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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSat Mar 27, 2010 5:28 pm 
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How many attempts does it take to summit the old lookout site (West Peak) of Higgins in snow???  Well, apparently for Opus (David) only one!  agree.gif  huh.gif Last year, Jim K, Trail Pair (Bob & Kolleen), Middle E (Barry), Gus and the Driver made an attempt in February Close - but No Cigar! and as is usually the case in winter/early spring, the visibility was awful!   rant.gif So, unable to get our bearings and with faulty GPS tracking, we failed woefully on our attempt to summit (not the first time Jim K and the Driver had failed in the snow!).   shakehead.gif  waah.gif Undaunted, David wanted to do something that wouldn't be too long (goodness knows we could spend endless hours wandering around the Higgins meadows looking for a route!   clown.gif ) because he needed to be back in town by 5:30 p.m.  So, we left the 65th P&R at 7:30 a.m. and made it to the Higgins trailhead (after passing several unofficial "firing ranges" on the C Post Road off of Hwy 530 to Darrington) about 8:45 a.m.  It seems many of our frequent hiking cohorts were venturing for more ambitious climbs today - but we would wonder how successful they were, given the amount of fresh, deep snow we encountered on lowly Higgins.
confused.gif  hmmm.gif
We were surprised when we arrived to find three vehicles with four guys gearing up to hit the trail.  We encouraged them to go right on ahead and break trail for us! 
Group ahead of us
Group ahead of us
BIG BIG snowshoes!!!
BIG BIG snowshoes!!!

Shortly after, we were on our way. 
Our group heading out from parking area
Our group heading out from parking area

However, within a 1/2 mile those guys were on to us, so they figured they would look like they were slower than us and they let us pass them!   rolleyes.gif We're a little slow on the up-take.  So, suckered into being "lead dogs" off we romped - hitting snow rather low ~ 2800'. 
David, Gus and Barry heading toward creek
David, Gus and Barry heading toward creek
David getting ready to cross Dick Creek (Gus' 4th crossing!!!)
David getting ready to cross Dick Creek (Gus' 4th crossing!!!)
Dick Creek
Dick Creek

The creek crossing was quite tame and easily negotiated.  As we moved up through the trees above the creek, the route was fairly easy to follow, even with a few inches of snow covering the summer trail. We felt like we were being rained on under the trees - with an occasional "whump" of heavy wet snow - or getting pelted with some falling ice balls.  Jim was a victim on one such head-dump!  eek.gif  Just before we reached the first meadow, the snow was much deeper and warranted snowshoes (~3400')
Snowshoe time
Snowshoe time

This made the going a bit easier - but even with 'shoes on we were making a trench that was knee deep.  It was about the spot that we put the snowshoes on that we went the wrong direction last year.  But not today.  We were on a mission (of course, a couple of pink flags helped too!   wink.gif ). 
Jim and David at another water crossing
Jim and David at another water crossing

We reached the upper meadow and could see our destination to the south.
Our destination today - the West Peak of the Higgins group (4850':)
Our destination today - the West Peak of the Higgins group (4850')

After a bit of route discussion, Barry started out to cross the meadow and head toward the trees that would lead us up the drainage (a boulder field in the summer) to the West Peak of Higgins where the old lookout site was.
Heading toward the trees to reach the last climb up to the summit of the lookout
Heading toward the trees to reach the last climb up to the summit of the lookout
Looking across the meadow - how did those big ol' marshmallows get there?
Looking across the meadow - how did those big ol' marshmallows get there?
Snow is deep - a struggle for Gus
Snow is deep - a struggle for Gus
Edge of meadow - entering the forest
Edge of meadow - entering the forest

Once back in the trees - we started the slow slog up the deep snow (deep even in the trees).  Barry ably led us on a route that was 'spot on' the summer trail.  We started trading off leads to break trail.  About midway up the slope, one of the guys from the other group caught up to us and became the caboose to our train and was even pressed into service later to break trail!  We figured we had made his route pretty easy, so it was only fair.  What took us about 1 1/2 hours to go 2/3's of the distance and elevation gain, took us almost the same amount of time to do the remaining 1/3! 
Still 100' to go
Still 100' to go
Looking north en route to West Peak
Looking north en route to West Peak
Last push to the summit of West Peak
Last push to the summit of West Peak
Just below the summit - fresh snow
Just below the summit - fresh snow

Soon, we were on top where there was filtered sun  cool.gif  but a wind that picked up and made it a tad nippy. 
David and Barry on summit of old lookout site (West Peak of Higgins)
David and Barry on summit of old lookout site (West Peak of Higgins)

From the summit, you could see the very distinct snow line of new fresh snow. 

Looking west from summit of West Peak - noticeable snow line
Looking west from summit of West Peak - noticeable snow line

The views from the summit of Higgins' West Peak are pretty decent - and although it was a bit cloudy, we could clearly make out Baker, Eldorado, Glacier, White Horse, etc.
Gus and the Driver looking to the East
Gus and the Driver looking to the East
Eldorado
Eldorado
Glacier
Glacier
Looking across to White Horse and Bedal in the distance
Looking across to White Horse and Bedal in the distance
East Peaks
East Peaks

This was to be David's "bon voyage" hike before he meets up with Beth to head out on the Appalachian Trail and he wouldn't be disappointed. Now, call it beginners luck, or perhaps it's just David's propensity for successful summits, but this sums it up:
Pinch me!  I can't open my eyes - did I make a summit????
Pinch me!  I can't open my eyes - did I make a summit????
David on the east side of the old lookout site summit (West Higgins)
David on the east side of the old lookout site summit (West Higgins)
David pondering these big mountains before heading on the Appalachian Trail
David pondering these big mountains before heading on the Appalachian Trail

The Driver has been to Higgins many, many times - several times missing the lookout summit and winding up on the Middle Peak of Higgins in the winter.
Middle Peak - or Higgins
Middle Peak - or Higgins

Not a bad mistake to make! 
So, we spent a little more time eating lunch, taking pics and enjoying the views.

Our "companions" on the summit of West Peak
Our "companions" on the summit of West Peak
Driver, Jim, Gus, Barry and David on summit of West Peak
Driver, Jim, Gus, Barry and David on summit of West Peak
Other group on Higgins enjoying lunch at the summit
Other group on Higgins enjoying lunch at the summit
Looking across the Darrington valley from summit
Looking across the Darrington valley from summit

But, the wind was a bummer, so about 12:30 p.m. we headed down off the summit (Gus was reluctant to leave "fresh lunch" behind, but followed us down  tongue.gif ).  The down was a whole lot faster than the up had been!  We made quick work of the steepish slope back to the meadow.  We took our snowshoes off a little closer to Dick Creek.  After we reached dirt again, Barry spotted a carving in the rock (click on the photo to enlarge and see the carving).
Jimbo knows the story behind the carving in this rock - circa 1917
Jimbo knows the story behind the carving in this rock - circa 1917

None of us really know the story, but Jimbo does and perhaps he will add it to this report.  Pretty impressive to still be so obvious after almost 100 years!  (Although neither Jim nor I ever saw it before today - even though we have both been this route many times!)  Back to the car by 2:30 p.m.  David would be back in town by about 4:00 p.m.   up.gif  What a great day (thermometer in the car even hit 70 as we crossed the city limits)!  A good send off for David and a monkey off our backs to finally "Hook Higgins" after several near misses, with pretty decent weather to boot.  Nice!   winksmile.gif

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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TrailPair
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Joined: 17 Apr 2005
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TrailPair
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PostSat Mar 27, 2010 5:57 pm 
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A lot nicer weather than we had last year when we tried  Higgins!

There was hardly any new snow at all on the Howson Creek trail...what a difference from what you had today!

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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the Zachster
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the Zachster
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PostSat Mar 27, 2010 6:37 pm 
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Congrats on nabbing the mountain with my name on it! hockeygrin.gif Looks like another fine day and beautiful summit!

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"May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am"
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BirdDog
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PostSat Mar 27, 2010 6:52 pm 
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OK, this thread gets "Title of the Year". Very clever! Nice TR and pics as well.

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"There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country."
Teddy Roosevelt August 6, 1912
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Middle E
no more moustache



Joined: 10 Feb 2008
Posts: 432 | TRs
Location: Seattle, WA
Middle E
no more moustache
PostSat Mar 27, 2010 7:36 pm 
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Yes, the 2nd time was a charm.  It really helps when you can see the destination ahead of you!  It also helped that we were able to follow the summer trail almost all of the way.

Higgins from meadow
Higgins from meadow
Nearing the summit
Nearing the summit
Skadulgwas and Higgins (east pk)
Skadulgwas and Higgins (east pk)
Whitehorse and 3 Fingers
Whitehorse and 3 Fingers
A picture of Jim taking a picture of Suzanne taking a picture of David
A picture of Jim taking a picture of Suzanne taking a picture of David

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pithy yet insightful signature
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSun Mar 28, 2010 6:41 am 
Higgins Reprise
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the Zachster wrote:
Congrats on nabbing the mountain with my name on it! hockeygrin.gif Looks like another fine day and beautiful summit!

Well, maybe if you had been with us last year, Nancy, we would have found the darn summit!!!   lol.gif

BirdDog wrote:
OK, this thread gets "Title of the Year."

winksmile.gif

s.d.

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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3549 | TRs
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostSun Mar 28, 2010 7:08 am 
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What a great trip!  Cant ask for a better last hike in Washington (for awhile anyway).  Great weather, blue skies, frosted trees, good friends.  See you guys in May!


Crossing Dick Creek
Crossing Dick Creek
Sun rays
Sun rays
Into deep snow
Into deep snow
Route finding
Route finding
Hole finding
Hole finding
Gusto breaking trail
Gusto breaking trail
Crossing the meadow
Crossing the meadow
Blue skies
Blue skies
Snowline
Snowline
Skadulgwas peak
Skadulgwas peak
Ridge view
Ridge view
Back home
Back home
Trees dropping snow
Trees dropping snow
Through the trees
Through the trees
Jim crossing
Jim crossing
Summit Panorama
Summit Panorama
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Yana
Hater



Joined: 03 Jun 2004
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Yana
Hater
PostSun Mar 28, 2010 7:45 am 
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Wow! I never tire of the view of those snow covered slabs on Skadulgwas. Thanks for the pics and glad you made it this time. Nice sendoff for Opus, too!  up.gif  up.gif

It doesn't really matter, but for clarification (or to add further confusion?): Skadulgwas is also known as Middle Higgins. The thing you call Middle Higgins doesn't have a name, as far as I know. The highest, easternmost summit is just known as Higgins (or Higgins East) and is visible behind and to the left of Skadulgwas in your photos. The lookout site (where you were) is actually just referred to as Mt. Higgins LO. There is another peak considered part of the Mt. Higgins group almost directly to the north of it (that inconsiderately blocks your view of Mt. Baker) that, according to peakbagger is called Sexegenerian Peak, but I've also seen it referred to as the West Peak.

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PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
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TrailPair
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TrailPair
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PostSun Mar 28, 2010 8:02 am 
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BirdDog wrote:
OK, this thread gets "Title of the Year". Very clever! Nice TR and pics as well.

I suppose the title the Driver chose is better than "Happy Hookers Hike Higgins"  lol.gif  lol.gif  agree.gif  hockeygrin.gif (of course I am refering to an crocheting club!) dizzy.gif  doh.gif

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSun Mar 28, 2010 3:43 pm 
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Yana wrote:
It doesn't really matter, but for clarification (or to add further confusion?): Skadulgwas is also known as Middle Higgins. The thing you call Middle Higgins doesn't have a name, as far as I know. The highest, easternmost summit is just known as Higgins (or Higgins East) and is visible behind and to the left of Skadulgwas in your photos. The lookout site (where you were) is actually just referred to as Mt. Higgins LO. There is another peak considered part of the Mt. Higgins group almost directly to the north of it (that inconsiderately blocks your view of Mt. Baker) that, according to peakbagger is called Sexegenerian Peak, but I've also seen it referred to as the West Peak.

Yana -
shakehead.gif  shakehead.gif  I am absolutely positive that we were on the Thunder Mountain complex!!!   dizzy.gif  embarassedlaugh.gif  winksmile.gif

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Jimbo
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Jimbo
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PostSun Mar 28, 2010 4:59 pm 
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up.gif   to you all. I took a bike ride yesterday out that way and was amazed at the new snow up there. I was thinking of a hike there but made other plans, now I wish I had went and met you all there. Sam Strom was a tough Man back in the Monte Cristo days. He's talked about by Elof Norman in his book, The coffee chased us up.. This is a good bunch of info on a mountain Man.  http://www.stumpranchonline.com/skagitjournal/Washington/Snohomish/Monte/StromSam1-Bio.html

Not so pretty there today, wind and rain big time, thanks for the T/R..

I think Jake has a ton of info on Sam.. Jack fill us in..

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Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians
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Jake
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Jake
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PostSun Mar 28, 2010 6:15 pm 
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Jimbo ask me to reply to this thread about Sam Strom.
Most of what I know is on the Skagit River Journal link Jimbo posted. Infact  some of that information came from me.
But to summarize; Sam Strom came to Monte Cristo when it was a thriving boom town. Much of what we know about Monte Cristo came from his rememberances which he wrote in 1934.
Sam was a miner, forest ranger, fire guard and justice of the piece in Darrington in the early 1900s.
He also owned some mines on the flanks of Gold Mountain north of Darrington, and claimed to have fought the KKK in Darrington and won.
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSun Mar 28, 2010 8:29 pm 
Somewhere near Darrington
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deerhunter wrote:
That dog looks familiar. You said you were up there last february, I'm curious if it was your group that followed our tracks down to Myrtle Lake. We were standing by a fire there and a golden retriever ran up to us.

Hmmm - I don't remember a group with a fire near the lake (although we did head down near the lake).  Gus could have made a visit, however, if you had food!   agree.gif  lol.gif   s.d.

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