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gb
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PostSun Jun 19, 2016 7:53 am 
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Thanks for the update re: crossing the Suiattle.
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chiwakum
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PostMon Jun 20, 2016 10:55 pm 
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Hey hetrecker, I just saw this! Damn you have a good memory! Your guess about my route is spot on.

hetrekker wrote:
Hi gb. I plan on giving a detailed response in a new thread that concentrates completely on the milk creek trail.    Chiwakum, if I remember correctly, you had just returned from getting boots you had forgotten at the river crossing? And we had just returned from a 6 hour unsuccessful new route try up to lime ridge. We took off shortly after you left at about 3 to reach lime ridge via the pipe. Instead of heading up the pipe at the bottom we crossed rivord creek, took the milk creek trail switchbacks up past the last one, and crossed rivord creek to intercept the pipe further up. Took an extra hour to find the pipe trail gulley. After going up the chute (I bet you recognize that description) we encountered that thigh high woody springy ground cover making it difficult to follow the trail at twilight. Took about an hour to finally find where the trail went. Got lost a number of times in the dark, mostly due to our 15 yr old cheesey single AA clip on flashlights(they work fine for all night forays on the Wonderland, but not on this hike). Finally arrived at box at 2 am. Turned out to be quite the adventure. Do you have plans on going up again this year? Have you thought of going up via milk creek trail?
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chiwakum
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PostMon Jun 20, 2016 10:57 pm 
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I'm definitely going to head up there again sometime before I croak. It was fun. You guys are tenacious!
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hetrekker
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PostSun Aug 07, 2016 9:28 pm 
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Big news on the pipeline trail. Shetrekker and I took off at 6:30 Thursday morning July 28 from our usual departure point above the milk creek trail switchbacks. There is a long fallen trunk at that point parallel with the trail and a clearing opens up to the right. There is a bluff there above a horizontal flow stretch of Rivord creek (a rare thing). Winding down we crossed e to w over it. We noted a couple of tags on both sides - someone else has used this crossing. As you rise up the bank you also sidehill "downstream" to the right passing below fallen trunks but angling up toward a large tree. Cresting this brushy ridge you'll see a large fallen trunk with saplings growing on it. Carefully make your way on it using the saplings for support and go its entire length. Drop down and immediately go under at least 2 trunks. Now follow  the first easy rise to the left. From this point you will be walking level or slightly rising to the left. Continue until you reach a gully. On the other side of it the terrain rises noticeably. Follow the gully up. There are some tags here that were there last year. BUT new to us this year someone has brushed and tagged the entire route up to Box lake using saw, lopper and probably pruning snips. Wow, has that increased the ease of ascending. The physicality of the route is still there, but the time climbing over stuff and the rubbery legs we get from it are gone. We first noticed new tagging while heading up the gulley; from the corner of my eye I noticed a tag high up on the slope to our right where we hadn't been before. Curious, we climbed up to find a well worn route and more tags. Obvious was the fact our trail angel knew the trail well and cared about the welfare of those going up this trail - what a kind worthy soul. We more than likely will never know who it is, but for one clue: he wore logger boots with corks (nails, spikes) on the outer soles. Who might that be?   Arrived at Box at 10:30 still fairly fresh and made it to our camp spot on lower Milk lake by 4:00. And were we ready for swims, lot of 'em. Note: trail past Box is deeply rooted and obvious and I saw no more tags after that until the major switchback between Rivord and Twin lakes:  After rising above Rivord you'll be sidehilling a good distance. You'll come to a brushy green sudden rise just off the trail to the right. That IS where the trail goes. Now you are on the ridge, stay on top and follow its increasing slope down. Look to the left in open patches; there is where we saw our first tag. Follow the contour from there to the right as you drop.  Going thru a last bunch of small trees, you should spot a large horizontal tree trunk. Do not go over and descend. Instead, look for the tagging to the right. Follow the tags line of descent. You'll be dropping precariously but you MUST sidehill a bunch (more the better) or you will miss the slight ribbon of a trail that takes you somewhat level sidehill. Now if you find yourself in steep "dense" woods you missed it, or if you end in woody brush on the steep, I highly recommend going up and to the left. You will find the trail. More later.
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hetrekker
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PostWed Aug 10, 2016 12:37 am 
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Now, after you are on the trail (mostly level with the ridgeline up on your right) and it ends up at a deadend, don't panic. At this point more than likely you'll notice a bare flat spot maybe 5' below you. Now look up above: 20 to 30' up is where you need to go. Scramble up and find another trail and a cairn. (Just a week or so ago was the first time I found this upper trail and in a few I'll be checking where it came from. Without it it was hell going down.) Follow this trail til you hit some trees. Start angling down slightly following the easiest openings (don't lose too much elevation) and soon you'll come to a boulder field. Congratulate yourself cause you just made it thru the hardest to navigate section on the ridge. Head down to lower Twin lake. Head up the obvious trail out from twin to milk lakes. After topping the ridge you'll be heading down a faint very steep trail on bare ground, shortly you should end up at a boulder pile next to a standing, white, barkless, dead tree. Head down left of the pile. Not exactly sure what we followed  from here. I think we crossed under the pile to the right, followed a faint trail. Nothing real critical, just lose elevation and the lake will guide you. Heading from milk to lime lake: head up the obvious trail. Once you clear the first initial rise STAY LEFT. There is the start of a trail we had missed having climbed in the wrong direction. This is a wondrous stretch of good trail and awesome views. Once you come in view of the unnamed tarn keep looking up and find a trail to begin elevating around it. After that you will see beautiful lime lake shimmering below. Follow the sloping ridge on the left along the faint trail. Passing thru some trees, before long you will see the bowl shaped valley at lake end. Head down it, cross, and head up the other side to a ridge line. There are trails that should make this heading obvious. Now you'll be looking across the traverse that takes you to Mica lake. This traverse is not to be taken lightly. It starts out fine, but we ended taking  one dangerous and hellish WRONG route to Mica. If you have made it to Lime lake you have seen the best the ridge has to offer. Best to turn around and enjoy the return trip. As you know by now there are some nasty, selfish folk on this forum who really don't want us up in their up til now personal alpine playground. Continue messaging your questions (it will be easier on you). And Je____ and others perhaps you would prefer joining us for a jaunt up to Lime ridge vs the milk creek trail? Let me know.
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hetrekker
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PostWed Aug 10, 2016 11:32 am 
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Messages response: I could see just a day trip to navigate the start of the pipeline trail. This is the hardest to find and navigate and past that is just steep, with a good trail and easy  to follow. It will take but a very short time to find if this is your kind of thing. This would happen on a weekend this summer yet. Message if interested. I'm out of here. PS: no we are not fast. We are cautious even fearful older hikers and this trail requires caution and a spirit of adventure.
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hetrekker
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PostFri Jul 14, 2017 12:09 am 
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WARNING: If you plan to take last year's route to the mct, or if you plan to use the pipeline trail to access lr, you'll be needing to cross the Suiattle river via a log located near the Suiattle trailhead. Until now all (including the forest rangers) have been using the bark covered one that goes from bank to bank. This log is now highly compromised and is splintered badly. Right under the access end of this now compromised log is a substantial barkless log that spans the river on a diagonal downstream. We used this for entry and exit from a trip to lr a couple days ago and found it to be safe and comfortable for us. BUT your choice.
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geyer
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PostFri Jul 14, 2017 12:45 pm 
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Thanks for the heads up. I might be trying this in the next month or so
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hetrekker
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PostFri Jul 14, 2017 1:22 pm 
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That's what we're here for, to learn from and help each other out. So, geyer, where are you headed and what route are you planning on using?
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hetrekker
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PostFri Jul 14, 2017 4:25 pm 
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Shetrekker and I returned two days ago from our first trip to box lake this year. As is our choice we leave map, compass, and gps at home. This is one of those climbs where the mountain tells you where you can go rather than you predetermining a route. At least on this climb, having done it 5 times in the last couple years, we have found "being lost" is just psychological fear that does not square with reality. The route really is very clear; go up by the easiest line you have in front of you at present. We like to start the climb from various points along the river to challenge our psyche and gain experience in figuring things out and hopefully finding a best starting point. Curiosity and wonder is what motivates us; in reality we are inexperienced, fearful, meek, grown children thriving on the vitality of vulnerability. I know there are at least a handful of you on this forum that would love to reach lr and your thoughts revolve around finding, following, and gutting out an exhausting climb up the pipeline trail. In my opinion, this trail is absolutely the most dangerous and inefficient way to go up and 3x the most dangerous and inefficient way to go down. More later
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geyer
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PostFri Jul 14, 2017 5:15 pm 
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hetrekker wrote:
That's what we're here for, to learn from and help each other out. So, geyer, where are you headed and what route are you planning on using?

I was hoping to traverse the whole ridge from box lake to Mica and (hopefullly) Milk Lake (ex-) glacier before heading off to the PCT and walking the road out. Kind of similar to Matt's route. Not sure if the ridge hike up is the way to go based on what you've been saying about the river crossing. It'll be a challenge but that's what I like.
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hetrekker
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PostFri Jul 14, 2017 7:17 pm 
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Geyer. Based on your trip reports and your route, you may find it a bit too easy smile.gif. I think you misread what I detailed about the Suiattle river crossing. There IS a substantial log which I consider a safe one that crosses near the Suiattle trailhead; it is barkless and white and crosses at a diagonal. Just a thought for you and others to think on: lr was once decimated by overuse and trash. Many of us here feel protective of this ridge. While I feel its almost criminal to deny others on this forum route knowledge (but no gps data), I think it is important to make it as mundane and boring as possible, void of all possible promotional appeal. Using initials instead of full ridge or lake names, putting a trip report under trail talk, eliminating pictures from trip report and placing in picture(s) of the day with initials. Nearly everyone here has knowledge of this ridge and I doubt few here would be angered by this approach. While we would like to hear your impressions, even these can be subdued - we'll get what you are saying. What's notable about this ridge is the solitude; sure, the lakes have a beauty but not as great as some others. Solitude can be preserved even with others around as long as there is mutual regard for the wellbeing of the ridge, it's solitude, and each groups privacy. If ridge knowledge and pics were picked up by a popular blog, online magazine, or paper mag, it would be a sad day. Many here, myself included, have seen how wild places have been disrespected when social media titillates those who definitely march to the beat of a different drummer. Just a thought.
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Backpacker Joe
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PostFri Jul 14, 2017 7:37 pm 
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If we are talking about Don Geyer, there will be no problems. hockeygrin.gif

I was hoping to do the hike in September to get some colors out of the deal, but we'll see.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

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geyer
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PostFri Jul 14, 2017 7:53 pm 
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Hetrekker -- I actually have gotten that impression about this area. I only found it because I am a strange creature who likes to read maps for fun  biggrin.gif  and came across this ridge covered in lakes that I had never heard of. I looked at satellite imagery and noticed that many of the lakes are spectacularly colored. It seems like a special place for many, but also an area that is begging to be explored
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geyer
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PostFri Jul 14, 2017 7:55 pm 
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
Don Geyer

No relation... though he does take some quality photos  up.gif
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