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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Above the Clouds - Kyes Peak (9/14 - 9/15/09)
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Tom
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Joined: 15 Dec 2001
Posts: 14239 | TRs | Pics

Post Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:21 pm    Above the Clouds - Kyes Peak (9/14 - 9/15/09)
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Mike has been busy bagging peaks this week so I guess I'll be writing this TR. clown.gif   Kyes is a long and strenuous day trip so we decided to do it as an overnight.  After a late start we hit the Blanca Lake trail a little before noon.  Took our time on the way up to Virgin Lake, feasting on ripe berries.  After a quick lunch at Virgin Lake we found the obvious boot path up the ridge and followed it all the way to the pass below point 5845'.  Here we left the boot path, dropped to the talus below and sidehilled (on steep slopes) to the pass on the other side where we rejoined the boot path and followed it up the steep ridge until it breaks out at around 6100'.  After filtering some snowmelt (the first water since Virgin Lake) we ascended on pumice sized scree towards the pass just left of what Mike called "the sharkfin".  From here the true summit is visible and the approach is straight forward.

From the pass we rose above the low cloud layer to a magical scene just below the summit as the sun set to the west.  After getting his fill of pictures Mike continued up to the summit while I snapped away in the fading light, opting to save the summit for the next morning.  After Mike returned from the summit we scoped out the slabs below looking for a spot to camp and settled on a nice level slab next to running water.  I gathered rocks to anchor tent stakes while iPhone Mike posted some facebook entries and cooked dinner.  Headed up to the summit the next morning and took our time on the way out.  As always, I took too many pictures...

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Dayhike Mike
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Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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Location: Going to Tukwila
Post Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:25 pm   
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Reserved for DHM.
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iron
#1 on the DNCL



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
Posts: 4299 | TRs | Pics
Location: seattle
Post Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:20 pm   
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great pics tom. ice axe and 'pons for this trip?

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"the trouble with quotes on the internet is that it's hard to determine whether or not they're genuine." - abraham lincoln
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Tom
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Joined: 15 Dec 2001
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Post Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:34 pm   
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No ice axe or crampons.  Almost all the snow is gone - just a soft snowfield with a gentle slope to go up after rounding the pass.
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peltoms
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Location: Worcester MA
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:08 am   
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Nice shots in amidst the clouds- a view back to your recent summit of Columbia.  The seldom viewed Pride Glacier, better snowpack than Columbia Glacier.
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The Bubbly Hiker
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Joined: 07 Feb 2009
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Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:19 am   
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Nice work, dudes. Your trip sounded a lot more reasonable than ours -- more time to savor, fewer bugs, great routefinding choices. But next time can you just take one spectacular photo? Your set is sending me into anaphylactic  shock. A person can die of too many stunning images!
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Gil
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Joined: 29 Sep 2004
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Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:42 am   
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Great TR! I've wanted to do that trip -- maybe some day!

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Dayhike Mike
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Joined: 02 Mar 2003
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Location: Going to Tukwila
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:01 am   
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This was a good time indeed.

We slept in and got started late, leaving the trailhead a little before noon. The trip up to Virgin was quick and painless, roughly two hours -- any dawdling was entirely due to the massive berries that lined either side of the trail.

(There's a reason it's called Virgin Lake. That thing is so ugly, *no one* would sleep with it.)

The trail up from Virgin was in decent shape. Traversing around and then up the first rocky outcropping was pretty wild. That's one mean stretch of "trail".

The reports of the horrible "trail" over 5845' effectively scared us away from it on the way in, and the sidehilling commenced. I realized quickly just how threadbare and worn my soles on my shoes are, as they really didn't stick too well to the steep heather, grass, and blueberry bushes... I fell and ripped open the stitches in my shin just 3 minutes into the descent / traverse. Needless to say, I did a lot of swearing and sliding as we worked our way across the slope.

The rest of the route went pretty well. We exited to the left a little before the top and avoided the scrubby brush on the ridgeline we ended up hitting on the way back. The summit block was a little dirty, but not horrible.

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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
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Stefan-K
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Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:40 pm   
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love those clouds, glorious conditions!  Been wanting to do this one...

thanks!
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Sultan Guy
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Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:54 pm   
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Great job guys. Looks like you camped very close to where I did last September.

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Any worthwhile expedition can be planned on the back of an envelope- H. W. Tilman
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Tom
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Joined: 15 Dec 2001
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Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 8:58 pm   
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East veranda, ha great caption!

I was cleaning off my card getting ready for another hike and discovered I hadn't downloaded all my pics.  Here's another shot of Point 5845' on the return and sidehilling the slopes below it.  Gives a pretty good perspective of how steep it and how much Mike was loving it. embarassedlaugh.gif  I still think it was better to sidehill below than mess with the ridge.

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Joey
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Joined: 05 Jun 2005
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Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:23 pm   
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Super pics Tom.

I did Keyes as a student in the Mounties scramble class back in the day when few did this and there definitely was no boot path.  On the way in I lost a bandana.  On the way out the leader (Clint Kelly) exactly retraced our steps and, yup, there was the missing bandana snagged up on some brush.
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Magellan
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Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:28 pm   
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Gorgeous pictures Tom.  Dayhike/Iphone/Facebook Mike sure looks fast. eek.gif
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lopper
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Joined: 22 Jan 2002
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Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:51 pm   
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Your pictures bring back memories and stoke the furnace for a return visit. Thanks for posting.

The sharkfin shots are exceptional.  Here is how old sharkie looked in the flat light of July 4 1978.


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EastKing
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Joined: 28 Mar 2007
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Location: 40 hours week work; 40 hours summit
Post Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:12 pm   
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Awesome shots!!!!! Great TR!! up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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