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meck
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PostMon Jul 14, 2014 10:46 pm 
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Mt Skokomish ONP/ONF 12 July 2014 (and then into the 13th)

Left the Staircase TH at 0850.  A pleasant, if warm, trip up to Flapjack Lakes.  The wild flowers were out in force in the meadows up to Gladys Divide.  The intensity of the sun was really obvious here, the lush vegetation really upped the humidity.

beautiful green around the Madeline Creek Bridge
beautiful green around the Madeline Creek Bridge
such green!
such green!
mmm but not quite ripe yet
mmm but not quite ripe yet

Looking towards the Sawtooth ridge, I marveled that anyone actually climbs those jagged points.

Arrived at Gladys Divide at 1210 and got a good view of Mt Skokomish and the general route.  By my understanding the best route from the south side is to head up Mt Gladys, then traverse more or less along the ridge past Mt Henderson, then up Mt. Skokomish.  The trick is to stay high, thereby avoiding most of the brushy lower slopes.  For some reason I got it through my head that I could stay slightly lower, while still above the pond north of the divide, avoiding the brushiest part of the valley, and still make reasonably good time.  This was mistake #2.

Gladys Divide!
Gladys Divide!
Mt Skokomish
2 labels
Mt Skokomish
a little bit closer
a little bit closer

I followed what appeared to be the path of least resistance, but due to the rock fjords I ended up giving more elevation than Id wanted too.  Ended up crossing a couple of streams/creeks right in the middle of slide alder thickets.  This was not fun. By the time Id made it across to the base of Mt. Skokomish, two hours had passed.  I still had to get through two more slide alder patches to get to more open slopes/meadows.

past the first mess of creek crossings in slide alder
past the first mess of creek crossings in slide alder
a brief respite following a slide alder tunnel streamlet
a brief respite following a slide alder tunnel streamlet
looking back down at a brief bit of shade below the stump
looking back down at a brief bit of shade below the stump
much closer now!
much closer now!

I reached the base of the upper bowl below the summit by 1615.  Id brought only ~145 oz of water and had already gone through the first 100, so I filled up about 45oz worth from the snow melt here.  Wish Id brought my water filter, but its probably not getting a whole lot cleaner than this for wild water.  Felt pretty worn out already.

looking back down the meadow slope
looking back down the meadow slope
yeah for cool water!!
yeah for cool water!!
the final slope up in the upper summit bowl
the final slope up in the upper summit bowl

Crossed the snow patch and then proceeded up the shale shelves/staircase to the ridgeline.  Theres a little exposure on the ridgeline in that you have to stay just below the edge on the west for about 15 feet before you get to a small saddle and a little 7-10 foot scramble over broken shale.  The shale scramble is not bad, but none of the footing is solid and you have a cliff on the west side, and a very steep chute on the east, caution is required!

shale scramble, careful its all loose!
shale scramble, careful its all loose!
looking back at the mini saddle
5 labels
looking back at the mini saddle

Arrived on the summit at ~1645, had a snack, and began taking a lot of pictures.  Just about all of the major peaks in the Olys were visible!  What a spectacular view!

Looking north from the summit
7 labels
Looking north from the summit
Looking east from the summit
3 labels
Looking east from the summit
Mt Gladys and Murdock Lakes
Mt Gladys and Murdock Lakes
Sawtooth Ridge from the summit (actually after I left the summit and was to the south west a bit)
Sawtooth Ridge from the summit (actually after I left the summit and was to the south west a bit)
zoom in on Mt Cruiser
2 labels
zoom in on Mt Cruiser
zoom in on Mt Stone summit block
5 labels
zoom in on Mt Stone summit block
Mt Anderson
Mt Anderson
looking north east with Mt Constance, Stone, and the Brothers in view
3 labels
looking north east with Mt Constance, Stone, and the Brothers in view

Left the summit at 1715.  I did not particularly want to head back down the way I came up so I scouted around on the south west side of the Mt. Skokomish ridgeline (~1750). Lo and behold there was a broad, somewhat steep, scree slope heading down.  My thought at this point was to skirt around the west side of Mt. Henderson, flip over the ridge into the Smith Lake Basin, make my way to the Smith Lake Way Trail, and then follow that on back to Staircase TH. I didnt perform sufficient recon (mistake #3) and this route ended up taking a lot more time and energy than if Id just stuck with the high-route back over to Mt. Gladys.

looking back at summit
looking back at summit
Mt Gladys and Mt Henderson
Mt Gladys and Mt Henderson
scree slope down, what could be wrong, right?
scree slope down, what could be wrong, right?

Going down the scree slope was OK, but not great.  Too hard for scree-skiing but just soft enough to allow reasonable boot purchase in the surface. Upon further review at the bottom of the slope (~1830), it became obvious that to go the direction I thought I wanted to go Id need to drop another several hundred feet and then scramble back up. I opted to try and gain back some of the elevation Id just given up by climbing back up to the saddle south of Mt Henderson.  This is where I truly came to appreciate mistake #1.  Id not been consuming enough water or food as I hiked in, and the lack of energy hit me really hard.  Taking rest breaks every couple of minutes I eventually made my way to the ridgeline dividing the west side of Mt Henderson from the Smith Lake basin.  It was ~2020. I missed another opportunity to take a high route and head over towards Murdock Lakes and then back over to Mt Gladys.

looking back up the scree slope
6 labels
looking back up the scree slope
looking at Mt Hopper and the old fire burn from the west side of Mt Henderson
looking at Mt Hopper and the old fire burn from the west side of Mt Henderson

Dropped down the meadow slope to the small pond above Smith Lake, consulted the map, and began an attempt to traverse laterally around the east and south end of the bowl to the way trail.  This didnt really work out.

Looking down into the Smith Lake basin
2 labels
Looking down into the Smith Lake basin
at the small pond
at the small pond

I ended up running out of energy and daylight at ~5100 in a gravel rock patch on the north side of the ridge between Smith Lk and the Black & White Lks.  It was a warm night, glad Id brought my watch cap, winter gloves, goretex outer layer, warming layer and most importantly mosquito head net. Attempted to sleep on a small flattish spot next to a rock.  Although I had a flashlight, my stomach felt terrible and the thought of stumbling down ridge to either the divide or B&W Lks sounded dangerous.
getting dark now....decisions decisions...
getting dark now....decisions decisions...

I must have slept at least a little bit as the six hours passed by faster than I expected.  Watching the north eastern sky get brighter, was up by 0450 and moving south and east by 0500, I felt much better.  Reached the ridgeline above shortly thereafter and proceeded east, south of Murdock Lks and reached Mt Gladys summit by 0540 just in time to see the sun breach the horizon.  The color was spectacular!  A great place to have breakfast.

good morning! good morning!
good morning! good morning!
looking back down on the NW end of Mt Gladys
looking back down on the NW end of Mt Gladys
Hello Sunshine! (summit of Mt Gladys)
Hello Sunshine! (summit of Mt Gladys)
Sawtooth Ridge
5 labels
Sawtooth Ridge
Glacier Lillies?
Glacier Lillies?
more beautiful wild flowers
more beautiful wild flowers

Was back on the Gladys Divide trail by 0610, and back down to the TH by 0925. A good adventure, if somewhat longer than intended.

[EDIT] Here are a few pictures of the approximate route I took.  Blue is the route to Mt Skokomish, purple the route back, green is the route I should have taken.

[I've got a bunch of zoomed in photos of the surrounding summits, will post them later]

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ejain
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PostMon Jul 14, 2014 11:13 pm 
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meck wrote:
Glacier Lillies?
Glacier Lillies?

Avalanche Lilies

You might be somewhere in this picture...

Mt Skokomish, 5:28pm July 12th
Mt Skokomish, 5:28pm July 12th

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meck
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PostMon Jul 14, 2014 11:48 pm 
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Hi ejain, yeah I was probably somewhere along the upper portion of the upper snowfield at that time, or possibly just to the left below the ridge making my way to the brushy edge on the left.  I take it from your photo's angle you were on Mt Gladys? (or possibly somewhere on the Sawtooth ridge?)

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ejain
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PostMon Jul 14, 2014 11:56 pm 
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meck wrote:
I take it from your photo's angle you were on Mt Gladys?

Yes. Usually I'd check peaks for climbers with my binoculars, but it didn't occur to me that someone could possibly be over there :-)

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silence
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PostTue Jul 15, 2014 6:54 am 
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Wow   up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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Phil
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PostTue Jul 15, 2014 7:41 am 
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Yikes!  What an adventure.   I've had that one on my list a few times (though from the Putvin side) but now.... I dunno.   shakehead.gif
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Malachai Constant
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PostTue Jul 15, 2014 7:51 am 
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ditto.gif I knew there was always a reason I did Stone instead, steep choss huh.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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reststep
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PostTue Jul 15, 2014 2:19 pm 
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Wow! way to go.

Great pictures and beta and thank you for the labels.

That is the first time I have heard of someone climbing Mt. Skokomish from Flapjack Lakes.

If you get back to the car within 24 hours of leaving it, it is still a day hike.  smile.gif

Edit:  Oops I see you did not make it back quite withing 24 hours.

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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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IanB
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PostWed Jul 16, 2014 9:43 am 
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Huge fun!   up.gif

Thanks for sharing!

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"Forget gaining a little knowledge about a lot and strive to learn a lot about a little."    - Harvey Manning
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