. . . there were six (seven, including Gus) Bootjack-High Chair virgins this lovely day . . . here are the suspects and the unsuspecting . . . see them smiling?
There aren't many trip reports recently from Bootjack and High Chair - mainly because the Icicle Creek Road has been closed and it was a long walk (more than 4 miles) from where the road abruptly ended maybe six years ago. Ragman and Rodman did the trip in 2009 and rode bicycles beyond the wash-out. Ragman and Rodman - Bootjack/High Chair 2009
Today, there were no road issues - just a few logistical issues about who was driving where and with whom. This started out being an overnight trip, but for various reasons, became a day trip, leaving Seattle at 6:00 a.m. Along for the day were: Tish (Alti-Babe), Lindsey (Ranger), Barry (Middle E), Matt (Matt) and to be picked up in Leavenworth, Lindsay (Marmot), the Driver and Gus. Last weekend, Matt's traveling harem included two Suzannes; fickle guy that he is, this weekend, he opted for two Linds(ey)(ay)s! A few NW Hiker folks were planning a trip to Frozen or Frigid - and we crossed paths at the 76 Station at the start of the Icicle Creek Road. Soon we were on our way.
The start of this hike is the livestock unloading area near the Blackpine Horse Camp. The trailhead is right across the road - #1597 says Ragman, but the Trailhead # was missing today. Your start is at just under 3000'. There's a little snow at first, along with some blow down - and some Slide Alder badly in need of trimming - should have brought my clippers. After all, this trail hasn't gotten much use. In a few hundred feet, you join up with the trail from the horse camp (Jack Pine Trail) and then in a few hundred more feet, the trail splits off and heads uphill - you want the uphill route - looking innocent enough!
You wind your way up the ridge on a series of switchbacks that gain elevation quickly. At about 4000' we hit snow - intermittent at first, but before long, we lost the summer trail and just headed up the obvious "nose of the ridge." There had been two women who had started out ahead of us, without snowshoes. When I asked them at the trailhead if they didn't think they would need snowshoes (all of our crew had them firmly attached to our packs) - they said if they did, they would just turn around. Well, as we entered the snowy slope, we ran into them (and, of course, one of them knew Matt!). They opted to follow our lead, as they were having trouble negotiating the snow - not because they were post-holing. Hardly. More because it was rock-hard and difficult to get a good grip on the steep slope. Between 4000' - 6000' we would find that the snow was absolutely bomb-proof! Tish opted for micro-spikes both on the ascent and the descent in this area through the trees. The rest of us just toughed it out.
There was some map checking, but when compared to the GPS, it appeared as though we were right on the money in our effort to gain the bench at 6066' and just out of the trees.
We would realize just how steep this section was on our way back. But finally, we were out of the trees and the views opened up - it was a gorgeous day.
Back-to-back lovely weekends! How fortunate. We were here a few weeks back to do Icicle Ridge/Fourth of July, and there appears to be a lot less snow now. Once we popped out on the open ridge, the snow was much softer, but we still didn't need snowshoes. We took a short break at Pt. 6066 and then marched on with our destination, Bootjack, in sight.
This ridge was fabulous! And before long we were scrambling up the rocks to the summit of Bootjack @ 6789'.
Here, the views are 360 and clear!
We were making good time, so we soaked in the sun, grabbed a bite of lunch and took the obligatory summit photo(s).
Matt had asked, "What is a Bootjack?" Well, Matt, they come in a variety of styles, but this is the one I use to use to pull my riding boots on!
Why this summit is called Bootjack, I don't know.
Anyway, just another validation that this was a group of Bootjack AND High Chair virgins!
It was time for us to venture off of Bootjack and head to our next destination, High Chair - almost two miles away and we would have to give up more than 600' descending down the ridge and to the High Chair bowl (there wasn't any cereal in the bowl! ) and then gain about 800' to get up to the higher High Chair (7016').
Matt took a little detour to one of the bumps on the ridge (the "girls" were naming these little bumps various "chair" names - I think this one was "Rocker.")
And, it was great to see some dirt - bringing hope that we may actually have some brown hikes this summer after all!
Even a few flowers for us . . .
This is Matt on yet another one of our ridge bumps.
We were making our way steadily towards High Chair, some were worried less about the next summit then they were their next meal.
The snow was in great condition - a few post holes now and again, but basically solid.
High Chair was my favorite summit of the two. The views were more expansive and you felt closer to some of the peaks. The clouds were moving in from the west, so it might have been a good thing that we opted not to overnight - hard to say. Of course, we got the required summit shots.
And then this one pesky mountain just wouldn't move out of my way!
I had to get a picture of Harding - a peak we did last year (after two previous failed attempts). Looking at it from this angle made me understand why this bad boy wasn't a walk in the park!
Then there is the (in)famous summit tea.
. . . and Matt was regaling us in stories about one of his recent nights out clubbing (he's such a party animal)
Dude, you gotta' be a little more subtle!
One of the things we had talked about doing if we had spent the night on High Chair was running the 6600' ridge to the north/northwest and go out that way, making a loop of the trip. Well, Matt took a shine to that notion and he decided he wanted to do that TODAY! It already was after 3:00 p.m. Undaunted, he convinced (Marmot) Lindsay to join forces with him and return to the car via the other ridge route. The four of us decided to go with the route that had gotten us to High Chair and retrace our steps.
We bid them a safe journey as we headed our route and they headed theirs. Would we ever hear from them again? Would they make it safely back using this unchartered route? This, dear friends, you will have to wait and see if Matt posts here . . . let us hope he does! Good-bye, Matt! Good-bye, Lindsay!
Our group started down . . .
Looking forward to the glissades ahead.
And soon ascending the ridge to head back up to Bootjack.
Once on Bootjack, we headed down (getting a little off-course and picking the wrong ridge - but quickly realizing our mistake) and heading back to Pt. 6066' and then back into the trees. Barry was able to follow our boot prints pretty much all the way down the very steep, hard snow - it hadn't softened much during the day. Although today was pleasantly mild, it wasn't quite as warm as last weekend. At one point, we lost our boot prints, but both GPS's said we were virtually on the summer trail and soon enough, we dropped about 50' and landed squarely on the dirt trail. The rest was easy walking out - getting back to the car by about 6:30 p.m. No sign of (Marmot) Lindsay and Matt! Oh dear. Well, they had a car. We left them a note - hoping they would get in touch with us. (Ranger) Lindsey had never been to the quintessentially cute town of Leavenworth, so off we headed to let her have a full dose of the place - and grab some authentic German (or Bavarian I guess) - Mexican food washed down with a Bootjack IPA!
Stats for today:
Gain: About 5600+'
Time: About 9 hours car-to-car
Distance: Maybe 11 miles roundtrip
Gear taken: Snowshoes, ice ax, poles
Gear used: Poles
Recommended: Micro-spikes until that rock-hard snow softens!
For those who asked Ragman questions or commented about Bootjack & High Chair (which he didn't answer!):
Type E: No, there is no summit register on either Bootjack or High Chair that we could find.
Zachster: No excuses! The road is open. You gotta' get back up there. It's still lovely!
A side note - Martin went up here last weekend, but we really didn't see much evidence of their trek.
So, the question is? Where's Matt and Marmot Lindsay????
Nice to be able to bag both in the same day. I wasn't able to do that when I did Bootjack. It sure makes it easier when you don't have to walk the road to get to the trail. The register was there when I was there. I really wish people would leave them be. Looks like not camping was a good call with the rainy weather.
Matt and I made it back to the TH around 8 pm last night.
Running the Sixtysix Hundred Ridge was oh so fun with views of The Cradle, Daniel, Hinman, the Snoqualmie Complex, Baring, Gunn, Merchant, Three Fingers, Sloan, Whitehorse, Whitechuck, Glacier, Bonanza and as well as our up-close friends along Icicle and the Enchantments.
The ridge itself offered a little mellow scrambling and we even got to put on the snowshoes for our ascent of the ridge's high point 6820. We descended from the high point with a few good glissades, made friends with a lost balloon and tromped through the woods. With GPS fine-tuning we popped out at the TH for trail 1551.
I'll leave the fine prose and most excellent photo uploading to Matt.
Thanks to all for a glorious day in the mountains!
Marmot, er Lindsay, er to add to the confusion the Marmot who is now a ranger
For a second I thought Matt and Lindsay were going to drop down to Cradle Lake and out...that was a loop I'd thought about a long time ago, but never managed to do (did visit Cradle Lake though, from Meadow Creek, on an out and back). Cool trip, all of you. Those summits have some of the best views in the region.
Yes, this was a fine hike, but all the names were confusing: was it Bootjack, Jackpine, Blackjack, Jackboot or what? It took a couple of hours to climb out of the forest, but after that the views were unending. A great trip, even if we missed out on the overnight!
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