Forum Index > Trip Reports > A Ragged Walk In The Park (Kimtah, Cosho, Mesahchie, Katsuk)
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
GeoTom
Custom Title



Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 3170 | TRs
Location: Location
GeoTom
Custom Title
PostSat Aug 23, 2014 10:29 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
The short version: I made ascents of Kimtah Peak (8,600), Cosho Peak (8,332), Mesahchie Peak (8,795) and Katsuk Peak (8,680) of Ragged Ridge.

The not as short, but hopefully not too long version:

Tuesday August 19
"Be careful" Dani said to me as I left the house. I'm always careful I thought to myself. Well, I usually am. Sometimes?

I was feeling a little nervous about this trip, but I'm always a bit anxious before a trip to a new (to me) place. I had done more pre-trip research than usual, and thought that there was a good possibility that I would fall over from the weight of all the maps and route descriptions I was carrying. Or even sever a limb from a massive paper cut.

The friendly ranger in Marblemount reminded me to hang my food as he issued my permit for the Ragged Ridge Cross Country Zone. Hang my food? How am I supposed to eat if my food is hanging from a tree? Details to worry about later I thought.

The Easy Pass trail was nicely shaded as I started hiking. A couple hours later I bumped into the National Park boundary marker and took a short break. Rather than descend into Fisher Creek basin and then ascend to the ~6,700 foot basin below Mesahchie Peak, I decided to traverse from Easy Pass. Before the trip I was worried about having an adequate water source at camp, but I could see a large snow patch right where I was headed.

Sticking more or less to the 6,500 foot contour (I never actually saw the contour line on the ground), I made steady progress towards my prospective camp site. Not satisfied with the tent sites next to the snow, I ventured another 100 feet up to a grassy area just above the snow and found an acceptable camp spot. After setting up camp I descended the short distance to top off my water containers. Bringing that empty MSR Dromedary bag sometimes comes in handy.

My original plan was to set up camp then climb Mesahchie and Katsuk Peaks, which were just above me. Well, 2,000 feet above me. I figured I had enough time to climb them both and return before dark, but was a bit worn out and knew that the next day would be a long one if I wanted to climb Kimtah and Cosho Peaks. So...I took a nap. Mesahchie and Katsuk could wait for the final morning.

After the nap I hiked up the knoll above camp and read the various route descriptions I had brought along, then I ate some dinner, topped off with Vitamin I and a few sips of wine. Sleep came quickly.

Photos from day 1:
Bug on flower
Bug on flower
Almost to Easy Pass
Almost to Easy Pass
The tip of Mesahchie Peak comes into view
The tip of Mesahchie Peak comes into view
Start of the traverse
Start of the traverse
Upper Fisher Creek valley
Upper Fisher Creek valley
One flutterby on a flower
One flutterby on a flower
Don't fall
Don't fall
A nice spot for a tent
A nice spot for a tent
Knoll above camp
Knoll above camp
View from the knoll
View from the knoll

Wednesday August 20
My alarm woke me up at 4:30 instead of 5:00. Apparently you're supposed to set it to the time you want it to go off, not just hope it knows what you're thinking. I peeked outside the tent and saw fog. Lots of fog. Not the best start to the day, but I figured it would burn off once the sun rose. Coffee and a small breakfast helped fuel me up the 600 feet to the saddle just north of Pt. 7,430 above camp. This wasn't as tedious as I had read in other reports, but I wasn't looking forward to the descent later in the day.

From here I headed west-ish more or less at the 7,400 foot contour, briefly rising to 7,500 feet until I arrived at a wide gully near the so called Grotesque Gendarmes. The clouds still hadn't lifted, but visibility was good enough for me to continue. Some parties choose to descend a couple hundred feet at this point, finding passage along one of two ledges. However, another report I had read suggested ascending to 7,700 feet and finding another ledge system. After a little indecision I decided to try the higher route. It worked well. Each time it appeared the route would end, I rounded a corner and found that it continued.

Eventually I came to a gully that looked like it would lead to the summit of Kimtah. It did, but as I got closer to the summit it intersected with a not as steep gully that started further west. I scrambled up the final rocks and was pleased to find a summit register. I signed in, took a few photos and looked towards Cosho Peak. I caught a brief glimpse of it through a break in the clouds. The glacier looked mellow and I decided to leave Kimtah and head to Cosho.

I had to make a couple course corrections while descending Kimtah to find easier terrain, but soon enough I was standing at a gap just east of Thieves peak where I was able to move to the north side of the ridge and onto the Kimtah Glacier. Ice axe and crampons came out and I made my way to the 8,000 foot level on Cosho Peak before stepping back onto bare rock and finishing the scramble to the summit. A small can probably held a summit register, but I was unable to get it open.

It had taken me 7 hours from camp to reach this point, and with the clouds finally lifting and with the knowledge that I had found the way over relatively easily, I figured I'd make it back in 4 to 5 hours. Ha! Sometimes hubris comes back to bite you in the butt.

Heading back the other direction things looked different. I didn't get lost, but wasn't paying close enough attention to staying on my morning route and had to backtrack a bit on three or four occasions. Eventually I was back on course and made it back to camp at 8:00 pm, almost exactly 14 hours after setting out. Dinner and wine were most welcomed, although I had to cook for myself as my permit didn't allow for a camp cook.

Photos from Day 2:
Morning view
Morning view
Mt. Logan partially obscured
Mt. Logan partially obscured
7,400 foot contour
7,400 foot contour
Find a route
Find a route
A handy ledge
A handy ledge
Kimtah Peak still a ways off
Kimtah Peak still a ways off
Another very handy ledge
Another very handy ledge
Castilleja
Castilleja
Steep drop off the north side of Kimtah
Steep drop off the north side of Kimtah
Frogtah Peak
Frogtah Peak
Next up, Cosho Peak
Next up, Cosho Peak
Twins
Twins
On the Kimtah Glacier
On the Kimtah Glacier
A look to Red Mountain from Cosho summit
A look to Red Mountain from Cosho summit
This register wouldn't open
This register wouldn't open
Golden Horn, Tower and Hardy from Cosho
Golden Horn, Tower and Hardy from Cosho
Kimtah Peak from Cosho Peak
Kimtah Peak from Cosho Peak
Less foggy on the return
Less foggy on the return
Find the man in the photo
Find the man in the photo
Long traverse back
Long traverse back
Evening light on nearby peaks
Evening light on nearby peaks

Thursday August 21
I woke up at 5:00 to clear skies above and a cloud filled Fisher Creek valley. For a few minutes I considered packing up and heading for home, but decided that since I was here I might as well head up Mesahchie and Katsuk Peaks. You know, because they're there and all.

Once again I ascended to just north of Pt. 7,430, but this time I continued more or less on the ridge, heading for the gap between the two peaks. I saw occasional cairns. As with all cairns, some are helpful, some not as helpful, and others seem only to be there because someone was bored. Visibility was good and I made a high traverse towards the base of the final summit block on Mesahchie Peak.

I arrived at a small bivy spot that I recognized from friends photos from last year. Looking up I saw the final 600 feet or so of the peak. It didn't look appealing, but one advantage of going solo is not having to worry about other party members causing rockfall. Up I went, getting off route after the first 100 feet or so, but then finding the route again and progressing steadily towards the top.

Finally I gained the summit, only to see a slightly higher summit 50 feet away. Who put that there? Another minute later I was on the real summit, perusing the register and seeing lots of familiar names. Then it hit me. No, not the formula for cold fusion or a cure for cancer. A fly. A f*@$ing fly flew in between my helmet and my head and was stuck, wildly buzzing around. This was obviously the same fly that tried to kill me on Mt. Fernow less than two weeks earlier. I removed the helmet and told the fly to leave. So he did. Insect diplomacy at it's finest.

The descent from Mesahchie went just like the ascent, only in reverse. I got off route near the bottom, but found the proper way again, and made a beeline for the base of Katsuk Peak's east ridge. After a couple detours to avoid falling off cliffs, I started up the somewhat loose gully. I was shocked to find so much loose rock on all these peaks. So unlike the North Cascades.  clown.gif

I saw a few bootprints on my way up, so I knew others had been here before. Or at least a pair of boots had been. Winding my way up, over and around, I slithered my way to the top, only to see the summit slightly higher and another 100 feet away. I stumbled my way up to it and found the register that was placed there before I was born. I relaxed, ate a little and enjoyed the views.

Then I noticed a summit nearby to the west that looked about the same height. Hmmm. I did remember reading about two different summits on Katsuk. Since I was already so close I figured I'd check it out, and made my way over to it. One route looked feasible on the northwest corner of the summit block, but I didn't feel comfortable with what was below, which was a whole lot of air. A slightly steeper, but blocky route was at the southwest corner of the summit block and the consequences of a fall here wouldn't be as dire. So up I went and found a plastic pill bottle with another register. This one doesn't see as many ascents as the eastern peak, and it does appear very slightly lower. I carefully descended and found myself heading down a gully on Katsuk's south side.

I merged with my ascent route below 8,000 feet, and quickly (well, as quickly as I can move) made my way back to camp. I hurriedly packed up and descended to the running water a couple hundred feet below and enjoyed a leisurely lunch and filtered enough water to hopefully get me back to Easy Pass.

Being ever the adventurer (Ha!), I decided to return via a descent to Fisher Creek valley and out the Easy Pass trail rather than reversing my high traverse in. It would be more elevation gain, but some people seem to think it's easier. To paraphrase a couple people I know "Descending into Fisher Creek is stupid!" Things started out ok, and I was able to avoid think brush and cliffy areas, and I even ran into a couple cairns at the 6,000 foot level. Near the bottom I got suckered into a dry creek bed and followed it straight into slide alder hell. I was almost to the Easy Pass trail, so I stubbornly continued through the brush. At one point I tripped on a branch, but other branches kept me from hitting the ground. Slide alder trippeth, and slide alder breaketh thy fall. Or something like that.

Eventually I reached the trail, and turned left. Along the way I ran into one member of a biological survey party. I had seen them in action on my way to Easy Pass a couple days ago. We had a pleasant chat before I continued the ascent to Easy Pass. Eventually I reached the pass and collapsed in a heap alongside the trail. Six minutes later I picked myself up and began the final descent to the trailhead.

A change of clothes, a surprisingly still cold beer and my bag of Tim's chips were waiting for me in the truck. I left at 6:00, hoping to get to Cascadian Farms before they closed at 7:00. I got there at 7:05, but saw that they were open until 8:00. That was a nice surprise. I enjoyed a scoop of raspberry chocolate chip in a waffle cone and sent Dani a text. She had already seen my SPOT message, and told me to feed Jasper when I got home.

Photos from Day 3:
Good morning Mt. Logan
Good morning Mt. Logan
Inspiration
Inspiration
Clouds in Fisher Creek valley
Clouds in Fisher Creek valley
That Mt. Logan sure looks purdy
That Mt. Logan sure looks purdy
Selfie of a sort
Selfie of a sort
Final 600 feet up Mesahchie
Final 600 feet up Mesahchie
Katsuk from partway up Mesahchie
Katsuk from partway up Mesahchie
Frogsahchie Peak
Frogsahchie Peak
My camp from the top of Mesahchie Peak
1 label
My camp from the top of Mesahchie Peak
They'll let anyone up these peaks
They'll let anyone up these peaks
My ascent gully on Katsuk Peak
My ascent gully on Katsuk Peak
West summit from east summit
West summit from east summit
Soapy found the Katsuk register
Soapy found the Katsuk register
Katsuk east summit with Mesahchie behind
Katsuk east summit with Mesahchie behind
Safely back at camp
Safely back at camp
Start of the descent into Fisher Creek basin
Start of the descent into Fisher Creek basin
Fisher Peak
Fisher Peak
The (thankfully) rare Cascade TP flower
The (thankfully) rare Cascade TP flower
Back at Easy Pass
Back at Easy Pass
Marmot on rock
Marmot on rock
Reward
Reward

Full flickr set: Ragged Ridge; August 19-21, 2014

The GPS track claims 23.4 miles with 12,900 feet of total gain. With the ascent of the knoll above camp and my trip to get water, I'm positive I went over 13,000 for the trip.

--------------
Signature
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 13108 | TRs
Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostSat Aug 23, 2014 11:25 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
That is a lot to pack in three days.  Congratulations on the ascents and the lovely photos. up.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
olderthanIusedtobe
Member
Member


Joined: 05 Sep 2011
Posts: 5310 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
olderthanIusedtobe
Member
PostSat Aug 23, 2014 12:15 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
You really got some great pics of the peaks looming above a sea of fog!  up.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
cartman
Member
Member


Joined: 20 Feb 2007
Posts: 2674 | TRs
Location: Fremont
cartman
Member
PostSat Aug 23, 2014 12:20 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Nice work getting those done in three days.


GeoTom wrote:
told me to feed Jasper when I got home.

Now that's practical.  You're not bleeding, so get home and feed the dog.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
b00
Member
Member


Joined: 29 Sep 2003
Posts: 995 | TRs

b00
Member
PostSat Aug 23, 2014 12:54 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
great campsite! nice work!
:>)
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Fletcher
Member
Member


Joined: 29 Jul 2009
Posts: 1389 | TRs
Location: kirkland
Fletcher
Member
PostSat Aug 23, 2014 1:26 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Great job! That is a fun place to scramble. I get to go back for Kimtah and Cosho winksmile.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dani
Jasper's Mom



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Posts: 135 | TRs

Dani
Jasper's Mom
PostSat Aug 23, 2014 2:02 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Just to clarify for those who think I neglect my dog- I was working late and knew Tom would be home earlier than I would be.

I REALLY don't starve poor Jasper, although I think the "snow piggy" would survive without one meal   wink.gif

--------------
Keeping GeoTom in line since 1998
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Dani
Jasper's Mom



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Posts: 135 | TRs

Dani
Jasper's Mom
PostSat Aug 23, 2014 2:03 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
P.S

Nice work Tom on this TR!

--------------
Keeping GeoTom in line since 1998
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
raising3hikers
Member
Member


Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 1805 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, Wa
raising3hikers
Member
PostSat Aug 23, 2014 3:17 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
that's a good trip reward at the end up.gif   glad everything worked out for you, nice work

--------------
Eric Eames
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yana
Hater



Joined: 04 Jun 2004
Posts: 3999 | TRs
Location: Out Hating
Yana
Hater
PostSat Aug 23, 2014 4:27 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Enjoyable trip report, though I am shocked and disappointed that camp cooks are not allowed in the NCNP backcountry.  shakehead.gif  bawl.gif  rant.gif

Lovely photos as well.

--------------
PLAY SAFE! SKI ONLY IN CLOCKWISE DIRECTION! LET'S ALL HAVE FUN TOGETHER!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
GeoTom
Custom Title



Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 3170 | TRs
Location: Location
GeoTom
Custom Title
PostSun Aug 24, 2014 7:08 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Yana wrote:
I am shocked and disappointed that camp cooks are not allowed in the NCNP backcountry.

They might be allowed, but I wasn't willing to pay extra for that level of permit.  hockeygrin.gif

--------------
Signature
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
iron
getting old



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
Posts: 5872 | TRs
Location: kenmore
iron
getting old
PostMon Aug 25, 2014 5:07 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
i think you need to squint harder to see the contour lines on the ground. they're there...

--------------
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
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Snowdog
Member
Member


Joined: 21 Jul 2006
Posts: 915 | TRs
Location: on (& off) the beaten path
Snowdog
Member
PostMon Aug 25, 2014 6:03 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
GeoTom wrote:
The descent from Mesahchie went just like the ascent, only in reverse.

My favorite line   biggrin.gif

nicely executed dude! up.gif

--------------
'we don't have time for a shortcut'
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 30 Jan 2007
Posts: 4054 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostMon Aug 25, 2014 10:21 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Like everyone else said, that's a lot to pack into three days.  Nice route-finding job.  Your description is also quite entertaining.  And it's a great variety of photos.  I like the way you capture the atmosphere and lighting interacting with the terrain, plus the smaller details like flowers and plastic frogs.

--------------
“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Visit poster's website Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
MangyMarmot
Member
Member


Joined: 06 Apr 2012
Posts: 202 | TRs

MangyMarmot
Member
PostMon Aug 25, 2014 10:29 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Nice TR. Great photos! We saw your name in Kimtah summit register on Saturday, and a lone boot print at about 8000 ft. Found the cascade TP flower also. You would think they could have bothered to step more than a foot off the trail. I guess not.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > A Ragged Walk In The Park (Kimtah, Cosho, Mesahchie, Katsuk)
  Happy Birthday Creaky Knees, ryleymyers, PNWdave, penc!
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
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy