Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mt. Watson, Bacon Peak 07/12-13/08
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Yana
Hater



Joined: 04 Jun 2004
Posts: 4214 | TRs
Location: Out Hating
Yana
  Top

Hater
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 2:22 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
WARNING: This trip report contains descriptions of steep off-trail travel on snow, rock, dirt, brush, trees, spiders, heather, lichen, etc. Read at your own risk.

With another seemingly perfect weather weekend looming, it was time to get out in the North Cascades again. Dicey and cartman seemed to think it was a great time to do Watson and Bacon, and I was easily lured in as usual:

dicey: "Yana, do you want to go on a trip to Watson and Ba--"

Yana: "Sure! Sounds great!"

dicey: "Do you even know where they are?"

Yana: "Yes! Of course... um... I know the general area... er... they're somewhere in the North Cascades, right? Does it matter?"

We also somehow stole Schmidt Altibabe away from 'dude for this trip (poor sucker had to work or some such silly thing), because apparently her four day traipse through the Enchantments hadn't tired her out enough.

Because this is a serious undertaking of an expedition, we enlisted the help of Tazz and Mtn Man, who were to be our support team (more on that later).

'Babe had already been up Bacon the previous fall in an awesome sounding traverse with Dayhike Mike and Tom. Between her and cartman (who had been up Watson in the winter), we felt like we had lots of route beta for the entire trip. Yay!

After a rousing round of "let's drive around Seattle," we had settled everyone and their overnight gear comfortably into my roomy, elegant, and luxurious Geo Prizm. The drive to the trailhead went fairly uneventfully, except for one brief incident in which dicey attempted to traumatize me with music and I almost crashed the car while fighting with her to change the radio station. Bad dicey! Bad!

The driving is fairly quick until you turn off the Baker Lake Road, after which you're greeted with 11 miles of FS road. It's mostly in pretty good shape, just tediously slow in parts due to the terrain. As we neared the trailhead, the forest opened up and we were greeted with great views of Baker and Shuksan.

We arrived at the trailhead around 9 and found a few cars already there, but never actually saw their owners. Small snow patches on the trail begin almost immediately, but serious continuous snow does not start until the first open basin just west of Anderson Butte (about 3/4ths of a mile in). We hiked a little further up to a small saddle in the south ridge of Anderson Butte. At this point, cartman suggested that we do a side trip up Anderson Butte, so we gladly dropped our overnight packs and began clawing our way up the ridge, at first through open forest, then through some steeper and slightly less open forest, then sidehilling underneath some cliffs on steep heathery slopes. Well, several hundred vertical feet later, we got to a point in the ridge where we could see our objective, which was both further away and more complicated to reach than we expected. I'm sure there's a perfectly workable route to the summit, but we didn't feel that we had time to explore it, so down we went!

The fun begins!
The fun begins!

On the way back to our packs we joked that we had just gotten the vegetation bashing/climbing portion of our trip over (HA! FOOLS!). We were soon back at our packs. Our bodies protested at having to carry them again after being so unencumbered. We descended the trail a couple of hundred feet (occasionally losing it in the snow) to an open area where the trail splits, the left fork going toward Watson Lakes, the right toward Anderson Lakes.

We went left toward Watson Lakes and decided to follow the ridge upward just before the lakes. This turned out fairly fortuitous, as there is a well used path on the ridge top. The only obstacle was an unfortunate snow step which half the party elected to skirt around and half the party ascended directly. We were eventually spat out in a flat area where one of the upper Anderson Lakes can be found. We then ascended a gully to get back up onto the Watson Ridge. It was really nice to have people on the trip that had been there before so that route confusion issues were kept to a minimum.

The frozen lakes and tarns were beautiful, and the higher we got, the better the further away views became as well.
Carla and Shuksan
Carla and Shuksan

In order to get to Watson's main summit, one must traverse from the ridge on the north slopes of the summit to reach a col just below the peak. The terrain is generally very gentle and scenic. Cartman dubbed this the Interminable Traverse, but I was surprised at how quickly and easily it went. Here's a picture of the col we were traversing toward (summit to the left):
Watson
Watson

From the col, the ascent of the summit involved crawling steeply upward on hands and knees through thick brush and stunted trees. 
Crawling upward
Crawling upward

So much for the brushy portion of the trip being over! Ha!

The Watson massif is a series of rocky outcroppings, though the rock in the area does not appear particularly sound.
Just give me a little push...
Just give me a little push...
Bits of Watson
Bits of Watson

The most entertaining portion of the summit was this enormous boulder that appears to be perched rather dubiously on the ridge right below the summit. You can look under it for views.
Bacon from underneath rock of doom near Watson summit
Bacon from underneath rock of doom near Watson summit

We crammed all four of us somehow on the tiny summit and enjoyed the views for a while.
Watson Summit
Watson Summit

Alas, we still had some ground to cover for the day so down we went through the brush and trees. From this point on for the rest of the trip, my shirt and pants were full of little plant debris such as bits of bark, leaf matter, and tiny evergreen needles. At least I wore pants unlike some of the less fortunate members of the party.

Back at the col, it was time to put the overnight packs back on and continue the traverse toward our camp for the night (Diobsud Lakes).
The interminable traverse
The interminable traverse
Bits of Watson and tarn
Bits of Watson and tarn

As we traversed the snow slopes below Watson, I would occasionally hear cursing from dicey and 'babe to the tune of: "*&#$ing Osprey!!! I HATE YOU!!! AAARRGH!!!!"

Apparently, in an effort to make the lightest possible packs, Osprey has entirely foregone any sort of feature that provides adequate padding, thus  wearing a hole in the back of the person wearing it.  shakehead.gif

I was quite happy to be wearing my cumbersome but very comfy Kelty pack at this point. After much traversing, we reached a small notch around 5400' from which we could drop down to the Diobsud Lakes. We spent some time here considering whether to camp at the notch (glorious views, don't have to lug overnight packs down and up this stretch) or descend lower so we would have a shorter day the following day. I sprawled at the notch while the other three gazed intensely at our potential route. Apparently, this involved crouching for some reason.  confused.gif

Why the hell are they crouching?
Why the hell are they crouching?

Eventually we decided to descend 900' and made camp around 4500' near one of the frozen Diobsud Lakes. It had some weird snow things going on:
Mini penitentes
Mini penitentes

Meanwhile, as evening wore on some wispy clouds were making interesting shapes in the sky (no, this photo is not sideways).

Clouds
Clouds

We found some snowless bivy spots among the brush and enjoyed dinner. Bonus points if you can tell what this dinner consisted of (you can't play if you've seen me eat this on a trip before):

Yum! Dinner!
Yum! Dinner!

The next morning we got going around 6:22 am. After hearing Alti-Babe's description of their traverse route the previous fall, we all agreed it would be best to drop down 400' to the basin containing the Lower Diobsud Lake and try to follow Guiran's route from his TR last year. Unfortunately, we never saw the way to traverse to the right side of the basin and rejoined 'Babe's original route, which involved steep, brushy terrain with occasional rock/gully bits for variety.
Veggie belays
Veggie belays

At this point I began seriously wondering about Alti-Babe's sanity. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to do this TWICE, and I also couldn't fathom doing it with an overnight pack.

During the lower portion of this fun ascent, we saw a bear in the brush a couple of hundred feet above us (this was divined by dicey the night before the trip when she called me and proclaimed: "I'm so excited about this trip!!! We're gonna see a bear!"  agree.gif ).

After many veggie belays, a brief snow crossing, and some gully fun, we emerged onto open and soon snowy slopes above, where we followed broad snowy gullies to a notch in the ridge, from which we could see the false summit. Now the only thing left to do was a traverse on mostly gentle terrain. Whew!

Hard part's over!
Hard part's over!
On the vast summit plateau
On the vast summit plateau

The further we went, the more I began to understand why Alti-Babe would want to come back to this place. Suddenly, all of the steep, cliffy, brushy ascent seemed so worth it. The summit plateau is beautiful, and the views of the Pickets and other parts of the North Cascades is simply unbelievable.

The final bit to the summit involved a couple of pleasingly sculpted snow ridges:
Almost there!
Almost there!
Final bit to summit
Final bit to summit

Soon, we were soaking in the views and enjoying Bacon:
Bacon!
Bacon!
Summit shot
Summit shot

Some summit views (image quality is a bit poor... I don't know why).

Baker:

Shuksan:

Pickets:

Some other stuff right of the Pickets:

Some other stuff right of that (south):

I was shocked when I discovered that the last party to sign the summit register was in the fall of '07 and consisted of the Schmidts and Dayhike Mike and Tom!  (although the summit register was rather damp).

I felt like staying up there forever, but unfortunately we still had a long day ahead of us as we had to get back to camp, pack up, and hike out to the car, so regrettably we headed down much too soon.

Below the summit
Below the summit

Alti-Babe decided to put her camera away in preparation for some of the steep snow descent awaiting us. Unfortunately, she lasted all of 200 horizontal feet before the urge for photography was too strong.  lol.gif

The snow descent down the gullies was a little freaky at first (especially as it was steepest at the top), but after some authoritative plunge stepping and later boot glissading, we made fairly quick work of it.

Down the gully
Down the gully

Then, it was time for everyone's favorite! The steep brush/gully/rock hell! Yay!
Thrashing
Thrashing

At the last steep section before the basin, cartman decided he had had enough and left us to pioneer a different route back. The rest of us carefully scrambled down what we had come up and hung out on a comfy rock in the basin to wait.

This is hard work!
This is hard work!
Relaxation rock
Relaxation rock

Our route is to the left of the waterfalls here:
the route from the basin (left of waterfalls)
the route from the basin (left of waterfalls)

After a while, dicey noticed a group of five people on a snow patch above us! They were too far away for us to talk to, but they just happened to be where cartman's improvised route popped out of the forest/brush. He gave them beta (I think something like "choose another destination entirely" would have been helpful  dizzy.gif ) and they continued on their merry way with overnight packs. Ouch! Hope they got up through that section okay.

We were soon reunited with cartman and made our way back up to camp, where I earned $5 by dunking myself in the mostly frozen lake. Cartman foolishly said he'd give me $5 if I submerged myself. Given that I was already planning on doing this and that it was like a convection oven at that spot, this was not a problem! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Other members of the party had chosen less drastic ways of cooling off:
Carla cools off
Carla cools off

All that was left now was to shoulder our overnight packs once again and hike out. I put my head down and booted back the 900' to the notch, refusing to stop for anyone or anything. It actually turned out to not be as grueling as I expected. Unfortunately, that turned out to be the easy part, as the now truly Interminable Traverse began. Up and down and up and down and up and down... ARGH! It was beautiful, especially the way the evening light played with the snow and cast shadows, but it felt like it took forever!

We were all tired and just wanted to be done! To make matters even more annoying, the ubiquitous rolling terrain made it difficult for us to remember where exactly we had dropped off the ridge and all footprints had long since melted away. I had anticipated this and had thus instructed our support team (Tazz and Mtn Man) to mark the way back for us with bright red Kool-Aid powder so we could find our way back. However, we were all aghast to discover that this had not been done!  rant.gif  eek.gif Reading their trip report, I could see that Mtn Man had at least attempted to mark the route by sacrificing his ice axe. Sadly, some well meaning but deeply misguided individual had picked it up, thus crushing all hope of us finding that all important route marker!  bawl.gif

Just as we were beginning to truly give up all hope, Alti-Babe recognized some benches that we could follow easily to the ridge, thus averting disaster! Whew! We slogged on determinedly until we got to the steep snow step lower in the ridge. This was the last serious obstacle (other than punchiness and legs giving out) before the trailhead! I kicked some steps down it, and everyone made it down safely with only a minimal amount of angst and cursing. We soon rejoined the main trail, and after a couple of more agonizing up bits, we rolled down the last little bit of trail to the car. Alti-babe encouraged dicey with promises of car vodka, and I encouraged Alti-babe with promises of car cookie loaf. I'm afraid we left cartman to fend for himself somewhere behind us because we're horrible people.

At the trailhead, we found a note on the car from our support team, which said something about berber and beer, and we all wondered why the eating of carpet would be appealing at this point in time.  confused.gif  We beat a hasty retreat from the trailhead to avoid the blackflies and mosquitoes.

Wow. What a trip. Most of the route is exceptionally scenic, and the views (especially from Bacon Peak) are just unbelievable. We only saw the party of five and one other person at a distance, otherwise we had the entire place to ourselves for two days! The trip's insanity award goes to Alti-Babe, who willingly came back to this place knowing what hardships awaited and also just having completed a grueling Enchantments backpacking extravaganza.

--------------
PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
wamtngal
Member
Member


Joined: 13 Jun 2004
Posts: 2386 | TRs
Location: Seattle, WA
wamtngal
  Top

Member
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 2:35 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Most excellent dudettes and dude!  up.gif  up.gif

EDIT: bacon on Bacon -- love it!

--------------
Opinions expressed here are my own.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3595 | TRs
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
  Top

Wannabe
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 2:39 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Great report and photos!  That mystery dinner wouldn't be instant potatos and bacon bits would it?
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Schmidt Alti-Dude
4th class poster



Joined: 06 Jul 2007
Posts: 1362 | TRs
Location: Looking for Adventure 201!
Schmidt Alti-Dude
  Top

4th class poster
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 2:42 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks for bringing Tisha back safe and (mostly) sound.  But did you have to post a picture that shows off the fact that her biceps are bigger than mine?
Thrashing
Thrashing

Since Yana is a vegetarian, wouldn't that be bac-un bits?

--------------
Anything stated by me in no way reflects the attitudes or opinions of my wife
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yet
Member
Member


Joined: 23 Apr 2005
Posts: 2634 | TRs
Location: Happily Ever After
Yet
  Top

Member
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 2:48 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yana -
embarassedlaugh.gif
I love it!  up.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
yukon222
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2007
Posts: 1834 | TRs

yukon222
  Top

Member
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 3:15 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Very entertaining TR, Yana!  Sounds like a good time had by all.  But no pics of the bear thrashing in the brush?  Maybe he was lost and needed some help from you and your crew?   lol.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
dicey
custom title



Joined: 11 May 2004
Posts: 2862 | TRs
Location: giving cornices a wider berth
dicey
  Top

custom title
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 3:23 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yana

lol.gif

You made me lol!

Yukon
That bear took off before any of us had a chance to whip out a camera - too bad.

Some pics:
Yana near Bacon summit
Yana near Bacon summit
scrub tunnel route up Watson starts left
scrub tunnel route up Watson starts left
Yana and Eric pumping some water
Yana and Eric pumping some water
Diobsud ice patterns
Diobsud ice patterns
bacon tarn
bacon tarn
climbing Bacon
climbing Bacon
my shadow
my shadow
pickets 2
pickets 2

Edit to add:
In regards to your initial warning statement - I did not travel on any spiders, and if any ended up under my boot, it was accidental!
wink.gif

--------------
I'm not always sure I like being older but being less stupid has advantages.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/32121172@N00/sets/
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
cartman
Member
Member


Joined: 20 Feb 2007
Posts: 2802 | TRs
Location: Fremont
cartman
  Top

Member
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 3:37 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yana, you wrote the trip report again!!  Now what am I going to do while I'm at work?


Memories from Bacon:

Yana has become a step-kicking machine.  Does cookie loaf qualify as a dubious food choice?  Especially when one slice weighs five pounds?

dicey's loan of her trekking poles for the trip were just what I needed--especially since I left mine exactly where intended (not)--in the hallway.  Thanks dicey!  And summit bacon on Bacon is just as appealing as summit bacon anywhere else.  Which is not at all.

Alti-Babe has a good memory for route details.  And is far too modest regarding her skills, considering how she handled the varied terrain--like the 4th class moss.  Or ice climbing with two tools down the nearly vertical snow berm.  And the hundreds of feet of veggie belays--is it possible to actually like slide alder?  It is here!

Alti-Dude, two words:  weight room.


Still can't figure out why they were all hallucinating about Tazz, though. crazy.gif  I was the only one who never saw her.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
SlowWalker
Perma-grinner



Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 889 | TRs
Location: Seattle
SlowWalker
  Top

Perma-grinner
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 3:51 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Outstanding trip!!  I love it when a TR makes me look up a new word.

Dinner looks like couscous and caviar.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yana
Hater



Joined: 04 Jun 2004
Posts: 4214 | TRs
Location: Out Hating
Yana
  Top

Hater
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 4:21 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks all for reading.

Opus - DING DING DING! Correct! To be more specific, Bacos (which are vegetarian <snicker>).

'Dudelol.gif  lol.gif  lol.gif  So terribly sorry! NOT!

cartman - did your trekking poles ever resurface?

SlowWalker - ubiquitous or berber?  dizzy.gif

--------------
PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
SlowWalker
Perma-grinner



Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 889 | TRs
Location: Seattle
SlowWalker
  Top

Perma-grinner
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 4:26 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Neither:  penitentes
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Posts: 10966 | TRs
Location: Going to Tukwila
Dayhike Mike
  Top

Bad MFKer
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 4:46 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Isn't that brushy traverse from the Diobsuds just hellish?!? I hate that thing.

Next time, you might want to try the Mountaineers' sekrit patented route. agree.gif I can draw it for you sometime if you want. wink.gif

Alti-Babe, you never cease to amaze me. I wondered if you might stick around as we were cruising into town at 1am Thursday morning. ("Heck, tomorrow is TNAB, and then the weekend is just around the corner!") borank.gif

--------------
"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
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yana
Hater



Joined: 04 Jun 2004
Posts: 4214 | TRs
Location: Out Hating
Yana
  Top

Hater
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 4:49 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
SlowWalker wrote:
Neither:  penitentes

D'oh! I forgot about penitentes!

--------------
PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Karen²
A Real Canadian Girl



Joined: 25 Jul 2002
Posts: 1367 | TRs
Location: Behind the Lens
Karen²
  Top

A Real Canadian Girl
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 6:19 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
biggrin.gif   <---  Me, green with envy.

Great effort everyone, lots of nice eye candy here!

Yana wrote:
The fun begins!
The fun begins!

Looks like a nice leisurely outing for you guys!   Decided to take it easy last weekend huh?  hockeygrin.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3595 | TRs
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
  Top

Wannabe
PostTue Jul 15, 2008 6:51 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yana wrote:

Opus - DING DING DING! Correct! To be more specific, Bacos (which are vegetarian <snicker>).

I think it would have been more appropriate to eat them if you'd only made the false summit of Bacon peak.  Let me know when you guys get to the Chocolate glacierhungry.gif  I like to pick destinations based on interesting names alone.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mt. Watson, Bacon Peak 07/12-13/08
  Happy Birthday weathercrazy, Tag Man!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy