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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Suiattle Crest 50 Mile Adventure Run - 8/4/2009
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pantilat
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Joined: 30 May 2008
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Post Thu Aug 06, 2009 10:15 pm    Suiattle Crest 50 Mile Adventure Run - 8/4/2009
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Suiattle Crest 50 Mile Adventure Run Loop

Colin Abercrombie and I completed a 50 mile adventure run loop in the Glacier Peak Wilderness that includes 12,500+ ft of elevation gain and passes through six passes (Little Giant Pass, High Pass, Buck Creek Pass, Suiattle Pass, Cloudy Pass, Spider Gap). We did the loop in 13:37, but our progress was often slowed by stops to photograph the amazing scenery. A large portion of this extremely aesthetic loop follows near the Cascade crest along the Suiattle River drainage, hence the name “Suiattle Crest 50 mile.” While we climbed no summits, the alpine flavor and grand vistas along the way make this a classic outing.


Alternatively, the movie can watched on YouTube.

Colin designed this giant loop which is remarkably close to 50 miles in distance and covers virtually all the highlights in the region. There are essentially two scenic areas of the loop – the Napeequa Valley/High Pass region and the Lyman Lakes area – separated by 10+ miles of relatively uninteresting trail in the woods between Buck Creek Pass and Suiattle Pass, with a significant extra hill climb over Middle Ridge. We started at Little Giant TH and I recommend doing the route clockwise beginning with the climb up to Little Giant Pass. The first 16 miles from Little Giant TH to High Pass are the most arduous with the steepest climbs, brush (very wet and very cold from dew in the morning), some off-trail travel, and routefinding issues. After High Pass, the complexities are mainly over as the trails improve allowing for more running. Doing the loop clockwise provides for a relatively easy 13-mile finish along the Phelps Creek Trail and dirt road from Phelps Creek TH back to Little Giant TH. A shorter option that is very popular with backpackers is the ~37 mile Spider Gap/Buck Creek Pass Loop. This option avoids the complexities of Napeequa Valley and the ascent to High Pass, but the beautiful scenery in the Napeequa Valley and around High Pass is well worth the extra effort and mileage.

Location (Elevation): Time Elapsed / Split / Real Time
Little Giant TH (2,600 ft) : 0 / 0 / 04:55
Little Giant Pass (6,409 ft) : 1:35:24 / 1:35:24 / 06:30
High Pass (6,876 ft) : 5:35:31 / 4:00:06 / 10:31
Buck Creek Pass (5,796 ft) : 6:43:15 / 1:07:43 / 11:38
Cloudy Pass (6,420 ft) : 9:18:52 / 2:35:37 / 14:14
Spider Gap (7,040 ft) : 11:00:02 / 1:41:09 / 15:55
Phelps Creek TH (3,500 ft) : 12:42:38 / 1:42:36 / 17:38
Little Giant TH (2,600 ft) : 13:37:23 / 54:45 / 18:42

Clark Mountain from Little Giant Pass

Napeequa Valley

Walrus Glacier

Clark Mountain and Richardson Glacier

Luahna and Pilz Glacier

Glacier Peak from High Pass

View across Buck Creek Valley to Fortress and Chiwawa

Upper Suiattle River

Meadows!

Miners Ridge and Plummer Mountain

Carpet of trees below Suiattle Pass

Agnes Creek Valley from near Suiattle Pass

View of Lyman Lakes Basin and Chiwawa Mountain from Cloudy Pass

Lower Lyman Lake

Bonanza Peak

Lyman Glacier Remnant

Spider Meadows and Phelps Creek Valley







Gear:
La Sportiva Fireblade Trail Running Shoes, SaltStick electrolyte caps, Clif Shot Bloks, Ultimate Direction Handholders and the Ultimate Direction Wasp pack.

Trail Conditions Report:
The forest service has done a good job logging out the Little Giant Pass Trail and the Phelps Creek Trail. Napeequa Valley is brushy, and the brush is very wet and very cold in the morning! The path up to High Pass is difficult to spot as it climbs from the Napeequa Valley, but it is worth looking for. The path is a bit overgrown, but nothing compared to the slide alder mess you will encounter otherwise. There are a few large logs remaining on the stretch between Buck Creek Pass and Suiattle Pass to jump over or walk around.

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Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob



Joined: 16 Dec 2001
Posts: 21339 | TRs | Pics
Location: Cle Elum
Post Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:05 pm   
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Ok that's just Krazie, and impressive!  Nice work. up.gif

Shouldnt you have invited Jason Hummel?  You high energy buggers!

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"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I require the same from them."

—Wayne's John Bernard Books in The Shootist
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Hulksmash
Cleaning up.



Joined: 20 Apr 2008
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Location: Granite Falls
Post Thu Aug 06, 2009 11:56 pm   
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Even if i was physical capable of some thing like that....mentally it would be impossible for me to quickly pass through country like that.  Way too much eye candy.
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EastKing
Summit Addict



Joined: 28 Mar 2007
Posts: 2004 | TRs | Pics
Location: 40 hours week work; 40 hours summit
Post Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:05 am   
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Wow! I wish I was in shape to do that.  up.gif  up.gif Great work, TR and photos. up.gif  up.gif

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I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

http://www.myspace.com/climbandsurfmackg | http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=894
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Magellan
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Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Location: Inexorable descent
Post Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:21 am   
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Nice work Leor.  Do you eat any food during your day?
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Dayhike Mike
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Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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Location: Going to Tukwila
Post Fri Aug 07, 2009 12:40 am   
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Niiiiiice!  agree.gif

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"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
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Jim Dockery
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Post Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:12 am   
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Yowza! banana.gif that is incredible, makes my knees ache just thinking about it. I agree with Hulk that I'd have trouble not hanging around to take pix, but you do a great job on the run. I'd also be interested in what and how much you ate and drank. Also what emergency gear did you bring in case someone got hurt and had to hang out overnight?

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jimdockery.com Panoramio
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jeremybe
Ol' One-shirt



Joined: 17 Jul 2008
Posts: 274 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle
Post Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:12 am   
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Hulksmash wrote:
Even if i was physical capable of some thing like that....mentally it would be impossible for me to quickly pass through country like that.  Way too much eye candy.

Agreed, agreed, agreed.

Impressive, but not for me!

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The blog: http://dontlookdown.wordpress.com/
The photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/asmugglersbible/
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silence
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Post Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:05 am   
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ok ... so much for raggin on speed .. i mean for the sake of stopping long enough to smell the fleurs .. you guys still manage to get in some great moments to enjoy the scenery and take some mighty fine photos ... way to go AGAIN!! amazing stats .. herculean effort .. esp when looking at the past few weeks combined and all that you've accomplished ..

when do you plan to do the wonderland?? .. forget i said that .. i know you can't annouce .. but i expect a record breaker soon  wink.gif

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PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. – Bob Dylan
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Conrad
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Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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Location: Moscow, ID
Post Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:39 am   
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Thanks for the TR. I keep looking for more data points on the following: How would you rate the danger at the following points, for a solo Plain Old Hiker (not climber) with family responsibilities?

1. The descent from Little Giant Pass to the Napeequah. I've heard that at spots "to trip would be bad" or "a misstep could add you to the casualty list".

2. The scramble (?) just N of High Pass, getting to the start of more trail.

Also, if someone wanted to spend a few minutes improving the start (bottom) of the alder-mess trail starting up from the Napeequa to High Pass, would a one-handed pruning shear suffice or would you need a saw?
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Dayhike Mike
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Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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Post Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:27 am   
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Conrad, I wouldn't think either of those sections would be horribly sketchy.

The interesting part would be going up the valley and hanging the right to get up into the valley that leads up toward High Pass.

--------------
"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
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pantilat
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Post Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:04 am   
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Thanks!

- Food: Clif Shot Bloks are my food of choice. They are easy to use, clean (unlike Gels), and provide lots of electrolytes. I also bring some PowerBars and Balance Bars.

- Electrolytes: I use SaltStick electrolyte caps, the only electrolyte capsule formulated to closely resemble the electrolyte profile lost during activity. They are crucial to minimizing cramping and fatigue.

- Little Giant Descent: I actually found it to be a little sketchy in spots where the tread has completely disappeared on the steep slope or where it is overgrown. Definitely not running terrain or even fast walking, but not a problem if you exercise caution.

- Scramble north of High Pass: There is a boulder field to cross north of High Pass and then you hit trail all the way to Buck Creek Pass so no problems.

- Alder mess out of Napeequa: We actually could not locate the path for about 25 minutes because the grass and brush has grown so much this year, but it is definitely worth finding. The alder is not really the problem, more so the seasonal brush (ferns, salmonberry, etc.) so a pair of loppers will go a long way.

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Conrad
Meadow bagger



Joined: 25 Aug 2006
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Location: Moscow, ID
Post Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:19 am   
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Thanks for the info. Still trying to decide whether to copy your trip next weekend (8/14F - 8/17M).
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Jason Hummel
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Location: Tacoma Washington
Post Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:45 am   
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
Ok that's just Krazie, and impressive!  Nice work. up.gif

Shouldnt you have invited Jason Hummel?  You high energy buggers!

I could hardly keep up. Nice work guys. I've loved reading your reports these past few years. They are quite inspiring.

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Photography: Alpine State Of Mind! | Trip Reports: Cascade Crusades! | FACEBOOK
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hikapath
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Location: Lochsloy
Post Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:53 am   
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pantilat--I am amazed at some of the trips shown here--congratulations on an amazing trip. eek.gif   Love the pictures. smile.gif  I did the loop the other way a few years ago-- parked at the Little Giant TH and walked the road first.  We took a more relaxed four days to do it though.  This did allow us to add to the views by make a side trip out Minors ridge to the lookout and Image Lake.  This filled in a great view area between Lyman lake and Buck Creek pass.  We did not find the trail dropping down into the Napeequa so just went down through the slide alder--I was glad we were going down and not trying to climb up.  The only route finding issue was staying on the brush covered trail in the Napeequa valley.
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