Since this was my 3 and a half attempt, the likelihood of me backing down this time was slim. Few years back, after I summited WR of North Twin, the South Tower caught my eye, and in earnest I returned to “nail” this one. It all ended very quickly low down on the ridge due to funky snow conditions. Then the same year I showed up in the middle of the season, but overslept and showed up late, and thus run out of time high up. Again, alone, not being able to find partners I showed up at FR 4000 (due to bridge down on Mosquito Rd.) Very quickly I was chased down by loggers and forbidden to even use my bike (WTF!) While packing, the gate on my SUV closed on me with keys inside!!! After few moments of saying out loud what I had on my mind, the decision was made to either walk 6+miles to nearest phone or look for locksmith? Or? Or? So, I decided to break into my own car, hmm, that’s going to interesting!? I calculated the smallest windshield will be the cheapest; WRONG!!!! Pick the bigger one! So, after almost 20 minutes of banging on the widow using array of rocks, I finally broke the darn thing; in the process I cut my hand bleeding profusely. I guess, I wouldn’t be a good prospect for a car thief!?
Totally bent on summiting, I showed up at the TR (FR 38 start) @ 5:30 and in total darkness biked, walked, biked and walked until a truck approached. Now, having had to fight with loggers, I was ready for a scuffle here too, but to my astonishment, a guy (John) offered to give me a lift to intersection with side spur Rd. (saved me energy an 30 min) Now, nicely uplifted by my fortune I pedaled towards the Twin Sisters (remember, second left here) Shortly thereafter I passed the start of North Twin WR TR and few minutes later ditched my bike in the bushes (7am) Following the overgrown trail into the upper basin between North and South Twin I made good time and stopped for B-fast in the upper basin. (8am) Chugged with H2O and few bites, I easily made it onto lower ridge and followed it for few minutes.
Seeing fresh snow, I decided to stay on the south side of the ridge and followed multitude of trails, benches, ledges and some up and downs over mostly Class 2-3 terrain with one or two Class 4 moves. After some of that, trails and cairns brought me back up to the ridge where I had to avoid some snowed and exposed sections on the ridge proper, by clean and solid 4th Class terrain on the sunny side. Now with more snow on the mountain, the easy but exposed ledges looked a bit more committing.
Eventually, I had to stay on the ridge for a while, trotting over exposed ledges covered with snow and ice, at one point hanging over outcrop covered with snow (was on the route-cairn was there) After few tense moments, I was finally able to drop down to the South side and traverse below summit tower over now easier ground but now covered with more snow. So I post holed for a while until I walked onto a broad summit and spectacular view of Mt Baker and glacier on the NE side of South Twin. (1:30pm)
With time running out fast I started going down 10min after tagging the summit. The idea was to try to bypass all difficulties on the South side and scramble myself hell out of there ASAP! For the most part that worked ok, until I got bogged by some nasty cliffs some few hundred feet below where I wanted to be, and the only way out’a there was to climb up and around finishing in steep and solid chimney, with about 500feet off the deck. After that I decided not to be cute again and just followed the ridgeline until the prominent shoulder and a possible way down straight into the valley.
The North Side looked just fine to me and armed already with ice axe and crampons, I started to down climb snow covered slopes, gulleys and chimneys eventually making my way to the bottom of the valley, just in time to find the trail before I lost any light.
Did this a long time ago with the excuse of a diamond prospecting expedition. It was pouring down rain but the dunite provided good friction all the way up. Took a shortcut down the basin on the north side and nearly bought the farm with a slip on the snow. Good work
-------------- "You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
Interesting. Don't hear about many people going up these peaks. Is it really that hard to get to the TH?
No, no bad access at all, but the bridge on Mosquito Rd is being repaired until next year (summer?) So you have to access from Hwy 20; past 16+mile marker, then left/south onto Mosquito Rd, then 4.8 miles til FR 38.
Continue 4.9miles until Y, turn right and go down 400 yards or so to gate at the bridge. FR 4000 I tried to use was a back up since I was already on the wrong side of the Nooksack River.
Given there is no snow and you stay on trails, everything goes Class 2-3, or you can get cute like me. Snow makes it more challenging. Its a long ass ridge!
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