Forum Index > Trip Reports > Copper, Martin, and Fernow, part II
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Roald
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Roald
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PostSat Aug 09, 2008 12:25 pm 
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A good route up Copper traverses low and to the right across the greenery, then up the snow ramp in the center of the picture, then right onto the East face (rock), then angle up and left to the highest snow patch.
A good route up Copper traverses low and to the right across the greenery, then up the snow ramp in the center of the picture, then right onto the East face (rock), then angle up and left to the highest snow patch.

For a good report on this trip, see Tvashtar’s TR here:  It’s got everything – bear attacks, entomology, videos, the word “agape,” and a four-year old quaffing boogers.  And God-rays piercing the clouds, which is appropriate because we were in the Lake Wobegon village of Holden.  I want to write stories like Tvash when I grow up.

In the meantime, here’s my tale of a leisurely trip to scramble Copper and Fernow:

“Holy crap, Batman!” I grabbed the front dash as the car veered left at the intersection of Field’s Point road.  We were hopelessly late for the ferry to Holden, but with Pat at the helm all was not lost.  The left wheels caught some air as the road twisted right.  Morning joggers jumped into bushes as our car caromed right, then left, then right again into the Fields Point parking area.  Don jumped out and held the boat’s steward at bay, while Pat and I stuffed gear into packs and somersaulted onto the ferry just as it pulled away from the dock.

Or it was something like that.  In our rush, we managed to leave Don’s axe and all our maps in the car.  We also had no money.  I, as a pioneer of the cashless economy, had brought plenty of plastic money.  But out there, away from the Big City, those plastic cards are good only for picking your teeth.

"Mt. Doom" - Holden mine relic
"Mt. Doom" - Holden mine relic
Cool museum in Holden
Cool museum in Holden
Holden buses
Holden buses
Holden relic
Holden relic

The lack of cash turned into a major problem when we arrived in Holden and realized that the ice cream store opens at 2:00 pm.  I know we had a couple mountains to climb, but ice cream is ice cream.  Luckily, Holden holds a lot of Lutherans.  I sauntered up to the ice cream counter, with money for only one ice cream cone, preparing to beg for two free cones by appealing to Christian charity:

“What would Jesus do?”  This was my ace-in-the-hole line, designed to spring loose some ice cream from the teenager behind the counter.

But she probably would have said, “Jesus would’ve brought some friggin’ money, you loser.  Now get out of here.”

So instead I just told the truth, and she gave me the ice cream anyway.  I love Holden.

Eventually we walked up to Copper Basin and pitched camp with the mosquitos.  Lutherans down in the valley, mosquitos up the in basin.  Who knows what we would find on the mountains.

Copper basin
Copper basin
Old tree and stream
Old tree and stream
Sub-peak on Mt. Fernow, view from camp
Sub-peak on Mt. Fernow, view from camp

Other than a short bush thwack at the beginning, the scramble up Copper was quite nice, and it was relaxing to leave the navigating to the two mountain veterans.
Our route goes up from the lower right toward the top snow patch, then straight up.
Our route goes up from the lower right toward the top snow patch, then straight up.
Pat rasslin' Copper
Pat rasslin' Copper
Don on Copper
Don on Copper
Pat prepares to jump down from Copper
Pat prepares to jump down from Copper

We lounged at the top for 2+ hours, identifying a 360-panorama of peaks and deciding via our inaction not to scramble Fernow that same day.

Bonanza, from Copper
Bonanza, from Copper
Glacier Peak, from Copper
Glacier Peak, from Copper
Greenwood (Dumbell on left), from Copper
Greenwood (Dumbell on left), from Copper
Fernow, from Copper
Fernow, from Copper
View from Copper across to Buckskin Mt.
View from Copper across to Buckskin Mt.

Back at camp a refrigerator-sized boulder from high on Buckskin Mountain rudely decided to join us for dinner.  Don saw it demolish a good-sized tree as it crashed down the mountain.  I saw only the explosion of wood as the rock hit the tree and continued straight toward us.  The rock eventually veered left, following the fall line, but for a few seconds our amigdylas were on full alert, figuring out which way to flee.

The next morning Pat went downvalley to climb Martin Peak, while Don and I lounged around camp and eventually picked our way up Fernow.  The going is easy, and we found an easier boot path on the way back.

Rambling on Fernow, with Seven-Fingered Jack in the background
Rambling on Fernow, with Seven-Fingered Jack in the background
Heading up to Fernow
Heading up to Fernow
Maude's north face
Maude's north face
Don near the top of Fernow
Don near the top of Fernow
Cool rock formations all over
Cool rock formations all over

Overall, a really nice area and a great trip.
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wildernessed
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PostSat Aug 09, 2008 1:04 pm 
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Overall, a really nice area and a great trip._Roald

Hey you think, very nice as usual ! hockeygrin.gif, great pics, love the route and summit shots. up.gif  up.gif

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I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent_Gandhi
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b00
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b00
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PostSat Aug 09, 2008 1:47 pm 
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how long did it take from holden to the summit and back?
was there anything difficult? class 3?
easy route finding?
what route did you take?
i hope that is not too many questions.
thanks.
:>)
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Roald
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Roald
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PostSat Aug 09, 2008 3:57 pm 
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b00 wrote:
how long did it take from holden to the summit and back?
was there anything difficult? class 3?
easy route finding?
what route did you take?
i hope that is not too many questions.
thanks.
:>)

b00 – For either Copper or Fernow, you can summit from Holden in 6 hours, fewer if you want to move fast.  The return would be maybe 5 hours.  The route descriptions I've seen rate both standard routes from Holden as Class 3.  The scrambling on Copper, however, is sustained.  Elsewhere, I've joked about splitting "class 3" into "fun" and "don't take your kids" categories.  Fernow is the fun type of class 3 scrambling (only at the top), whereas Copper is the "nerve-wracking if you take your kids" version of class 3.  This shows up in the registers.  Fernow's register has a lot of entries, including visitors from Holden.  Copper's register is thin - the last ones to sign were in 2006.

Route finding on Fernow is easy.  On Copper, we found a route on the return that avoided a short scramble through the cliff band (this easier route is described with the picture at the top of my TR).  Finding the easiest route on Copper going up would require some luck, or poking around a bit.

Good luck!  smile.gif
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b00
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PostSat Aug 09, 2008 8:46 pm 
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thank you!
:>)
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touron
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PostSat Aug 09, 2008 8:57 pm 
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Nice pictures and impressive ice cream mining technique! up.gif  up.gif  hmmm.gif

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Touron is a nougat of Arabic origin made with almonds and honey or sugar, without which it would just not be Christmas in Spain.
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Matt
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Matt
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PostSun Aug 10, 2008 4:44 pm 
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Roald, love your storytelling.
I didn't know they had a museum at Holden now; someday I'll have to check it out.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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wildernessed
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PostSun Aug 10, 2008 5:47 pm 
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up.gif I like it ! I'll have to gather a small posse and try to get out there, but everything takes time hmmm.gif , so many peaks, so little time.

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I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent_Gandhi
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John Morrow
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John Morrow
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PostMon Aug 11, 2008 6:38 am 
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b00 wrote:
how long did it take from holden to the summit and back?
was there anything difficult? class 3?
easy route finding?
what route did you take?
i hope that is not too many questions.
thanks.
:>)

Planning it are ya?  Why am I not surprised?  I love to do the pair, myself.  Perhaps I can find a window when I can actually get out with you and your usual suspects!  Keep me informed if you will.
Sincerely,
John
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John Morrow
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PostMon Aug 11, 2008 6:40 am 
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wildernessed wrote:
......hmmm: , so many peaks, so little time.

Wisest words on this forum all summer!
J
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silence
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PostMon Aug 11, 2008 7:27 am 
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entertainin read roald .. and great pix .. as was tvashtarkatena's -- funny stuff you boys

we were up that way .. well holden lake and the pass over the 4th and treated to a grand independence day parade by the friendly folks in the village (twice -- as they did up main street and back again) -- but the ice cream store was closed on sunday when we returned  frown.gif .. anyway met some climbers on the lady headed for copper and fernow that weekend but they got weathered out .. nice to see what they were talkin about .. pat's route up martin  up.gif

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mntsun
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PostMon Aug 11, 2008 9:11 am 
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Great work, terrific write-up, great responses to questions  up.gif

I'd love to get in there, was supposed to be there on Weds frown.gif

Someday!
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Go Jo
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PostMon Aug 11, 2008 12:18 pm 
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I thought your report was great until I noticed you neglect to specify ice cream flavors! What's the point of writing these things if you leave out the details that matter to us?
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cartman
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PostMon Aug 11, 2008 1:04 pm 
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If this is the bad TR, I don't know if I'm ready for the good one!

Thanks for the beta, going in there to do those in ten days.
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Roald
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Roald
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PostMon Aug 11, 2008 1:35 pm 
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the lykkens wrote:
I thought your report was great until I noticed you neglect to specify ice cream flavors! What's the point of writing these things if you leave out the details that matter to us?

Touché.  Thanks for the correction.  It was chocolate, chocolate, and chocolate.  Except there were three types of chocolate.  I kept the best one for myself (I think the name is "Alaska dark chocolate he-man kick-ass hair-on-your-chest ice cream with chunks and gooey stuff inside," or something like that.)  Pat and Don got the whimpy stuff (sumpin' like "Sweet chocolate" and "Mud pie").

I thought of something useful about the routes.  For Copper, it pays to stay low, even losing elevation from Copper Basin (that is, going below 5600 feet), as you traverse N or NW (climber's right) around the toe of Copper's forested east ridge.  Start gaining elevation after getting around the toe of the ridge.

On Fernow, we dropped lower than necessary after crossing the saddle south of Copper Basin.  It is necessary to drop some as you turn right (west) from the saddle, but after getting around a large bump in the ridge you can gain the Fernow's west ridge as you head WNW, then W to the summit.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Copper, Martin, and Fernow, part II
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