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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 7038 | TRs | Pics
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostSun Oct 05, 2014 12:23 pm 
In recent years Richp and I (and sometimes Cartman) have been climbing the group of homecourt peaks in the Dingford Creek area - Floating Rock, Little Bulger, Sorcery. Galleon was the remaining peak with prominence in this area.

The first recorded ascent of Galleon was by Jeff Howbert and "Matt" on July 16, 1995. In the August 1995 issue of Pack & Paddle Jeff wrote "The name was suggested by its profile on the topographic map: a long, bulky mass punctuated by three summits of nearly equal height." Given the abundance of mineral rich veins in the area (there are still 3 active crystal mining operations) and the commanding views from the summit, it's likely that a prospector probably climbed the peak earlier, but they didn't record that fact so Jeff and Matt get the credit.

Right off the bat we were held up for an hour waiting for a pilot car to take us through the active paving going on this Saturday -- unusual for a weekend but they must be pushing to meet their deadline by the end of the month. The Middle Fork trailhead had been paved earlier in the week and by the end of the day the last mile to the Campground was done
An asphalt truck at the CCC trail intersection. We waited 50 minutes here for an pilot car to take us past the construction area.
An asphalt truck at the CCC trail intersection. We waited 50 minutes here for an pilot car to take us past the construction area.
Newly paved road by the Middle Fork campground
Newly paved road by the Middle Fork campground
Paved Middle Fork trailhead parking lot
Paved Middle Fork trailhead parking lot

We started up the beautiful and sometimes steep Green Ridge trail just after 10am and reached the turn off to the Green Ridge lake trail at 3500' about 1:15 minutes later. Neither of us had been on the side trail to the lake before and it was more open and beautiful than we expected. It skirts below a series of talus slopes on Green Ridge while gaining about 500' to Green Ridge lake.
Steep step up
Steep step up
Big old blaze that has damaged the tree
Big old blaze that has damaged the tree
Subtle arrow marks turnoff to Green Ridge lake
Subtle arrow marks turnoff to Green Ridge lake
Blasting warning, but the Purple Hope claim mining is done for the year
Blasting warning, but the Purple Hope claim mining is done for the year
Purple Hope claim
Purple Hope claim
Beautiful Green Ridge lake trail
Beautiful Green Ridge lake trail
Green Ridge lake
Green Ridge lake

Getting past Green Ridge lake requires about 20 minutes of tedious rock hopping on the talus that extends down to the waterline. At the far end is a spacious campsite and an elaborate bench and firepit construction. Along the way we got our first look at Galleon and agreed on which low point we wanted to head toward.
Tedious rock hopping past Green Ridge lake
Tedious rock hopping past Green Ridge lake
Green Ridge Lake campsite
Green Ridge Lake campsite
Elaborate camp construction, but not up to Mayan standards
Elaborate camp construction, but not up to Mayan standards
Crystals at the Green Ridge lake campsite
Crystals at the Green Ridge lake campsite
Pick the right pass
Pick the right pass

The trail continues past the campsite but more overgrown because the miners veer off across the Green Lake inlet to reach their claim. Hi-Low lake is not far away and at this time of year is in it's "Low" state. I assume that's where it gets it name, as it's drainage area is small so it expands and shrinks with the seasons. The grassy border was pretty and easy to walk on but on the far side we inevitably had to bushwhack up through the blueberry band before reaching more open forest and mossy talus that continued up to the pass.
Hi-Low lake in it's Low state
Hi-Low lake in it's Low state
Following the talus
Following the talus
Not as steep as we expected, and no cliffs to work around
Not as steep as we expected, and no cliffs to work around
Where's that pass?
Where's that pass?
The pass that is the easiest way to gain the ridge
The pass that is the easiest way to gain the ridge

I was surprised that there were not more route finding problems reaching the ridge. As long as you go to the "pass" and not the "notch" in the photo above the path you take doesn't matter. Choose forest duff or talus, whatever you prefer. But we did have a question about how hard it would be to get from the pass to the notch, and from there to summit. Just above the pass we climbed about 50' of 3rd class rocks on the crest then traversed to the notch, the last bit requiring careful steps through krummholz but sturdy veggie handholds are available.
Short ridge scramble above the pass
Short ridge scramble above the pass
Traversing to the notch
Traversing to the notch
Traversing to the notch
Traversing to the notch

At the notch we found Gabriel's rope (like a Biblical parable) he reported left on a trip in 2012. From Boo's report it was clear they aimed for the notch and not the pass. From the top it looked really step and I can understand Boo's reluctance to go up and Gabriel's decision to use a rappel going down. It was also clear why the rope stuck -- it got wedged between a tree and rock. But Gabriel left knots in the end so I was only able to pull up one end of the rope. I brought this up with me and tied it to a tree as a hand line for a short steep section above the notch. Once past that it's a walkup to the summit.
The steep route to the notch that Boo and Gabriel went up in 2012
The steep route to the notch that Boo and Gabriel went up in 2012
How Gabriel's rope got stuck
How Gabriel's rope got stuck
We set up the half of Gabriel's rope that we could retrieve as a hand line up the steep section above the notch. The other half was stuck.
We set up the half of Gabriel's rope that we could retrieve as a hand line up the steep section above the notch. The other half was stuck.
The pass and notch from above
The pass and notch from above
Above the notch it's a short easy walk to the top
Above the notch it's a short easy walk to the top

The views from the top were great, with a thin overcast eliminating pesky shadows and improving the photography possibilities. I'll only post a few of the shots I took, but agree with Mike Collins that the views are among the best of the peaks in this area. We did not find the soggy register that Gabriel reported so we left a new one.
Horseshoe Lake and Sorcery Peak
Horseshoe Lake and Sorcery Peak
Pumpkinseed Point and Purple Hope claim on right
Pumpkinseed Point and Purple Hope claim on right
View down the Middle Fork valley, Garfield on right, Green Ridge lake below
View down the Middle Fork valley, Garfield on right, Green Ridge lake below
Richp on summit of Galleon
Richp on summit of Galleon
Puzzlr on summit of Galleon, Big Snow and Sorcery Peak in back
Puzzlr on summit of Galleon, Big Snow and Sorcery Peak in back

On the way down we appreciated the just-installed Gabriel handline above the notch, and used our own rope to descend 30' of steep duff to avoid the rock scramble above the pass. From there it was careful but uneventful descending duff and talus and finally thick blueberry bushes to Hi-Low lake and increasingly visible trail back down to the road.
Using a hand line to descend 30' of steep duff and avoid the ridge scramble
Using a hand line to descend 30' of steep duff and avoid the ridge scramble
Manageably steep duff and forest descending from the pass
Manageably steep duff and forest descending from the pass
Final blueberry bushwhack back to Hi-Low lake
Final blueberry bushwhack back to Hi-Low lake
Rock slab by creek along Green Ridge trail
Rock slab by creek along Green Ridge trail
Beautiful late day sun in forest descending the Green Ridge trail
Beautiful late day sun in forest descending the Green Ridge trail

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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RichP
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Joined: 13 Jul 2006
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RichP
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PostSun Oct 05, 2014 1:24 pm 
Thanks for documenting the trip since I forgot my camera, puzzlr. It was an enjoyable day out with just enough challenges to make it interesting.
Galleon is a prime viewing spot for many homecourt peaks.

One of the best best parts of the day was hearing puzzlr shout with delight when he saw the first freshly paved section of the road on the way home. He was among the first to drive on this and appropriately so.

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nordique
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nordique
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PostSun Oct 05, 2014 7:45 pm 
Great exploratory work by you folks!  Thanks for all the photos!    Now awaiting a proper trail here, for those of us trail runners and our many dogs!

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cartman
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cartman
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PostSun Oct 05, 2014 8:10 pm 
Good work.  I got really motivated to head up with you guys--about 5 hours after you left.

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IanB
Vegetable Belayer



Joined: 21 Jul 2010
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IanB
Vegetable Belayer
PostMon Oct 06, 2014 9:52 am 
Looks like a very fun trip - solving routefinding puzzles in obscure places.

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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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Stefan-K
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Stefan-K
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PostWed Oct 08, 2014 10:09 am 
funny I must have passed your car on the way up to Dingford--there were several parked in singular spots spanning the base of Garfield and each time I wondered where did they go? Now I know where at least one of them went...

The Saturday roadwork was a bit of a surprise. We were told there was going to be up to a 90 minute wait... the two cars ahead of me promptly turned around.  I got out and was like what the? with a smile and five minutes later was being piloted up the road... Got stopped two more times, but nothing too long.
I kept telling them I was trying to get to the Dingford gate parking lot and they kept telling me it was busy being paved... or that the "Dingford trail" was up the Taylor...  I didn't talk to a single member of the road crew who wasn't completely clueless about Middle Fork geography.
Eventually a map was pulled out and the road crew got an impromptu local geography lesson...

Thanks for the report, I had no clue about the "Galleon"

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