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Matt Lemke
High on the Outdoors

Joined: 15 Jul 2010
Posts: 1908 | TRs
Location: My van
Matt Lemke

High on the Outdoors
PostTue May 05, 2015 2:08 pm 
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On a beautiful Wednesday in the end of April (AKA last Wednesday), Josh, Mike, Adam, and Heather met me in Twisp around 10 at night and we made a quick bivy at a campground roughly 20 miles up the Twisp River Road. Heather and Adam wanted to get up at 4am and after some grunts by Josh and I, we agreed that would be ok. Some whispering between Josh and I ensued which went something like "Yeah we normally start at like 8 or 9 lol"

The morning came quick and we made the final 10 minute drive to the trailhead and got everything packed up. Like always, my pack was less than half the weight as everyone else's. Josh and I didn't bring snowshoes and I only needed a liter of water. I still can't figure out what everyone had in their packs but compared to mine you'd think they were out for a 3 night trip!

At 4:50 we started up the trail and made our way to where the South Fork of Reynolds Creek dumps into the Main Fork, about 3 miles from the trailhead. Up to this point the snow was not bad and the sunrise alpenglow on Reynolds Peak was torture as the trees blocked the amazing view. We all scooted across a small log to cross the creek (except Heather who chose a different log) and Josh and I decided to stay on the right side of the south fork to avoid the extra creek crossing.

At the head of the valley around 5,500 feet we waited for Adam, Heather and Mike to catch back up to us and had a quick food break. We had been out for 3 hours at this point...slow going due to punching through the crust in the trees and sinking to our waist a bunch.

I spotted a nice snow gully directly above us and started breaking trail. Josh and I alternated slogging up the 1,000 foot gully while the rest followed in snowshoes. By this point, Mike was beginning to have some serious pain in his knee but he kept trucking along. At the top of the gully we reached a large basin filled with bright, wet snow. I remember thinking to myself the glissades would be awesome!

After consulting the map for a few minutes, we hiked into the basin maybe 500 feet and began ascending the snow slopes to the right and towards the summit of Reynolds Peak. Adam and Heather broke trail for the next 1,000 feet since my feet were soaked by this point and getting cold (I didn't have waterproof shoes and the snow was very wet). I then took off breaking trail the final 500 feet or so to the ridge crest just below the 400 foot summit block. I rested 15 minutes on dry rock and took my shoes off to dry a little while I waited.

Once everyone arrived, I looked to the west and noticed Dome Peak and the entire Glacier Peak Wilderness clouded in and kept an eye as to how the clouds were moving. They appeared to be dissipating as they moved east over the Chelan Sawtooths and made me feel a bit easier about the day. I started up the summit block and made quick work of the Class 3 scrambling up somewhat snow covered rock and popped out on the summit. I was able to relax on top in the sun without much wind for maybe 30 minutes while the rest of the crew climbed up the scramble section. I signed the register, took some panoramic photos and ate lunch while I waited. It was peaceful to be up there alone even though I heard Josh and Adam yelling around.

Mike was resting still on the ridge below but when he saw how long it was taking the group he decided, despite agony in his knee to finish the ascent. He topped out just a few minutes after the rest of the group and all 5 of us sat on top identifying various peaks and enjoying the view. Adam commented how he thought this was the toughest Bulger Peak in the Chelan Sawtooths and I guess I agreed.

Since the clouds were starting to move our way more, we started down and I led the way back down to the ridge. It took a while for everyone to get through and after we were all off the summit block, I started plowing a glissade track down the mountain. Josh quickly followed and we continued the process down to the upper basin. By now my feel were sloshing with water and I wasn't looking forward to the hike out.

Unfortunately glissading the final gully didn't go as well since the snow was too soft so Josh and I alternated plowing a path. Mike, being the last one to get down was lucky to have pre-plowed paths for all his glissades!

For the hike out I went on ahead and continued back to the car in one push as I wanted to take my shoes off ASAP but Mike was in extreme pain and stayed with Josh and Adam. About 45 minutes after I returned to the cars they all arrived. I offered to take Josh and Mike home since Adam wasn't sure if he would make it back that night and the three of us stopped for an awesome Denny's dinner. At 2am Thursday morning I finally returned home in Renton.

This was Bulger Peak 37/100 for me! My photos from the trip shown below.

Also see Adam's TR here and Mike's TR here

The Pacific coast to the Great Plains = my playground!!!
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