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beaudaddy
Coast To Cascades



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 401 | TRs | Pics
Location: Tulalip, WA
beaudaddy
Coast To Cascades
PostTue Jul 27, 2010 7:16 pm 
Background-

This marks the first trip that Gimpilator and I have done together.  We met on the Perry Creek Trailhead this last February for the first time.  I had finished Stillaguamish Peak and he was just heading up Mt Forgotten.  In meeting each other in person, we discovered that we both were members of Summitpost.org.  This started off comments back and forth over photos and trip reports.  The timing worked out just right and Gimpilator planned a trip for us to climb Mt Larrabee (7,861’) on Sunday July 25th.

Brief Plan-

Our plan was to meet Saturday evening at the Yellow Aster Butte Trailhead.  This is found just off of the Mt Baker Highway 542.  Even though Gimpilator’s Suzuki Bandit has 1,200cc of muscle, it wouldn’t be a good match for the rugged road that climbs up to Twin Lakes at (5,200’).  So I planned to taxi him up the last couple miles.  We planned to bivy at the lakes for the night and hit the trail early Sunday morning for the southwest gully ascent to Mt Larrabee.  A possible Winchester Mountain (6,521’) summit was thrown into the plans for an added bonus.
   Rugged, Red Larrabee has been on Gimpilator’s list of summits to climb for some time now. His passion for this summit has been alive far beyond our time knowing each other.  I could hear the stoke in his voice just talking about this state border massive.


Day 1-

I headed up the Twin Lakes road and meet Gimplilator around 7:30pm.  He parked his bike just below the Y.A.B.T.H. and piled his sweaty gear in my lifted truck.  He had just spent the last night on Exelsior Peak (5,712’) and then battled the sketchy summit block of Church Mountain (6,315’) that afternoon.  He had already made good use of the weekend so far and had stories to tell.  We followed the steep road switch backing tightly until we reached the lakes.  The lakes were snowed in, so we drove about 30’ onto the snow until finding a great parking spot.  It was about 8pm now and Gimp looked over to me and said, “Let’s head up Winchester Mountain real quick so we can check out our route on Larrabee for tomorrow.”  I wasn’t sure if he was serious at first, but after seeing the mountain man in his eyes I said, “Should I take my crampons?”

We hoped out, threw on some gear and headed up.

Gimpilator looking up.  Mt Baker on the horizon
Gimpilator looking up.  Mt Baker on the horizon
Mt Baker
Mt Baker
Goats, Shuksan and Baker
Goats, Shuksan and Baker

We made great time until we hit some super steep snow traverses on pretty solid snow.  Gimp kicked in some quick steps and I followed right behind.
Steep snow and nice colors
Steep snow and nice colors
East and West Goat, with Shuksan in the middle
East and West Goat, with Shuksan in the middle
Mt Baker
Mt Baker

It was amazing how quickly the views grew with such little effort.

Nothing wrong with that right there
Nothing wrong with that right there
Gimpilator glowing as he looks toward the summit of Winchester
Gimpilator glowing as he looks toward the summit of Winchester
Looking South
Looking South

We were trying to catch the sunset, but it started to happen before we reached the summit.  The steep snow really slowed us down as we made sure to get good purchase with our axes.  After a couple small snowfields we soon were to a large moat on steep snow, with a rocky ridge above.  We navigated this by dropping into its firm belly while straddling snow and rock.  We did this for about 30’until Gimp found a line to climb up the rock to gain the ridge.  That was pretty much the crux of the whole evening’s shindig.  We crossed another snowfield and by this time the sun had set for the evening.
Tomyhoi Peak at sunset
Tomyhoi Peak at sunset
Gimp Checking out our route for the morning on Larrabee.
Gimp Checking out our route for the morning on Larrabee.
American Border Peak at dusk
American Border Peak at dusk
Mt Larrabee and A.B.P
Mt Larrabee and A.B.P

Its light was replaced with a glorious full moon and rich colors still lingering around.  It was a breathtaking affair.  We finally got to the lookout around 9:30pm or so.

Gimpilator standing next to the Winchester Mountain lookout after sundown
Gimpilator standing next to the Winchester Mountain lookout after sundown

There was still sufficient light from the evening colors and full moon to enjoy killer views.
After taking it all in, we headed back down to camp.  If there wasn’t such steep snow, you could almost go down under the luminosity of the moon.  Oh, the crux again was the gnarly moat, now in the murky light.

Gimp testing his ninza skills
Gimp testing his ninza skills
more ninja skills
more ninja skills

We got back to camp around 10:30pm.

That Night-

I decided to sleep in my bag in the bed of my truck.  I gave Gimpilator the offer to bivy on the bed of my truck, but he chose the snowfield instead.  I guess he was too hot the night before on Exelsior, so he had a different plan.  We got our packs ready for the morning and Gimp hit the sack and I cooked some late dinner.  Soon, I too was clocked out for the night.  The moon was high, which lighted up the whole twin lakes basin.  It almost felt like taking a nap during the day, without the sunscreen or lawn chair of course.
2:30AM. This time came quick with the sound of a truck pulling into camp.  Not only did it pull into camp, but it started to back up a snow covered hill punching the gas.  They worked on spinning tires at a high rpm for a couple minutes as I sat up in my bag watching.  They then parked the rig and it just sat for awhile.  Kind of hard to sleep after that!!!  I laid back down and heard them get out and walk down to the lake.  All of a sudden, “BOOM!!!”  Shots Fired.  I reached for my knife and then remembered the old saying, “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.”  I peaked above the bed of my truck, but couldn’t see the shooter.  I looked over about a 100’ where Gimp was sleeping; his head was popped up looking around.  I sunk down in my bag and just listened.  Two more shoots fired and it was silent.  I never slept well for the rest of the night.  In the morning, there was no sign of these rabble rousers.




Day 2-

First light looking toward Pocket Peak and the Skagway Pass
First light looking toward Pocket Peak and the Skagway Pass
On of the Twin Lakes early in the morning
On of the Twin Lakes early in the morning
Starting out.  Pocket Peak on the horizon.
Starting out.  Pocket Peak on the horizon.

We got up at 6:30am and headed down the trail a bit after 7.  We cut between the lakes and headed up the Winchester Route.  Soon we were to the junction to high pass.  We hung a right there and trotted along.  We came around the corner and saw our first views of Mt Larrabee and The Pleiades.

Gimpilator checking out The Pleiades
Gimpilator checking out The Pleiades
Gimpilator traversing snow.  Mt Larrabee and The Pleiades on the horizon.
Gimpilator traversing snow.  Mt Larrabee and The Pleiades on the horizon.

We traversed a couple snow fields and noticed that someone had been up there within the last couple days.  We studied our route as we went.  Getting to High Pass we lost some elevation until we were just below Low Pass.  This is where it switchbacks up to about 5,600’ at Low Pass.  There was a large snow headwall that ran about 100’.

Large Headwall at Low Pass
Large Headwall at Low Pass

We stayed to the right of this and made our way to High Pass(6,000').  Here we ran into two ladies who camped that night.  Their destination was High Pass and told us a group of 7 climbers summited Larrabee the day before.

Looking south from above High Pass
Looking south from above High Pass
Checking out a good route
Checking out a good route

We continued and dropped into the large snow filled bowl.  Later in the summer this is filled with nasty scree and talus.  We lucked out and traversed the great snow until it was a vertical snow climb for a couple hundred feet.  The top had a rim, which we were careful to climb out of.  Once on this ridge high above the snow filled bowl we got to our first decision.
There were two immediate gully options.  One to the left which looked narrow and solid.  The one to the right was wider, but very loose rock.  We choose the gully to the left.  We could only see maybe 75’ up each gully, so we went off of the rock conditions we could see.  They both went in the direction to the summit.  The gully to the left went good for awhile.  Soon we became pretty exposed on a solid class 3 scramble.  The rock turned into very loose and unstable garbage.  Large rocks that appeared to be solid, would pull out very easily.  This brought on danger for the climber below and obviously the climber pulling himself up.  We took our time to navigate the rocks and found some decent lines here and there.  We got to one section that was sketchy, exposed and required a very physical and mental move.  Gimp was ahead of me and he cliffed out to the left.  I tried this sketchy move to the right, knowing that right above it was better ground.  I made the move and Gimp followed.
First part of the Chimney section before it became technical
First part of the Chimney section before it became technical
Gimp holding on high up on Larrabee
Gimp holding on high up on Larrabee

Once we were above, we decided this is not were we would be descending down.  The rest of the climb was on very loose red rocks.  It sounded like broken glass.

Very steep, loose rock
Very steep, loose rock
Steep, Loose Rock
Steep, Loose Rock
A sea of down sloping garbage
A sea of down sloping garbage

We then traversed to the left and found a nice snow gully.  We switch backed this steep gully for hundreds of feet until it petered out.

Steep Snow
Steep Snow

Then it was back on the nasty rock.  This mountain is extremely dangerous if there are climbers above you.  It does not matter how careful you are, large rocks will fall down.  I would not attempt this without a helmet, and I would be very questionable to be far below another climbing party.  Soon we found a faint boot path.  The only reason we found this was a couple cairns that had been built along the way.  We followed this faint path, more like some dust on the rocks.  One bonus in all the crummy rock, was the beautiful flowers everywhere.
Flower Garden In The Rocks
Flower Garden In The Rocks
Looking out at Baker
Looking out at Baker
Phlox and Paintbrush
Phlox and Paintbrush

Soon we could taste the summit.  We became really excited for all the work that went into the climb.  It was just before noon when we made it to the top.  There is an east and west summit.  The east summit is maybe 2 feet higher and is more flat.  This is where we had lunch.  Both summit have different views.  Wow, and the views were crazy.  It was amazing to be standing at the very end of the Cascade Mountain Range.  You could see the Fraser River Valley separating the ranges.  Views into Canada were great, along with the views into the North Cascades.
Gimpilator on the east summit
Gimpilator on the east summit
Gimpilator on the west summit with Tomyhoi Peak (7,451':)
Gimpilator on the west summit with Tomyhoi Peak (7,451')
Gimpilator on the East summit
Gimpilator on the East summit
Gimpilator on the west summit.
Gimpilator on the west summit.
Canadian Border and American Border Peaks
Canadian Border and American Border Peaks

Looking north we noticed the large Glacier field a couple thousand feet below.
Glacier crevasses on the north side of Larrabee
Glacier crevasses on the north side of Larrabee
Glacier crevasses on the north side of Larrabee
Glacier crevasses on the north side of Larrabee

Everywhere we looked offered bigtime views.
Mt Baker, Tomyhoi Lake and Peak
Mt Baker, Tomyhoi Lake and Peak
Canadian Border and American Border Peaks
Canadian Border and American Border Peaks

We took a short break and headed down.

Gimpilator Checking Out Shuksan
Gimpilator Checking Out Shuksan
The Pleiades (7,334':)
The Pleiades (7,334')
Slesse Mountain (7,850':)
Slesse Mountain (7,850')
Canadian Border and American Border Peaks
Canadian Border and American Border Peaks

We followed the boot path along a ridge.  This worked pretty well.  The rock was still very unstable.  We created many small rock slides going down, trying to be super careful.  As we headed down, we found the gully we didn’t take on the way up.  We tried this one out, and it was much safer.  It still was a solid class 3 downclimb in spots, but a lot safer for us.  If you’re into rock climbing, the other gully would be for you.
Gimpilator Down Climbing
Gimpilator Down Climbing
Gimpilator down climbing the grey vein
Gimpilator down climbing the grey vein
More Down Climbing With Mt Baker
More Down Climbing With Mt Baker

We made good time down.  We got to the rim of the snow filled bowl and carefully climbed into it.

Gimp Dropping into the snow bowl
Gimp Dropping into the snow bowl
Shuksan and Baker looking south
Shuksan and Baker looking south
Dropping into the snow bowl
Dropping into the snow bowl

Then we did a slow glissade into the snow bowl making sure to stay away from moats and exposed rocks.


The rest of the way was a pretty simple hike on a very hot summer day.
Awesome looking Pocket Peak (7,056) high above the Silesia Valley.
Awesome looking Pocket Peak (7,056) high above the Silesia Valley.

Gimpilator kept talking about this buffet in Bellingham.  So the plan was for me to follow him into Bellingham and eat at this famous hole in the wall.

Gimpilator leading me to the killer Buffet.
Gimpilator leading me to the killer Buffet.

Boy did it taste good after a great climb.  Thanks Gimp for having me along.  I can’t wait for what’s next.

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Gimpilator
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Gimpilator
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PostTue Jul 27, 2010 7:18 pm 
Beau, it was really a pleasure climbing with you and getting to know each other.  You sure did an impressive job on the TR.  Almost as good as the trip itself.  Let's go for Sloan next time.  What do you think?


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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostTue Jul 27, 2010 10:24 pm 
Great stuff fellas!  up.gif  up.gif Nice to get a call from the summit.  Now I know which gully not to take.  eek.gif Red rock = crap!

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beaudaddy
Coast To Cascades



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
Posts: 401 | TRs | Pics
Location: Tulalip, WA
beaudaddy
Coast To Cascades
PostWed Jul 28, 2010 11:50 am 
Adam-  I would love to do Sloan later this summer.  Hip waders to cross the Sauk?

Thanks Magellan.  The red rock was crap, but the payoffs were spectacular. Gimp had cell service, but I didn't.  I have AT&T.  It would be nice to know what provider he has so others can know they can call out in case of emergency.  If you have no experience or climbing skills, this climb can be very dangerous.

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Eric
Peak Geek



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Eric
Peak Geek
PostWed Jul 28, 2010 1:21 pm 
Looks like a fun time guys. A little bit of choss is good for the soul.

I've spied both Larrabee and American Border from Winchester before and someday I'll have to make the trek over to each.

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Redwic
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Joined: 23 Feb 2009
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Redwic
Unlisted Free Agent
PostWed Jul 28, 2010 2:36 pm 
Great job, you guys! I'm sorry I was not able to make it, but my optimum timeframe to do the Skamania CoHP conflicted with the timeframe of your plans. Next time, OK?

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RichP
here and there



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RichP
here and there
PostWed Jul 28, 2010 6:29 pm 
That looks like spooky stuff to climb on.

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Magellan
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostWed Jul 28, 2010 6:52 pm 
Quote:
Gimpilator kept talking about this buffet in Bellingham.

I bet you two hungry 20-something climbers made them rethink their pricing!

I forgot to mention I was glad to hear you survived the drunken redneck asshat sanity assault at one am.  shakehead.gif

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iron
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iron
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PostWed Jul 28, 2010 10:07 pm 
long way to drive to shoot a gun...

how was the snow elevation on the southern slopes of nearby mountains (winchester, bump at high pass, larrabee, YAB, etc.)

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the Zachster
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the Zachster
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PostWed Jul 28, 2010 10:15 pm 
A pile of garbage indeed! Glad you had a safe and exciting trip. Beautiful photos! up.gif

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"May I always be the kind of person my dog thinks I am"
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Malachai Constant
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Malachai Constant
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PostWed Jul 28, 2010 10:19 pm 
I think I know now why Larrabee is not climbed very often eek.gif

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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beaudaddy
Coast To Cascades



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
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beaudaddy
Coast To Cascades
PostWed Jul 28, 2010 10:39 pm 
iron wrote:
long way to drive to shoot a gun...

how was the snow elevation on the southern slopes of nearby mountains (winchester, bump at high pass, larrabee, YAB, etc.)

If you look at Gimpilators red line photo above you can see the southern face of Larrabee.  That shot was taken at about 6,100' just above High Pass.  Some gals were camped on the dry bump of HP.  Once we climbed out of the large snow covered bowl it became dry.  The only snow found were in the gully.  The southwest ridge was dry.  We were hoping that it had more snow because of how nasty that rock really is.  In my mind I can see people turning back on that summit if they didn't find the correct route or if they weren't super eager to reach it.

Winchester had large patchy southern snowfields above 5,800'.  I would guess in spots like gullys, bowls and areas that collect snow will still be around for a bit.  I didn't get a good look at Yellow Aster's southern face, but I would figure it would follow the same trend.  That 10' tall snow headwall at Low Pass was sure a surprise for it almost being August.

Hope that's what your looking for Iron.  The photos above should give a good idea on snow elevations above 5,200' (which is the twin lakes elevation).

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beaudaddy
Coast To Cascades



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
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beaudaddy
Coast To Cascades
PostWed Jul 28, 2010 10:59 pm 
Redwic- no worries.  We can all do something sometime here in the future. smile.gif

Magellan-  that's hilarious!!! lol.gif maybe they were just shooting a couple rounds of glow in the dark clay pigeons...  I usually blame everything on Meth... Freaking Meth...  Like the lady who attacked me this winter on barlow pass in the snow... Meth... Makes people crazy.   dizzy.gif

Malachai Constant-  even though Larrabee has hordes of epic loose rock, it's worth a trip if your ok with some exposure.  Might be a better weekday peak also, for less possible climbers.  The views are really some of the best around.

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Matt
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Matt
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PostWed Jul 28, 2010 11:37 pm 
Nice trip.
Yeah, Larrabee is a loose pile of rock, but it's a fun peak when you're careful.  Your photo seems to show a lot more snow than usual for this time of year.
I like your late evening ascent of Winchester with the afterglow of the sunset and the moonlight.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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beaudaddy
Coast To Cascades



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beaudaddy
Coast To Cascades
PostThu Jul 29, 2010 12:40 pm 
Hey, thanks for the comment Matt.  We all kind of shake our heads anout how loose that rock is up there, but all in all it was my favorite summit so far this year.  smile.gif

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