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Fletcher
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PostFri Aug 08, 2014 5:40 pm 
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Snowfield Peak from near our camp
Snowfield Peak from near our camp

Adam, Michael, Josh and I climbed Snowfield Peak this week as well as a few of its neighbors. It was a spectacular trip! Peaks climbed in this order: Neve, Snowfield, Horsemans Pack, Needle (Adam and Josh) Paul Bunyan's Stump, and Pyramid.

Synopsis
Tuesday morning we made the long hike up to the Colonial/Neve Col and set up camp. Then we hiked up Neve and watched the sunset. Wednesday we climbed Snowfield, then the Horseman's Pack. Adam and Josh climbed the Needle but Michael and I sat that out. Thursday we climbed Paul Bunyans Stump and Pyramid, then hike out.

Heres the full story...
Day 1

I got off work around midnight Monday and drove to Adams house to crash. As usual he disrupted my sleep much too early  tongue.gif and we went to pick up Michael and Josh. We were hiking up the Pyramid Lake Trail sometime before 8am. We made quick time to the lake (pond) and climbed talus on its left side thinking it was the climbers trail. If you arent on a well defined trail you are in the wrong place. The climbers trail is steep but very easy to follow, we found it pretty quickly.
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Lake
Pyramid Peak first look
Pyramid Peak first look
climbers trail
climbers trail

The trail is very steep and pretty brutal but no one really noticed on the ascent, everyone was stoked to get into the alpine and bag some peaks. A few hours in the trail flattens out very temporarily and makes its way around a tarn then contours up through a small area of talus. We noticed a bunch of small cages in the rocks marked by bright orange tape. We hypothesized that the park service was running a study on pikas.
pika cage
pika cage

After the talus field the trail gets steep enough to require some class 3 moves, and shortly there after begins to open up on the ridge top to reveal big mountains in every direction.
brushy class 3 on the trail
brushy class 3 on the trail
Davis, Luna, West McMillan etc...
Davis, Luna, West McMillan etc...
Colonial
Colonial

Once the trail reaches the ridge top its eye candy for the rest of the approach where ever you look. The trail eventually drops to the left (NE) and spits you out in a gully where it peters out. From here its a long rising traverse on grassy slopes and talus to the Colonial Glacier and the newly forming glacial lake.
Redoubt and the Moxes from the ridge
Redoubt and the Moxes from the ridge
traverse to snow above the waterfall, Neve Peak in the center
traverse to snow above the waterfall, Neve Peak in the center

We found a cool snow bridge near a waterfall which gained access to a moat leading to a large snowfield that would give us access to the Colonial Glacier. The moat was a little sketchy, we did not go that way on the descent.
moat
moat
moat
moat
looking back, the route off the ridge is in the gully just right of the obvious cliff face
looking back, the route off the ridge is in the gully just right of the obvious cliff face

From the moat, it was just a few minutes until we reached the outlet of Colonial Lake. What a magnificent alpine cirque! We took a break here and refilled on water. We thought about trying to cross the mostly frozen lake but quickly decided that was a bad idea, then found the route up a rocky rib that leads around the lake. There are a bunch of camp sites on this rib but we had our sights set on high camp. It was also extremely windy here. We guessed gusts of maybe 50mph, enough to threaten my footing with my heavy pack.
waterfalls with Colonial/Neve col up ahead
waterfalls with Colonial/Neve col up ahead
the Cascades have another new lake
the Cascades have another new lake
Paul Bunyan's Stump
Paul Bunyan's Stump
rock shelters
rock shelters
Pinnacle and Pyramid
Pinnacle and Pyramid

Past the rock rib, we roped up and began and ascent to camp.
not much further to camp
not much further to camp

The climb to camp went by pretty quickly. Views, ofcourse, growing better and better as we gained elevation.
Colonial Peak
Colonial Peak
arriving at the col
arriving at the col

Upon arrival to camp we were all amazed at the alpine playground surrounding us. The views across the Neve Glacier to Snowfield are something else.
wow
wow
more wow
more wow

After setting up camp, I threw my stove and dinner in a day pack and hiked up Neve Peak, just above camp. The others followed up shortly after I left. Neve is an easy class 2 scramble.
above camp
above camp
broad summit ridge of Neve Peak
broad summit ridge of Neve Peak
summit
summit
Michael approaches the summit with Snowfield looming large
Michael approaches the summit with Snowfield looming large

Upon arrival on the summit we noticed a large smoke plume to the NE. It was huge and grew bigger every minute.
whoa
whoa

The views from Neve are absolutely incredible. We cooked dinner as the evening light got better and better on the surrounding mountains.
that tarn down there must be a cool place
that tarn down there must be a cool place
Snowfield again
Snowfield again
Logan
Logan
the mushroom cloud
the mushroom cloud

The sunset from the summit of Neve was probably the best alpine sunset I have ever experienced.
another plume was ballooning to the south behind Mt Buckner
another plume was ballooning to the south behind Mt Buckner
wow
wow
Snowfield with Buckner, Primus, Austera and the plume
Snowfield with Buckner, Primus, Austera and the plume
Neve icefall
Neve icefall
brushing teeth in style on Neve summit
brushing teeth in style on Neve summit
Pickets
Pickets
Baker
Baker

We started hiking back down to camp but hung  out high enough for the light show that kept on getting better and better.
sunset descent to camp
sunset descent to camp

The light over Baker and Shuksan was unreal, sorry for the excessive picture posting. We tried to get to bed early, eager for our objectives the next day.

Day 2

After a windy night of lackluster sleep (atleast for me) I think we got moving just after 7 and roped up just below camp for the crossing of the massive Neve Glacier. As soon as we got into the sun, it was hot. The glacier crossing was scenic and straight forward. All large crevasses were easily bypassed.
roping up below camp
roping up below camp
approaching Snowfield
approaching Snowfield
then team with Hozomeen in the distance
then team with Hozomeen in the distance
Eldorado from the ridge above the glacier
Eldorado from the ridge above the glacier

The glacier crossing went without incident and we tranistioned on rock to climb Snowfield via the standard west ridge route. We dropped a lot of our gear at the glacier and started up class 2 terrain.
Sloan and Rainier with what I believe is the Triad in the foreground
Sloan and Rainier with what I believe is the Triad in the foreground
climbing into the sun
climbing into the sun
looking back down the ridge
looking back down the ridge

We eventually reached a col and had to climb up and over and then down a rib to class 3 terrain, making our way toward the summit. The route is not always obvious but its never hard to find the way if you sniff around for a minute. The occasional cairn helped out a bit.
the notch
the notch
climb this gully
climb this gully
high mountain vegetation
high mountain vegetation
this ledge is exposed, take care
this ledge is exposed, take care
up more exposed class 3
up more exposed class 3
final bit to the summit
final bit to the summit
summit area
summit area
Josh on the finish
Josh on the finish
Michael and Adam
Michael and Adam

We all sat on the summit of Snowfield and snacked. What a magnificent day in the North Cascades. Snowfield was 40/100 for me on the Bulger List, it was #50 for Adam. Not sure about the Lewis brothers. We did not break too long as we had other objectives for the day, so we reluctantly left our highest peak of the trip.
clouds
clouds
descent
descent
dudes on a ledge
dudes on a ledge
down the class 2 ridge
down the class 2 ridge
back at the glacier
back at the glacier
sweet bivy sight
sweet bivy sight

Back at the glacier, we roped up again and made our way over toward The Horseman's Pack.
Adam on lead
Adam on lead
Horseman's Pack
Horseman's Pack

We stopped directly below the summit, unroped and began the scramble. the beginning of this scramble is incredibly loose, loosest stuff I have been on in quite a while. We scrambled up and left to a notch, then over a series of ledges to a class 3 gully on the east side of the peak.
looking back to Snowfield
looking back to Snowfield
the Horseman, an objective for another day
the Horseman, an objective for another day
traverse these ledges
traverse these ledges
and go up this gully
and go up this gully

The summit is incredibly exposed, we were okay with just touching it.
Adam touches the summit
Adam touches the summit

The gully is very steep with a lot of exposed class 3 so we took great care on the descent. Watch of for loose rock too!
downclimbing
downclimbing
the Horseman again
the Horseman again

Back on the glacier, we roped up again and made our way over toward the Needle. Michael lead this time. Instead of traversing high, which, in retrospect, would have been the best way to go, we traversed into a bowl and up some fairly steep snow.
Pasayten T100s from the Neve Glacier
Pasayten T100s from the Neve Glacier
Michael starting up the steep snow
Michael starting up the steep snow
Josh and Adam below
Josh and Adam below
Josh tops out
Josh tops out

Done with the steep snow, we descended toward a snow arete that would gain us access to the Needle's east ridge.
The Needle
The Needle
up the arete
up the arete
the Needle with incoming clouds
the Needle with incoming clouds

After getting all the gear situated, Adam lead the first pitch up the ridge toward the summit. Then Michael and I prusiked up. It was very easy, exposed class 3 at the worst. After that, Josh followed up with the other end of the rope. Adam built an anchor here and began leading the second pitch to the summit. It looked easy at first but as he neared the summit I saw him do a mantle move. This was the first indication that I might be at my turn around point because I have a gimpy shoulder that doesnt really allow for mantle moves right now. As Adam neared the summit he says something along the lines of "guys, this is very gnarly."  eek.gif
Adam nears the summit of the Needle
Adam nears the summit of the Needle
Adam at the summit
Adam at the summit

After deciding for a number of reasons that the Needle was not for Michael and I, Josh cleaned the route. When he got to the mantle move and Adam told him he was not yet to the crux, Josh asked if it was okay if he bailed, but that would require leaving gear so he continued. Thats when I knew I made the correct choice not to go for it. Josh made the summit, and they rapped off the ledge down below that would allow them to scramble back to where Michael and I were.

Adam on the Needle
Adam on the Needle
nice looking Glacial tarn below the Neve
nice looking Glacial tarn below the Neve
Adam on rappel
Adam on rappel

After Adam and Josh were off the Needle we made quick time back down the arete and quickly roped up, the weather seemed to be deteriorating and we had a long way to go across the Neve back to camp. We made great time down the steeper sections of the glacier with Josh on lead. We were lucky to still have visibility.
looking toward camp
looking toward camp
Neve and Colonial Peaks
Neve and Colonial Peaks
crevasse and Snowfield
crevasse and Snowfield
clouds closing in
clouds closing in
we might have a whiteout on our hands...
we might have a whiteout on our hands...

Sure enough, we descended into a near whiteout. Luckily we were nearing camp. After having to turn around once because of some big cracks, we worked our way around the last broken section of glacier and just had to find the gully back up to Colonial/Neve Col.
ahh almost back to camp
ahh almost back to camp

Camp was cold and very windy. Clouds were blowing through hindering another sunset from atop Neve Peak. We had dinner and went to be fairly early with a big last day ahead.

Day 3

We were up and breaking camp around 7, moving by 8. We wanted to traverse high over to the pass just south of Paul Bunyan's Stump but it was steep up high and the snow was very hard. Instead, we dropped down a bit and then climbed the short distance up to the pass. At the pass we had a snack, dropped gear, and began hiking up the south ridge of Paul Bunyan's Stump.
Paul, Pinnacle, and Pyramid
Paul, Pinnacle, and Pyramid
The route wraps around the left hand side at the dark shadow below the summit
The route wraps around the left hand side at the dark shadow below the summit
Baker morning
Baker morning
Snowfield with the Neve Glacier icefall we traversed over the night before
Snowfield with the Neve Glacier icefall we traversed over the night before
getting high on Paul Bunyan's Stump
getting high on Paul Bunyan's Stump
a bit of exposure
a bit of exposure
the upper mountain
the upper mountain

After wrapping around to the west side of the mountain, the route gets more interesting. It reminded me and Adam of the Corkscrew Route on Sloan Peak. The route never really exceeds class 3 except for maybe 1 more near the summit, but there is plenty of exposure.
Josh nearing the summit
Josh nearing the summit
the summitblock
the summitblock
Pinnacle and Pyramid
Pinnacle and Pyramid
Snowfield and the Neve Glacier from Paul Bunyan
Snowfield and the Neve Glacier from Paul Bunyan
Josh descends the summit of Paul with Michael and Josh on top
1 label
Josh descends the summit of Paul with Michael and Josh on top

We took great care on the descent with the exposure below. We all decided that Paul Bunyans Stump was our favorite peak of the trip. Such a rad scramble route!!
descent with views!
descent with views!

Back at the pass, we grabbed our gear and had to glissade down to a suitable spot to drop our packs again for the traverse toward Pyramid. The glissade was cold in basketball shorts.  shakehead.gif

Pinnacle and Pyramid
Pinnacle and Pyramid

The traverse to Pyramid was mostly easy, except for a bit of bad runout nearing the col between Pyramid and Pinnacle which spiced things up quite a bit.
Pyramid summit
Pyramid summit

We lounged on the summit for awhile and ate more food. The views were amazing.
Diablo Lake
Diablo Lake
looking east
looking east
Snowfield zoom
Snowfield zoom
Chilliwacks
Chilliwacks

My camera died at this point so no more pics. We had a long way to hike out to the car so we began out descent. Back at the packs, we refilled on water and crossed the lower Colonial Glacier. At the outlet of Colonial lake the wind was as strong as it was the day before. Is it always windy here or what? The traverse back to the climbers trail was tedious but straightforward. During the traverse we ran into a few hikers that were checking the pika traps. Turns out they were finishing up their phd's for the University of British Columbia studying the biological diversity of pikas in the North Cascades.

Back on the climbers trail we all cruised out to the car. On the descent we came to the conclusion that this trail is, in fact, very brutal. Washing up in Pyramid Creek back at the highway was extremely refreshing. I took a nap on the side of the road because my energy was completely zapped. Another amazing trip into the North Cascades complete!

Mileage: I dont know
Gain: a lot


Video credit goes to Adam (gimpilator)
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Gimpilator
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PostFri Aug 08, 2014 5:43 pm 
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above the moat
above the moat
Neve Col
Neve Col
Paul Bunyans Stump and Pinnacle
Paul Bunyans Stump and Pinnacle
Mantis Peak and Distal Phalanx
Mantis Peak and Distal Phalanx
Neve summit
Neve summit
Baker, Triumph
Baker, Triumph
Pickets
Pickets
Alpenglow
Alpenglow
The Needle and Cats Ears
The Needle and Cats Ears
Alpenglow
Alpenglow
pretty colors
pretty colors
Snowfield at night
Snowfield at night
Paul Bunyan
Paul Bunyan
Pickets
Pickets
crevasse below Snowfield
crevasse below Snowfield
Eldorado and Dorado Needle
Eldorado and Dorado Needle
Horsemans Pack and The Horseman
Horsemans Pack and The Horseman
Snowfield Summit
Snowfield Summit
Shuksan and The Needle
Shuksan and The Needle
Fletcher ascending Horsemans Pack
Fletcher ascending Horsemans Pack
sweaty and gross on the summit of Horsemans Pack
sweaty and gross on the summit of Horsemans Pack
descending
descending
The Horseman
The Horseman
approaching The Needle
approaching The Needle
The Needle
The Needle
pitch #1 (exposed 3rd/4th class)
pitch #1 (exposed 3rd/4th class)
pitch #2 had 2 low 5th moves and exposure
pitch #2 had 2 low 5th moves and exposure
josh nearing the summit
josh nearing the summit
Neve Col
Neve Col
The Needle left and The Haystack
The Needle left and The Haystack
Paul Bunyans Stump
Paul Bunyans Stump
Michael
Michael
Fletcher
Fletcher
near the summit
near the summit
Paul Bunyan on the summit
Paul Bunyan on the summit
Luna is calling us
Luna is calling us
Diablo, Ross, and Jack
Diablo, Ross, and Jack
Pyramid summit
Pyramid summit
An Egyptian on the summit of Pyramid
An Egyptian on the summit of Pyramid

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https://www.youtube.com/c/Zogador
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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raising3hikers
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PostFri Aug 08, 2014 6:06 pm 
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very nice up.gif  it's beautiful up there

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Eric Eames
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contour5
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PostFri Aug 08, 2014 6:17 pm 
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Spectacular TR! Some really impressive shots... Neve Col looks like an amazing camp spot....
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LukerBee
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PostFri Aug 08, 2014 10:28 pm 
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Those sunset colors are amazing.
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EastKing
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PostFri Aug 08, 2014 11:55 pm 
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STUNNING!!!!  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

http://www.myspace.com/climbandsurfmackg | http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=894
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mtn.climber
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PostSat Aug 09, 2014 1:14 am 
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Looks like a great trip! up.gif

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Reach for the sky, cuz tomorrow may never come.

Live the life of love.  Love the life you live.
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RichP
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PostSat Aug 09, 2014 9:05 am 
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There are too many superlatives to say about this trip report.

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Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
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Snowdog
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PostSat Aug 09, 2014 10:03 am 
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Nicely done gents!!   up.gif

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'we don't have time for a shortcut'
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Get Out and Go
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PostSat Aug 09, 2014 2:05 pm 
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Just wow!...You guys...getting after it.   up.gif

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"These are the places you will find me hiding'...These are the places I will always go."
(Down in the Valley by The Head and The Heart)
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zephyr
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PostSat Aug 09, 2014 2:27 pm 
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Great report, Fletcher.  That's a fine, talented team you all assembled.  What an awesome place that is--so many fun scrambles and a glacier to cross.  Good place to hone your skills.

Excellent video, Gimpilator.  It really captures the essence of such a beautiful trip.  Nicely edited and good choice in background music---upbeat but not overpowering.  I am glad to see that helmets are still in style for some. up.gif     Keep up the good work, gents.  ~z
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Jim Dockery
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PostSat Aug 09, 2014 5:52 pm 
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Nice work boys, both getting' after day after day, and photos  up.gif  up.gif

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jimdockery.com
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Michael Lewis
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PostSat Aug 09, 2014 7:15 pm 
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Best trip I've ever been on.  biggrin.gif Thanks for making this happen. up.gif
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Magellan
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PostSat Aug 09, 2014 9:43 pm 
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Nice work, fellas.  up.gif
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Jeff
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PostSat Aug 09, 2014 9:53 pm 
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Did you notice any crevasses on the Colonial heading up to the Colonial/Neve col?
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