Forum Index > Trip Reports > Hellfire or Salvation??? (Point 5563) 3/24/12
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostSun Mar 25, 2012 10:37 pm 
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Date: 3/24/2012
Destination:  Hellfire (aka Salvation) 5563 ft, 660P, USGS Damnation
Party:  Matt, Yana, cartman, raising3hikers

Some earlier peakbaggers called this peak “Hellfire.”  More recent peakbaggers call it “Salvation.”  Either name is a reference to its closest neighbor, Damnation Peak.  I like the name “Hellfire,” so I’ll call it that.  However, the sweet summit views would make the angels sing, and when the sun finally came out for bright warm summit, it felt like salvation indeed.

Hellfire  tends to be overlooked because it’s slightly lower than Damnation or Oakes, both of which run ridges northward that converge at Hellfire.  But Hellfire has a uniquely impressive vantage, because it’s the furthest outlier of the divide that stands between Bacon Creek and Damnation Creek.

When you look outward and down from Hellfire, far up the headwaters of Bacon, East Fork Bacon, and Triumph Creeks, you know that you’re standing on the edge of deep wilderness.  No road goes anywhere up those valleys.

And when you look up and around from Hellfire, you’re  treated to an impressive arc of peaks.  The crest sweeps from Diobsud Butte to Bacon, around across Mystery Ridge, and then back down past Despair, Triumph, & Thornton, with many others out beyond.  Again, this is a view to trackless alpine wilderness.  No trail goes anywhere over or even between those peaks.

Looking back at Hellfire from Triumph
Looking back at Hellfire from Triumph

Our route started from the Bacon Creek Road just past Jumbo Creek, followed a forested rib up 4000 feet to the Oakes-Hellfire col, and then ran the ridge northward another mile to Hellfire’s summit, 5563 feet, 660P.  It made fine avalanche-safe route, since it was forest all the way to the ridge, and then ridgetop travel to the summit.

Hellfire GPS Track
Hellfire GPS Track
Google Earth image of Hellfire Route
Google Earth image of Hellfire Route

We were able to drive the road just 0.1 miles short of the Bacon Creek Bridge, so we only had to hike the road for about half a mile (staying on the fork that doesn’t cross the bridge and follows the east side of the creek.  Going up the rib, there was mild brush and logs lower down, but then open forest from 2000 feet upwards.

Hiking up through the woods
Hiking up through the woods

As we neared the Hellfire-Oakes col (4750 feet) we could see a fellow group of snowshoers on Oakes Peak.

Snowshoers watching us from Oakes summit
Snowshoers watching us from Oakes summit
Oakes & snowshoers from north of the col
Oakes & snowshoers from north of the col

The ridge to Hellfire zigzagged north about 1.1 miles over several small intermediate bumps.

Along the way, tantalizing views showed more of the surrounding peaks, and the gray skies became progressively more blue and sunny.

Running the ridge north fom the Oakes-Hellfire col
Running the ridge north fom the Oakes-Hellfire col
Damnation to our east (off with its head)
Damnation to our east (off with its head)
Looking back toward Damnation  from further up the ridge
Looking back toward Damnation  from further up the ridge
The Snowfield Group left of Damnation
The Snowfield Group left of Damnation
Pickets through Triumph Pass (Himmelhorn, Twin Spies, The Blob, Terror)
Pickets through Triumph Pass (Himmelhorn, Twin Spies, The Blob, Terror)

The summit was broad, warm, and sunny; dominated especially by the view of Triumph, but surrounded by a tremendous arc of wild peaks.

Group on Hellfire summit
Group on Hellfire summit
Me on Hellfire summit
Me on Hellfire summit
Summit tea &  Triumph
Summit tea &  Triumph
Summit tea & Mystery Ridge
Summit tea & Mystery Ridge

The Arc of Peaks surrounding  Hellfire, in order from southwest to north to east to south

Diobsud Butte
Diobsud Butte
Logger Butte
Logger Butte
Electric Butte
Electric Butte
Bacon
Bacon
Baker and Andham peaks through the Bacon/Berdeen gap (headwaters of Bacon Creek)
Baker and Andham peaks through the Bacon/Berdeen gap (headwaters of Bacon Creek)
Berdeen (with Hagan hiding behind) and Blum
Berdeen (with Hagan hiding behind) and Blum
Mystery Ridge, the fork between Bacon & East Fork Bacon Creeks, and Pioneer Ridge
Mystery Ridge, the fork between Bacon & East Fork Bacon Creeks, and Pioneer Ridge
Despair & Triumph (with a bunch of Pickets including Fury & Terror in the background)
Despair & Triumph (with a bunch of Pickets including Fury & Terror in the background)
More Pickets through Triumph Pass (HImmelhorn, Twin Spires, the Blob, Terror, Degenhardt)
More Pickets through Triumph Pass (HImmelhorn, Twin Spires, the Blob, Terror, Degenhardt)
Triumph & Thornton
Triumph & Thornton
Damnation
Damnation
Big Devil Crest (Maurine Peaks, Trapezoid, Big Devil, Little Devil)
Big Devil Crest (Maurine Peaks, Trapezoid, Big Devil, Little Devil)
Oakes and a distant view to the Mountain Loop peaks
Oakes and a distant view to the Mountain Loop peaks

See my later post below for some stitched panoramas and annotated route lines of peaks in the area.

The descent simply followed our tracks back.  Yana booted the whole way, because one of her snowshoes had broken.

Following the zigzag ridge back
Following the zigzag ridge back
Running the ridge back toward Oakes
Running the ridge back toward Oakes

Round trip 8 miles, 5100 gain, 11 hours.

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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cascadetraverser
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cascadetraverser
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PostSun Mar 25, 2012 11:33 pm 
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Very cool.  Best shot of mystery ridge I have ever seen.  Looked for one 2 years ago prior to our traverse of same and never found one.  Thanks for the post.
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iron
getting old



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
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iron
getting old
PostMon Mar 26, 2012 7:19 am 
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great trip selection and a fantastic day to be out.

how many of those 5100ft did r3h kicks steps into smile.gif

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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cartman
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PostMon Mar 26, 2012 7:36 am 
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Matt and I had independently targeted Salvation as a destination for this winter a few months ago.  He'd heard about it through friends; I'd spied a TR from John Roper on this site.  The route from Bacon Creek looked as if it would be avy safe; the key was getting far enough up the road to give it a go--need to get within a mile or two of Jumbo Creek, 6 miles up the Bacon Creek Rd.

Turned out we were able to get about 5.5 miles up the road in Eric E.'s truck w/chains, so we were good to go.

The route was a half mile up the Bacon Creek Road, then another .75 mile up an abandoned road.

Road walk
Road walk

Then we turned up into the woods--the first 300' has a bit of downfall and brush to work through, but not bad.  There is the occasional winter hazard...

Bomb
Bomb

As Roper mentioned in his TR, once above the junk the route is through surprisingly open forest for the western North Cascades.  The snow was a little heavy lower, but made for good traction with snowshoes.  The angle is fairly steady most of the way to the ridge, with a little steeper section from 3200-3600'.  A couple of us attempted to share the step-kicking with raising3hikers, then gave in to the inevitable as Eric took over and led the way up to the saddle between Salvation and Oakes, and the first view of our destination.

Salvation summits, true summit on left
Salvation summits, true summit on left

The true summit is over a mile away with 3-4 bumps to go over--but it's all ridge walking and the total elevation loss to regain is only ~400 feet.  And the views are magnificent the whole way.

Triumph Pass
Triumph Pass
Triumph and Thornton
Triumph and Thornton
The twin peaks of Despair
The twin peaks of Despair
Oakes
Oakes

It was interesting how the perspective of Damnation changed as we walked the ridge.

Damnation
Damnation
Damnation
Damnation

Continuing up the ridge,

Up the ridge
Up the ridge

we reached Salvation...

The last bump before the summit
The last bump before the summit
Matt approaching Salvation
Matt approaching Salvation
Matt repenting
Matt repenting
Salvation!
Salvation!
We are Saved
We are Saved

And were rewarded with views in all directions.

Blum from Salvation
Blum from Salvation
Berdeen, Hagan behind
Berdeen, Hagan behind
Bacon
Bacon
Oakes
Oakes
Triumph
Triumph
Despair and Triumph
Despair and Triumph
Big Devil group, Eldorado behind
Big Devil group, Eldorado behind
Last Devil, Big Devil
Last Devil, Big Devil
Big Devil
Big Devil

Thanks to everyone for a great first trip of spring, and esp. Eric E. for all those steps.


Eric J. Johnson
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raising3hikers
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PostMon Mar 26, 2012 8:02 am 
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That was a satisfying day out into the mountains!  Very nice to get into the North Cascades again, it was the perfect choice for the day.  Hundreds of peaks to point out all over the area.  I thought the views of Hagan's east face was one of the best.


Matt and Cartman
Matt and Cartman
fresh white snow and blue skies above
fresh white snow and blue skies above
Yana on the last stretch to the summit with Oakes behind
Yana on the last stretch to the summit with Oakes behind
Matt and Yana looking into the Pickets from the summit
Matt and Yana looking into the Pickets from the summit
Thornton Peak
Thornton Peak
Blum
Blum

--------------
Eric Eames
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostMon Mar 26, 2012 9:48 am 
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iron wrote:
how many of those 5100ft did r3h kicks steps into smile.gif

Probably about 4600.  I think I kicked about 100, cartman about 100, and Yana maybe 200.

I meant to add credits to everyone:
  • raising3hikers for kicking almost all of the steps, plus having the high clearance truck to get us almost to Jumbo Creek.
  • Yana for originally suggesting the route to me, and for insisting that we go ahead and try it during the purgatory of endless pre-trip phone calls.
  • cartman for finding Roper's report to confirm the route, and for recruiting r3h.


--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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iron
getting old



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iron
getting old
PostMon Mar 26, 2012 9:50 am 
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might be the most pics for a day trip i've ever seen from cartman.

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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iron
getting old



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
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iron
getting old
PostTue Mar 27, 2012 9:26 am 
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PS: the other group on oakes was hollywood, gabriel, lindsay, and brian. you might need to bug one of them for pics of you guys.

--------------
man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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Yana
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PostTue Mar 27, 2012 9:37 am 
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Yes, we know who they are since we actually met up with them at the park and ride in the morning and told them if we couldn't drive the road we'd be following them up Oakes.  embarassedlaugh.gif

They apparently didn't see us, so any photos they might have of us would be entirely accidental.

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PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostTue Mar 27, 2012 3:49 pm 
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iron wrote:
might be the most pics for a day trip i've ever seen from cartman.

Does he own a camera???   winksmile.gif  Nice trip - glad you guys were able to get so close to the start.

--------------
Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostWed Mar 28, 2012 11:08 pm 
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Below is a 270 degree panorama of the view from Hellfire.  Identifying some of the peaks was more of a challenge than I expected.  The confusing area was up the headwaters of Bacon Creek.  I knew that we were looking at the gap between Hagan & Bacon, with Green Lake & Berdeen Lake hidden behind ridges on each side.  But two questions plagued me.

First, where was Berdeen?  It should be in front of Hagan, but I wasn’t seeing a distinct crest line.  I finally realized that almost everything in the foreground to the right of Bacon Creek was part of Berdeen, with its crest running in a line so close below the multiple summits of Hagan that they blended together.  Also, some summits that appeared to be behind the ridge to Blum were actually the crest at the north end of Berdeen Lake that includes Lonesome Peak.

Second, what were the various knolls visible up Bacon Creek?  After a lot of plotting on various map programs, I realized that I was actually seeing all of the closed contours that we hiked across (Greeneggs, Andham, Ipsoot Point) or camped on (Countdown Point) just layered in front of each other from a different angle.

Hellfire summit 270 degree panorama from SW clockwise to SE
36 labels
Hellfire summit 270 degree panorama from SW clockwise to SE

Here’s a bit more the southwest end of the view, where the full line of Bacon Creek Buttes curved off the edge of the longer panorama.

Bacon Creek Buttes (Diobsud, Logger, & Electric)
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Bacon Creek Buttes (Diobsud, Logger, & Electric)

I also had an additional personal motive for wanting to visit Hellfire.  I figured it would offer the best view of a couple of my most memorable trips, which are difficult to see from most places.

One was the Mystery Ridge traverse that I made in 2002.  Hellfire offers a view of the whole wide arc of the traverse, from the start at Triumph & Despair, across the crest of Mystery Ridge, and then out to the Blum/Hagan/Bacon area.

Mystery Ridge Traverse 2002
Mystery Ridge Traverse 2002

The other trip was my return to the west side of Mt. Triumph, which was the one peak we missed getting along the way on the Mystery Ridge trip.  It took another decade to get back there, in September 2012, but it was the climbing highlight of the year for me.

Triumph West Route 2012
Triumph West Route 2012
Summit area of Triumph West Route
Summit area of Triumph West Route

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Magellan
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Magellan
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PostThu Mar 29, 2012 7:41 am 
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Great TR, especially the blending of stories from the past.  up.gif  up.gif
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Don
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PostThu Mar 29, 2012 8:16 am 
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Excellent TR!  I've never thought to investigate this area.  You've definitely sparked my interest.

Love the panos!  up.gif

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Don Geyer Photography

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Hiker Mama
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PostFri Mar 30, 2012 8:56 am 
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Wow, I love following your fabulous TRs.  Thanks! up.gif

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My hiking w/ kids site: www.thehikermama.com
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SergioNapelo
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PostSat Mar 31, 2012 10:38 am 
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nice..... well it it more than nice, it is beautiful!!!!!!!

Thank you for sharing  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

p.s. do you drink only black tea? I like your tea shots. I love hot tea in the mountains. smile.gif

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"I will lift up my eyes to the mountains.   From where shall my help come.   My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!" - David, King of Israel 1,000 BC
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