north towards E. Esmerelda across lovely meadow of Shooting Stars (note - blue sky!!!)
At end of trip - looking north towards E. Esmerelda across lovely meadow of Shooting Stars (note - blue sky!!!)

Finally, back at the car . . . .
Yawn!
Yawn!
"Hey, you guys!  Pick up your stuff!"
"Hey, you guys!  Pick up your stuff!"

Stats:  about 7 hours car-to-car; 3400' of gain and about 8 miles RT.  Great day!  Great fun with good company!  And, Gus and I were able to tag the summit for Sadie.   smile.gif   It looks like those snowshoes are gone until next "winter"!  (probably in about 6 weeks, eh?)   dizzy.gif  hmmm.gif
[P.S. on the way to the trailhead, we saw some Elk - within a half-mile of where the pavement turns to dirt.  Then, on the way out, we stirred up some vultures who began circling our car  paranoid.gif  All sorts of critters out today!]

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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TrailPair
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TrailPair
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PostSat Jun 07, 2008 8:45 pm 
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Did you see us waving at you from our vantage on Davis?  I think Joe was going to send smoke signals from the look-out while K, Niko and I went to the summit. up.gif

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore



Joined: 15 May 2003
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Quark
Niece of Alvy Moore
PostSat Jun 07, 2008 8:54 pm 
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I tell you, that pooch is one lucky pooch.  Yes, a luck-ee pooch.  Whatalife you're giving him!

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"...Other than that, the post was more or less accurate."

Bernardo, NW Hikers' Bureau Chief of Reporting
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twodogdad
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PostSat Jun 07, 2008 8:54 pm 
esmeralda
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Thanks, SD-GD, and  up.gif  up.gif for the pooch piece in WTA. Yes, I'm still on my way to Red but today, with TP and Joe's help, the dogs made it to Davis (which  eluded us a month ago when Docs decided to pursue crevasse studies). Your cohort was often in our conversation as we gloated over the low dark clouds around Hawkins  tongue.gif 2dd
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
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Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostSat Jun 07, 2008 8:55 pm 
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Great trip!  Good to make the summit after our aborted attempt last year.  Comparing my GPS tracks between the two trips we started uphill way too far north.  We were closer to that east-running ridge, which cliffed out on us and was ridiculously steep.  Much better travel this time!  Oddly too my TOPO software lists the true summit as the eastern block.  Of course we found the register on the western one.  dizzy.gif  At least you and Barry have it covered, tagging both!

Click here for full photo set.

GPS tracks
GPS tracks
It cant melt yet!
It cant melt yet!
Purple flower
Purple flower
Flowers
Flowers
Final bit
Final bit
This is June?
This is June?
Summit
Summit
Heading up
Heading up
Register
Register
Cloudy summit
Cloudy summit
Heading down
Heading down
Blue sky
Blue sky
Snow bowling
Snow bowling
Helpful Gusto
Helpful Gusto
Steep snow crossing
Steep snow crossing
Glowing glacier Lily
Glowing glacier Lily
Trilium and lily
Trilium and lily
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSat Jun 07, 2008 9:06 pm 
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twodogdad wrote:
Your cohort was often in our conversation as we gloated over the low dark clouds around Hawkins  tongue.gif 2dd

lol.gif We were saying the same thing from Esmerelda!  "Looks really nasty over there on Davis!!!"   agree.gif

Trailpair wrote:
Did you see us waving at you from our vantage on Davis?  I think Joe was going to send smoke signals from the look-out while K, Niko and I went to the summit.

We were waving back!!!   wave.gif s.d.

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostSat Jun 07, 2008 9:21 pm 
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Does Gusto really like so much that he seeks out the first patches of it?

Nice to see a few flowers appearing in the higher country.

I especially liked Opus's photo of the glacier lily and purple flower together.  Anyone know what the purple flower is?

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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GeoTom
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PostSat Jun 07, 2008 9:22 pm 
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Quote:
Does Gusto really like so much that he seeks out the first patches of it?

I can't answer for Gusto, but Jasper does the same thing.

Nice job guys  up.gif  Jasper was at home today while Uncle Scott and I ventured into no-dogs land. He got to go to the beach with his mom though  biggrin.gif

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Yet
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Yet
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PostSat Jun 07, 2008 9:57 pm 
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Gus is soooo adorable!
SD, I love reading your TRs. So much life in them. smile.gif
And hurray for tagging the summit for Sadie!  up.gif
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wildernessed
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
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wildernessed
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PostSun Jun 08, 2008 5:56 am 
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I think JimK could climb Esmerelda blindfolded !, as well as many others over there. hockeygrin.gif

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Living in the Anthropocene
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSun Jun 08, 2008 6:33 am 
Addiction
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Matt wrote:
Does Gusto really like snow much that he seeks out the first patches of it?

Nice to see a few flowers appearing in the higher country.
I especially liked Opus's photo of the glacier lily and purple flower together.  Anyone know what the purple flower is?

agree.gif There is nothing better than snow, as far as Gus is concerned.  Mud is a close second!  lol.gif   I wish I would have had the video going when he was "back glissading" and then chasing the pinwell/donuts he set off down the hill!  It was hilarious.

The only thing I could figure out on the other flower was Blue-eyed Grass.  Maybe Marta will chime in and set us all straight!

Happy Birthday, NB!!  blowout.gif  party.gif  birthday.gif  best.gif 28, right?
s.d.

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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Middle E
no more moustache



Joined: 10 Feb 2008
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Middle E
no more moustache
PostSun Jun 08, 2008 7:33 am 
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Opus wrote:
Oddly too my TOPO software lists the true summit as the eastern block.  Of course we found the register on the western one.  dizzy.gif  At least you and Barry have it covered, tagging both!

Glad to hear Suzanne and I won't have to go back to get the true summit! lol.gif

No, it didn't seem like June with the thick clouds and plumes of snow blowing off the summit cornices - but the nice sunburn on my face when I got home proved otherwise.
waterfall on Deroux Cr.
waterfall on Deroux Cr.
JimK crossing the creek
JimK crossing the creek
Suzanne coming out of the woods
Suzanne coming out of the woods
upper ridge to Esmerelda
upper ridge to Esmerelda

Which is higher...you be the judge.
Is that one higher?
Is that one higher?
Was that one higher
Was that one higher

A few more
David signed the register
David signed the register
Fortune, somewhere
Fortune, somewhere
Jim coming down the summit ridge
Jim coming down the summit ridge
cascade on Deroux creek
cascade on Deroux creek
Now it's sunny
Now it's sunny

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the Zachster
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PostSun Jun 08, 2008 1:19 pm 
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Another fun and interesting trip report from you guys...thanks! Sweet thoughts of Sadie and some great times with Gusto! winksmile.gif

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"May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am"
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mtnrider
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PostSun Jun 08, 2008 3:23 pm 
Esmeralda
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I always enjoy reports of the Teanaway Peaks.   It brings back lots of wonderful memories.  I have a suggestion for Jim K and all the others  that enjoy exploring the Teanaway.  Do Esmeralda from the Esmeralda Basin side.  It has a whole different flavor.  Best to do on snow!  I got bored with the usual route and started doing the peak from the north.
Fun.
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Jack's Mom
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Jack's Mom
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PostSun Jun 08, 2008 4:47 pm 
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Hey - Great trip report, one of our favorite spots.  Be SURE to check Gusto for ticks (and yourselves too)- there was a story in the paper this morning about a young man who picked up a tick in the Teanaway area last weekend.  He's fine now, but was temporarily paralized!
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Esmerelda Summit - Bittersweet Success 06-07-08
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