Forum Index > Trip Reports > Morning Star - 8/13/2011
 Reply to topic
Previous :: Next Topic
Author     Message
AA+
Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Posts: 10958 | TRs | Pics
Location: Going to Tukwila
Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer
PostSun Aug 14, 2011 8:20 pm 
Tom and I headed up to scramble Morning Star on Saturday. It was a long and demanding day, but a fun trip and one I've been wanting to do for a while.

We started our day leaving the car at 9am. The route starts with a half mile of trail walking up the Sunrise Mine / Headlee Pass trail to reach the Stillaguamish River.

Instead of crossing the river, the boot path continues up the left hand side of the river, winding its way through head-high vegetation. It relatively easy-going and travel is relatively painless due to the presence of the boot path...the only real annoyance is that the footbed is flooded by high water from the Stillaguamish for a hundred feet or so near the beginning.

Trail-ish boot path.
Trail-ish boot path.
Tom making good time in head high shrubbery.
Tom making good time in head high shrubbery.
First views up the valley to Lewis, Del Campo, and the NE flanks of Morning Star
First views up the valley to Lewis, Del Campo, and the NE flanks of Morning Star
Del Campo in the back, the ridgeline we'll ultimately ascend on right.
Del Campo in the back, the ridgeline we'll ultimately ascend on right.

After about a quarter mile of the taller vegetation, the trail winds out onto the valley bottom and kinda disappears. We kept on the left side of the valley and wound our way up through a mess of blowdowns before popping out onto a large talus field. There's visible footbed of an old trail through this field, but the route doesn't continue up the left side of the valley -- we wasted a bit of time looking for an easy way up or across the valley to reach the riverbed.

The best we found was a dry channel where the river had once cut across the valley floor about halfway up the talus field. It begins with a few trees, ferns and other vegetation, but opens up to sandy/rocky creekbed and relatively easy passage across the valley to the open shores of the Stillaguamish River.

From here, we made our way up the riverbed, winding back and forth across the river several times (seven?) to reach the large boulder mentioned in Andy D's trip report. We got into the vegetation on the right side of the boulder, following apparent foot wear up valley for just a bit before dodging back to the right and gaining the heavily vegetated banks above.

Making our way up the banks of the Stillaguamish riverbed.
Making our way up the banks of the Stillaguamish riverbed.

Once we were up on the first bench, we found a small talus field. Heading to the top of this brought us up to the bottom of a bit of cliff with obvious bootwear heading steeply up the face of the cliff on the right; DON'T go that way. Head left, up a gently ascending ramp to the left which will wrap around and dump you into the gully which is the beginning of the route up Morning Star.

Annotated view of the route past the big boulder.
Annotated view of the route past the big boulder.

The route essentially goes up and up and up, slowly trending left as you rise. There *IS* an actual boot path all the way up -- it stays on the right side of the steep "ramp" pretty much right next to the face of the cliff all the way up. That being said, it's usually not worthwhile to stay in the "path" while you're climbing up -- it's far easier and less effort to use more open channels and streambeds for the ascent. Just wrap each hand around a blueberry bush and pull yourself up on veggie belay after veggie belay. (Bring a pair of gloves.)

After several hundred feet, the original gully becomes a bit more gentle, turning into more of a shelf with a cliff face on the right. At one point around 3950', there's a crack in the cliff on the right with obvious boot wear heading up big bucket holds into a notch. We scrambled up this to get some views from the rib and ended up following that rib up from there; I'd recommend skipping the views and just continuing up the shelf another 50-75 feet of elevation to where there's an easy route (and obvious boot path) to gain the rib on your right.

Once on the rib, keep going up and left. The rib soon breaks out into grassy meadow with a creek running through it and off the cliff to the right. From here on up it should be pretty easy sailing.

From this meadowy bowl, we continued on up, still trending to the left on snowfields/meadow in this new gully for another 200 feet or so before finally breaking out into the snow filled flanks on Morning Star's NE face. The snow was lightly suncupped and gave great footing as we climbed up to the obvious gap left of the summit.

Finally out of the brush. First views from the snow-filled upper flanks of Morning Star.
Finally out of the brush. First views from the snow-filled upper flanks of Morning Star.
Up to the right. We're heading toward the gap in the middle, just left of the rounded summit.
Up to the right. We're heading toward the gap in the middle, just left of the rounded summit.
Across the valley to the granite face of Lewis Peak.
Across the valley to the granite face of Lewis Peak.
Great views to the right as we climb up the snowfield.
Great views to the right as we climb up the snowfield.
Getting close to the gap. Snowfield steepens at the top.
Getting close to the gap. Snowfield steepens at the top.

Pulled out the ice axes for the steep snow at the very top of the gully. Puzzlr mentioned being able to avoid this snow via the gully on the right in his trip report, but that wasn't an option yet.

Once through the gap, we relaxed in the sun and filled our bottles with melt from the snowfields, checking out the final snowfield and gully. The snow was again pretty good for kicking steps across and up. Again the ice axes were very welcome on the steep snow leading up to the final ridgeline. We self belayed and kicked a nice ladder of footing up the snowfield before jumping onto the top of the rocky hillside and finally gaining the ridge.

Tom, happy to be at the gap.
Tom, happy to be at the gap.
Through the gap, snowfield and final snow-filled gully on the far side.
Through the gap, snowfield and final snow-filled gully on the far side.
Heading up the gully. Feels a lot steeper than it looks.
Heading up the gully. Feels a lot steeper than it looks.
Tom's happy to be out on a beautiful day.
1 label
Tom's happy to be out on a beautiful day.
Steep rockfield at the top of the gully.
Steep rockfield at the top of the gully.

Once we were on the ridgeline, the final heather filled gully is also painfully steep and treacherous footing. I helped aerate the soil as I climbed, using my ice axe as a tool in the dirt to give a little extra purchase. Not a good place to fall or roll a rock on a friend.

Finally, we hit the summit at 4pm. Hung out and enjoyed the views, snacked a bit, and enjoyed the sunshine for half an hour before heading back down. We took it easy, carefully downclimbing the steeper sections. Felt good to stretch the legs and glissade a bit on the gentler slopes of the NE flank. The brushy ramp/gully was far easier to descend with lots of veggie belays and I marveled at the presence of the boot path as I followed it all the way down to the valley floor.

Finally on the summit. Sperry, Wolf, and Vesper in the background.
5 labels
Finally on the summit. Sperry, Wolf, and Vesper in the background.
Flowers on the summit.
Flowers on the summit.
Del Campo and Gothic in the distance.
Del Campo and Gothic in the distance.
The southern basin on Morning Star far below.
The southern basin on Morning Star far below.
Del Campo, Foggy Pass, and Gothic.
Del Campo, Foggy Pass, and Gothic.
Close-up of sloughing snow in Foggy Pass. Stuart in the distance.
Close-up of sloughing snow in Foggy Pass. Stuart in the distance.
Tom, relaxing on the summit as the fog rolls in from the west.
Tom, relaxing on the summit as the fog rolls in from the west.
Thick bank of fog shrouding everything to the west.
Thick bank of fog shrouding everything to the west.
Alas, both registers were nothing but wet pulp.
Alas, both registers were nothing but wet pulp.
Time to head down.
Time to head down.
One last look back before heading into steep heather.
One last look back before heading into steep heather.
Views to the north as we descend.
Views to the north as we descend.
Evening light on Del Campo, fog rolling in.
Evening light on Del Campo, fog rolling in.
Leaving the snowy upper flanks.
Leaving the snowy upper flanks.

We made it back down to the Stillaguamish riverbed at 8pm. Headlamps came out as we entered the overgrown boot path back down the valley, and we made it back to the cars at 9:30pm.

--------------
"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
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
peppersteak'n'ale
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Aug 2003
Posts: 1989 | TRs | Pics
peppersteak'n'ale
Member
PostSun Aug 14, 2011 9:32 pm 
over 100 views and not a single reply - that usually means your TR sucks  hihi.gif

BTW you mixed up Vesper and Sperry in your labeled pic

All joking aside, it looks like you had a great day  up.gif

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Posts: 10958 | TRs | Pics
Location: Going to Tukwila
Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer
PostSun Aug 14, 2011 9:45 pm 
peppersteak'n'ale wrote:
BTW you mixed up Vesper and Sperry in your labeled pic

Ha! You're right, I did. Fixed.

--------------
"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
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Go Jo
of the lykkens



Joined: 08 Jun 2003
Posts: 2248 | TRs | Pics
Location: Around The Bend
Go Jo
of the lykkens
PostSun Aug 14, 2011 10:01 pm 
+

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 13112 | TRs | Pics
Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostSun Aug 14, 2011 10:03 pm 
Wow!  up.gif  up.gif  Nice work on a lesser visited peak.  Every week I am amazed by how much snow is still out there.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
iron
Member
Member


Joined: 10 Aug 2008
Posts: 6228 | TRs | Pics
iron
Member
PostSun Aug 14, 2011 10:25 pm 
looked like more than a slough of snow. crazy year.

nice to see a report from DHM!!! up.gif

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Posts: 10958 | TRs | Pics
Location: Going to Tukwila
Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer
PostSun Aug 14, 2011 10:26 pm 
I should also say, huge props to Andy D, Puzzlr, and everyone else who's written up descriptions of this route.

Hoping that my trip report adds a few extra details that would have answered some questions and saved some time and effort down in the valley.

FWIW - It looks like Puzzlr stayed on top of the rib that we only joined near the top. The creek coming out at the top of his picture here is the one that crosses the meadowy bowl where we finally got into snowfields.

--------------
"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
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Andy D.
Member
Member


Joined: 19 Apr 2004
Posts: 209 | TRs | Pics
Location: Bow, WA
Andy D.
Member
PostSun Aug 14, 2011 11:01 pm 
Nice work on a peak that doesn't seem to get much attention!  up.gif  Wow that brush looks so much more unpleasant than when it's covered in snow. Hard to believe there's a bootpath in there. I also made a page a while back on SP but I haven't been active on there in a while. Maybe I should add your annotated picture - very helpful!

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Posts: 10958 | TRs | Pics
Location: Going to Tukwila
Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer
PostSun Aug 14, 2011 11:15 pm 
Feel free! Your route information here and over on SP were both helpful to me. It definitely deserves more attention -- it's a great peak with excellent location and jaw dropping views.

In truth, Puzzlr may have had the better route, with less brush, but ours definitely goes, definitely gets some use, and avoids any kind of real exposure.

BTW - I can't even imagine what that final ridgeline was like in deep snow, especially after seeing how steep it is even after everything is melted off.

--------------
"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
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6933 | TRs | Pics
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostSun Aug 14, 2011 11:47 pm 
Fun to read about another trip here and relive good memories. I wish we had gotten the clear weather you did on top.

One of the reasons we enjoyed our climb of MS so much is that it doesn't have a cow path like other peaks. Usually that doesn't happen unless it's a long ways from a road. We saw no sign of a trail on our route up the slanting gully, but it was fun scrambling with minimal brush and worth reporting. It's great to get tips and even with all the TRs future parties will have the satisfaction of finding their own route up.

I have two questions

1) Did your route take you anywhere near the huge slanting slabs in the upper valley? You didn't post a photo, and neither did I in my TR, but this photo is what I'm talking about. It was sobering standing by these slabs and pondering the possible avalanche action.
Slabs from our break spot
Slabs from our break spot

2) The other memorable item from our climb was the extremely slippery rocks in Stilliguamish creek, and it was a warm day -- no ice. Did you find that or was a temporary thing? Since that day I've harbored the idea that some unique strain of slick algae has colonized just that creek!

--------------
Mid Fork Rocks flickr
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Tom
Admin



Joined: 15 Dec 2001
Posts: 16813 | TRs | Pics
Tom
Admin
PostMon Aug 15, 2011 1:40 am 
As brushy / exhausting as this trip was it has to rank as one of my all time favorite peaks.  Coming down was a blast.  Snow glissades (once we got off the steep snow) and veggie raps all the way.  My knees loved it!

Andy D. wrote:
Hard to believe there's a bootpath in there.

Keep in mind that DHM has a vivid imagination when it comes to boot paths. hockeygrin.gif

puzzlr wrote:
Did your route take you anywhere near the huge slanting slabs

Nope, I'm guessing you came up the route that hits "RY" in BOUNDARY on the topo.  Pretty sure we came up "UN".

puzzlr wrote:
The other memorable item from our climb was the extremely slippery rocks in Stilliguamish creek, and it was a warm day -- no ice. Did you find that or was a temporary thing?

We didn't follow the creek for that long.  We left the creek just after the big boulder at 2960' (which you can see if you flip the topo over to aerial view).

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Gimpilator
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1520 | TRs | Pics
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
Member
PostMon Aug 15, 2011 5:48 am 
Awseome job!  I've wanted to visit this peak for years.  I'll be sure to bookmark this report for when I head out there myself.  Thanks for all the route descriptions.

--------------
Summitpost |
YouTube | Peakbagger
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Schroder
Member
Member


Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 6012 | TRs | Pics
Location: on the beach
Schroder
Member
PostMon Aug 15, 2011 8:10 am 
Dayhike Mike wrote:
Annotated view of the route past the big boulder.
Annotated view of the route past the big boulder.

up.gif

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
veronika
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2010
Posts: 3009 | TRs | Pics
Location: On the road
veronika
Member
PostMon Aug 15, 2011 8:13 am 
up.gif  up.gif  up.gif  Very nice photos! Great report. Thanks for sharing DHM.

--------------
Take risks not to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping

I may not have anyone rocking my world right now but, I don't have anyone messing it up either.
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
silence
Member
Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 4395 | TRs | Pics
silence
Member
PostMon Aug 15, 2011 8:15 am 
sweet climb .. great reporting mike ..

--------------
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
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
   All times are GMT - 8 Hours
 Reply to topic
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Morning Star - 8/13/2011
  Happy Birthday Steven, Grizzy, lovetowonder, Lakes&Summits!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy