Forum Index > Trip Reports > Middle Lakes, Copper Ridge - 9/5 - 9/13, 2014
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contour5
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contour5
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PostMon Sep 15, 2014 10:42 pm 
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Middle Lake is Magic! Intrigued by TRs from cascadetraverser, Matt and a recent report from OTIUTB, I made a trip out to Middle Lakes. I camped 2 nights at the Middles, had a look at Sublime Ridge and returned via Copper Ridge. It was a fantastic trip despite the long foresty appproach, and some ridiculously wet and cold weather.

HanniganTrail
HanniganTrail

It was late and hot when I started up the Hannigan Trail with 10 days worth of food and gear. I abandoned my plan to camp on Hannigan Peak and opted to camp just above the south side of the pass. Sunset lit up Ruth as I polished off the last of the cheese fuel.
Ruth1
Ruth1
Ruth3
Ruth3
Ruth4
Ruth4
Nunatuk1
Nunatuk1

Blueberries were ripe and abundant along the trail on both sides of the pass and all the way down to the mushroom transition zone lower on the Chilliwack.
WildSign4
WildSign4
Huck5
Huck5
red1
red1
BrainOnDrugs5
BrainOnDrugs5
shroom24
shroom24
shroom22
shroom22
shroom2
shroom2
shroom4
shroom4
shroom7
shroom7

Crossed the Chilliwack on the fabulous cablecar and camped the second night at Graybeal with a ripping, tree lichen cowboy fire utilising the CCC bar-b-que apparatus.
cablecar1
cablecar1
car5
car5
Bar-b-que1
Bar-b-que1
Fire!
Fire!
Bar-b-que2
Bar-b-que2
green5
green5
Thistle1
Thistle1
DangerousMagic
DangerousMagic
pink2
pink2

The views open up nicely once you climb above Whatcom Pass. After a brief section of steep trail the forest finally thins out into a meadowy parkland with superb views of Whatcom, Challenger, Eiley-Wiley Ridge and numerous other high points near and far.
Whatcom1
Whatcom1
ch7
ch7
TalusCrossing1
TalusCrossing1

A short talus crossing and a narrow treeline give way to further meadows sloping down to Lower Middle Lake.
Yellow5
Yellow5
Purple7
Purple7
Lower-Middle-1
Lower-Middle-1
Lower-Middle3
Lower-Middle3
upper2
upper2
Lower-Middle4
Lower-Middle4
Lower-Middle7
Lower-Middle7
Lower-Middle6
Lower-Middle6
meadow3
meadow3
ch6b
ch6b
ChallengerDetail5
ChallengerDetail5
LML91
LML91
Lower-Middle11
Lower-Middle11
Lower-Middle12
Lower-Middle12
meadow6
meadow6
meadow4
meadow4
meadow7
meadow7
meadow9
meadow9
m12
m12
Lower-Middle15
Lower-Middle15
Lower-Middle16
Lower-Middle16
BigMoon4
BigMoon4
MeadowDetail4
MeadowDetail4
LML91
LML91
Camp3
Camp3
MeadowDetail77
MeadowDetail77

I set up camp on a big rock in the meadow above the lower lake inlet. The next day I climbed up past Tiny Lake to Pt. 7087 and got a pretty good look at the ridge to Bear Lake/Mtn.
tinylake
tinylake
route2
route2
LEL4
LEL4
Luna1
Luna1
EL6
EL6
LEL7
LEL7
UEL8
UEL8
Reveile1
Reveile1
ChallengerPool1
ChallengerPool1
Luna2
Luna2
Luna3
Luna3
peak1
peak1
EL9
EL9
Luna5
Luna5
MiddleLakes18
MiddleLakes18
Mid19
Mid19
Reveile2
Reveile2
Luna7
Luna7
Bear2
Bear2
paint6
paint6
LEL93
LEL93
ReveileLake(s)94
ReveileLake(s)94
LowerChallengerPool9
LowerChallengerPool9
LML95
LML95
OpposableThumbSelfie
OpposableThumbSelfie

Clouds rolled through all day and it was hard to get clear shots of a lot of the peaks. Challenger stayed in the clouds most of the day.

When I came down the hill at the end of the day, there was a bear browsing the creek right next to my camp. I shouted at him and he ran around the lake, from the inlet to the outlet, and disappeared. I wish I had snuck up on him before scaring him away; might have got some better pictures...
Bear5
Bear5
Bear8
Bear8
Bear12
Bear12
Bear15
Bear15

After the bear left, I was blessed with an almost unbelievable, seemingly endless 12 hour light show. First; an amazing sunset- followed by the rising full moon, which I shot for hours and hours before falling asleep exhausted and no longer able to aim the camera- then I woke up to a fantastic sunrise that reflected on the lake and ponds.
LML21
LML21
Camp-Pano1
Camp-Pano1
tent3
tent3
tent4
tent4
ss3
ss3
ss4
ss4
ss14
ss14
ss15
ss15
moon5
moon5
moon11
moon11
moon14
moon14
m28
m28
m32
m32
SR17z
SR17z
Whatcom5
Whatcom5
Challenger44
Challenger44
CT3
CT3
ML46
ML46
camp22
camp22
meadow25
meadow25
Ch57
Ch57
Ch58
Ch58
Ch61
Ch61
meadow33
meadow33
meadow34
meadow34
meadow38
meadow38

I had planned to make a whirlwind tour of the Taptos on my way out, but I got caught in a rain squall, took a wrong turn onto a shortcut and ended up bailing back to Whatcom Pass where the rain finally stopped.
IndianCreekBridge
IndianCreekBridge

It poured rain all night at Indian Creek camp. I woke up with water dripping on my face- went to sleep without putting up the rainfly on my tent... set out a big yardsale on the trail the next day to dry my gear before continuing to Copper Lake. Spent two nights at Copper and climbed up onto the ridge but didn't go much past the meadows. Hung out with Ranger Antone at the lookout and then spent a final night at Silesia camp.
Slesse4
Slesse4
Bear3
Bear3
meadow42
meadow42
m44
m44
C15
C15
C18
C18
C27
C27
CLO4
CLO4
C32
C32
C33
C33
Baker4
Baker4
Luna56
Luna56
Hozomeen6
Hozomeen6
CLO7
CLO7
Luna57
Luna57
pond4
pond4
Hozomeen7
Hozomeen7
ss51
ss51
C45
C45
pond5
pond5
EggLake2
EggLake2
ss52
ss52
ss54
ss54
ss56
ss56
ss57
ss57
ss58
ss58
Baker-ss59
Baker-ss59
ss62
ss62
sr73
sr73
sr75
sr75

Great trip; highly recommended!
AnotherDamnSelfie
AnotherDamnSelfie
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cascadetraverser
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PostMon Sep 15, 2014 11:04 pm 
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Great photos and great trip!  I`m glad you got to go to that special place; Middle lakes that is.  Probably the coolest campsite of the year for me with the great views of Challenger, Eiley- Wiley in that knolled area.  Sublime ridge is pretty great too.
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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostTue Sep 16, 2014 7:17 am 
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Wow, looks like a great trip!  You really got some nice images.  I think you got the same camp site at Graybeal as I did.  I also had a wet night at Indian Creek.  I thought 5 days worth of food was heavy, I can't imagine 10 days.  I don't think it would fit in my Osprey pack, I'd have to go back to my old, heavier pack.  Glad you got to enjoy that area.  up.gif
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chiwakum
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PostTue Sep 16, 2014 10:11 am 
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Dude!
up.gif  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif
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RichardJ
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PostTue Sep 16, 2014 10:35 am 
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Man, I love your TRs and photography work.
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Jetlag
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PostTue Sep 16, 2014 2:41 pm 
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Superb TR in all aspects! What a great way to end the summer! Thanks.
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mbravenboer
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PostTue Sep 16, 2014 3:08 pm 
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Spectacular pictures! Thanks for the great report.
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PorcupinePhobia
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PostTue Sep 16, 2014 4:57 pm 
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Great photos!  up.gif  What a perfect Cascades trip, a little bit of everything!
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cartman
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PostThu Sep 18, 2014 12:29 pm 
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That's a great trip report, thanks for the fantastic pics.  Sublime Ridge is one of the best places in the Cascades.
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contour5
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PostThu Sep 18, 2014 2:39 pm 
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Quote:
Sublime Ridge is one of the best places in the Cascades

It looks to be a fantastic walk. Hoping to make a trip to Bear Lake next time. Also, thanks for your TR, Cartman, it was extremely useful. Couldn't find it when I posted or I would have added a link.

Couple of additional items while I'm bumping myself... The mice at Indian Creek Camp are horrendous- probably the most dense rodent population I've ever seen. I was popping them off my boots like hackey sacks while I was cooking dinner.

The horse camps along the Chilliwack are rather nicely equipped with huge tarps over some of the fire pit areas...might make a nice place to escape  from the rain, if needed.

The GT map for Copper Ridge is indeed laughably inaccurate- there are actually 13 lower switchbacks followed by a sometimes steep, mile-and-a-half, leftward traverse. Total of 31 switchbacks (I'm an obsessive counter of sharp corners)

The Chilliwack ford was surprisingly easy ( note; Sept 10), with ankle deep water over mostly round rocks.

Thanks for all the nice comments. Anybody notice I got reflection shots of a bear? Not the greatest bear pictures, but I was pretty thrilled... usually they disappear before I can get a shot...
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raising3hikers
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PostThu Sep 18, 2014 2:49 pm 
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absolutely beautiful!  it looks a lot different to me without a lot of snow.  i'm looking forward to another trip up there.  thanks for sharing your great pics up.gif

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olderthanIusedtobe
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PostThu Sep 18, 2014 3:09 pm 
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contour5 wrote:
The mice at Indian Creek Camp are horrendous- probably the most dense rodent population I've ever seen. I was popping them off my boots like hackey sacks while I was cooking dinner.

The Chilliwack ford was surprisingly easy ( note; Sept 10), with ankle deep water over mostly round rocks.

Anybody notice I got reflection shots of a bear? Not the greatest bear pictures, but I was pretty thrilled... usually they disappear before I can get a shot...

I wasn't aware of any mice when I was at Indian Creek.  Almost feel like I missed out.  Any salmon still spawning in the Chilliwack?  I do see the bear reflection shot now that I was looking for it.  Cool image.
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D. Inscho
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PostSun Oct 11, 2015 7:24 pm 
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Sorry I missed this one C-5, you're a a photographic and cross-country kindred spirit.   Way to work to find the good stuff, like solitude and scenery.  Thanks for packing' it home to share.

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The key to a successful trip is to do the planning during work hours.       --  John Muir
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Matt
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PostSun Oct 11, 2015 8:11 pm 
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Very nice, especially the light show by the lakes.  Good to see how they look when they're melted out.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Gwen
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PostSun Oct 11, 2015 9:05 pm 
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Well shoot, another one goes on the list. Great stuff!

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Tomorrow's not promised to anyone, so be bold, scare yourself, attempt something with no guarantee of success. You'll be amazed at what you can achieve. -Olive McGloin
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Middle Lakes, Copper Ridge - 9/5 - 9/13, 2014
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