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wildernessed
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PostSun Aug 07, 2016 6:54 am 
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Location : West of Twisp, Wa. up Twisp River Rd.
Access : South Creek Trail (Recently cleared all the way to the Pass)
Map : GTM - Stehekin, USGS - McAlester Mountain, TOPO
Trip Stats : 20 mi, 5500' r/t

McAlester 7928' via South Creek
McAlester 7928' via South Creek
McAlester summit ridge. The true summit is a sharp pinnacle that blends into the front, but which is higher and distinct from erosion.
McAlester summit ridge. The true summit is a sharp pinnacle that blends into the front, but which is higher and distinct from erosion.
Looking at McAlister across Gibb's summit and more.
Looking at McAlister across Gibb's summit and more.

McAlester from Motherlode
McAlester from Hock's summit
McAlester from Hock's summit
McAlester from the SW / Rainbow Ridge Area
McAlester from the SW / Rainbow Ridge Area
McAlesters summit back through the peaks and ridges.
McAlesters summit back through the peaks and ridges.

Steve and I knew we were going to do something, but just what had yet to be determined by time and weather so when he came home from the West side late we decided to make a late start the next day. The plan was to do McAlester mountain via South Creek, not the easiest approach, and I had hoped to make it a three day trip, but we went ahead with a backup plan of going up the stream at the head of South Creek into it's highest basin if it was to much of a bite to do McAlester and getting some recon photos from that angle. There was a 7600' peak on the ridge close for some good views if needed.
We were backpacking up South Creek a little after 2pm, definitely not an alpine start, but a comfortable 81 degrees at the TH  gag.gif , the trail had been recently cleared and brushed out to the Louis Creek trail jct., and we had plenty of tree canopy cover down lower in the valley. The trail beyond that was cleared, but brushy in some sections. The trail continues to get rockier as you hike, and at times it seems like your walking on river rock, but it's a trail. We had water crossing the trail below Crescent, and again from the lake that empties out below Motherlode / South Creek Butte, and our final water source was the stream that runs down from the upper basin near the horse camp around 6000'. It was at that point that I had to mole skin both my heels due to hot spots and we had a decision to make. Steve thought there might be a stream up a little higher and a small campsite, but he wasn't sure, he said all the trips just seem to blend together at times. I'm glad I am not the only one with those mixed memories. Anyhow we checked out the horse camp next to the stream which is pretty big with quite a few flat areas and no occupants. I looked up stream, but it seemed pretty far for my heels to go so we made camp there and it appeared the backup plan would kick in. Now I have a pretty good history with blister first aid, but they needed a break. So we setup camp, ate, had a campfire, while taking up defensive positions from the bug assault. We had hoped to get up further, and as I turned in the better choice seemed to be the upper basin, but I never lost complete thought of being so close (kind of) to McAlester and holding it out as a possibility and I never told Steve we should bail.
I slept pretty good and woke up around 0400 hr. and was quick to get up and have morning coffee, Steve was up around 0500 hr. and asked, "Are you ready to go ?" My heels felt better and the mole skin was bonded pretty well with tincture of benzoin, I was actually pain free. So nothing was said, we packed for the day, left our tents standing with everything packed up when we came back and headed up to South Creek Pass.
At the Pass there is a somewhat obscure if you are not looking for it trail that heads South below the ridge, it's not a maintained trail, but it goes into Lower and Upper Dee Dee Lakes. The lakes are gorgeous but to my knowledge are day hiking only. We followed a fishermens path to the head end of Upper Dee Dee then it was off trail on a possible route that I read about a few years back, they said there was a lot of rock, but it looked feasible. We followed a boulder field West through a notch in the ridge, then descended into another boulder field with intermittent snow fields until we hit the North spur ridge leading to the low end of the main ridge. We turned following it generally East, it is one of the loosest boulder, talus, scree, pieces of eroding garbage around, everything moved but otherwise it was O.K. We could see a pinnacle up ridge, it looked quite a distance, but we just put our heads down and went about trying to stay vertical in the now. We had to drop down here and there because the ridge is less flat, more jagged, and eventually came to what appeared to be the high point above pretty tired, but still untouched by the morning sun. This is where a GPS can really come in handy to put you in position directly below a summit when you don't have line of sight and multiple high points and while I had mine and used it, this time I decided this has to be it, didn't look and climbed at least class 3 to the top, looked over and said sh##, as I saw a pinnacle looking high point maybe 50' away. Steve was below and said, "Is that it ?", and I said a badder word. Anyhow I down climbed that point, crossed yet another gully and ascended the higher point /summit. The ridge looks nothing like it does on paper, at the top it's thin, broken high points you have to traverse around below real garbage, but in a good way winksmile.gif . I tagged the summit, took a couple pics, and we headed back. No sun hit us until we were ready to drop back down off the ridge and when we did we were in the mountains shade again. We all most made it back to the lake before the hot sun and bugs were on us. We rehydrated at the outflow, took some more pics, and watched the fish jump in absolute clear water. It was amazing, and we saw several mountain goats on the ridge above us  up.gif . Why the peakbag was good, we had a long way to go to get back to camp and I am glad I was well stocked with energy bars, chews, and gels . I think I drank another couple liters of water at the stream before packing up and just grinding out the miles to get back to the car. It was a looonng day. My mole skin stayed on the whole time. 87 degrees back at the TH. Good time out getting trashed.

81 degrees at 2 pm when we started out.
81 degrees at 2 pm when we started out.
The whole trail has been logged out and most brushed back.
The whole trail has been logged out and most brushed back.
Soulx2 Cuben.
Soulx2 Cuben.
McAlester from the trail around Lower Dee Dee Lake.
McAlester from the trail around Lower Dee Dee Lake.
Steve coming down the stuff.
Steve coming down the stuff.
Once through the notch, the hike across some snow fields to the ridge.
Once through the notch, the hike across some snow fields to the ridge.
Ridge up !
Ridge up !
Upper and Lower Dee Dee Lake from McAlester summit.
Upper and Lower Dee Dee Lake from McAlester summit.
Notch in the ridge we crossed trying to out flank the mountain.
Notch in the ridge we crossed trying to out flank the mountain.
Black ?
Black ?
Glacier
Glacier
Floating rock ridge.
Floating rock ridge.
Motherlode - South Creek Butte - Crescent
Motherlode - South Creek Butte - Crescent
Upper Dee Dee Lake.
Upper Dee Dee Lake.
Spectacle Buttes in the background.
Spectacle Buttes in the background.
Looking back at McAlester Ridge, the true summit is a point beyond that point.
Looking back at McAlester Ridge, the true summit is a point beyond that point.
Liberty Bell
Liberty Bell
McAlester from Lower Dee Dee Lake
McAlester from Lower Dee Dee Lake
Motherlode - South Creek Butte - Partial Crescent
Motherlode - South Creek Butte - Partial Crescent
South Creek Valley
South Creek Valley
Area North of South Pass looking towards Hock Mountain.
Area North of South Pass looking towards Hock Mountain.
Switchbacking out of the forest with Mosquito Lake basin  center.
Switchbacking out of the forest with Mosquito Lake basin  center.
Some scrambling to get to the top.
Some scrambling to get to the top.
Mt. Gibbs
Mt. Gibbs
Early a.m. mountain views
Early a.m. mountain views

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Dalekz
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PostSun Aug 07, 2016 7:37 am 
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Dee Dee lakes are part of the The National Park crosscountry Zone and a camping permit can be had for them. I got one in Oct 2006 for my second night, but 6" of snow the first night (hidden valley camp) and more to come, made everything very wet so didn't make it to them.
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Distel32
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PostSun Aug 07, 2016 7:56 am 
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up.gif
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HitTheTrail
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PostSun Aug 07, 2016 10:13 am 
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Glad you finally tagged this one, after hearing you threatening to do it for the past few years. up.gif  Did it look like the trail to Louis Lk had been worked on (that's more my speed)?
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wildernessed
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PostSun Aug 07, 2016 11:11 am 
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HitTheTrail wrote:
  Did it look like the trail to Louis Lk had been worked on (that's more my speed)?

Looked freshly logged and brushed out to the Louis Creek trail so I imagine it's free and clear. The entire South Creek trail is free of down fall.

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RichP
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PostSun Aug 07, 2016 12:53 pm 
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wildernessed wrote:
Soulx2 Cuben.
Soulx2 Cuben.

How do you like that tent? I was checking it out and was a bit shocked by the price.  eek.gif
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wildernessed
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PostSun Aug 07, 2016 1:07 pm 
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RichP wrote:
How do you like that tent?

Maiden voyage but unique design. Huge front door, vertical walls, large amount of interior space. I chose the DAC Featherlite NFL aluminum poles over the carbon fiber. The fly allows alot of ventilation and there is a vent above the door in the front. I have some photos of it at different angles I will eventually post. It can be ordered with several different types of material at lower cost.

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awilsondc
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PostSun Aug 07, 2016 1:40 pm 
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wildernessed wrote:

rocker.gif  breakdance.gif  eek.gif  up.gif
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HitTheTrail
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PostSun Aug 07, 2016 3:57 pm 
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wildernessed wrote:
The fly allows alot of ventilation and there is a vent above the door in the front.

It looks like the side is pulling out awful far just for ventilation. Is that meant to be vestibule space? If so is the access from the front door?
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wildernessed
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PostSun Aug 07, 2016 4:19 pm 
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HitTheTrail wrote:
It looks like the side is pulling out awful far just for ventilation.

Hit, I have the sides guyed out wide I wanted the open ventilation. The bath tub floor is deep so high enough for splash. I could have guyed it out closer to the tent and down. I will write it up in the gear section with pics.

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wildernessed
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PostThu Aug 11, 2016 7:48 pm 
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HitTheTrail wrote:
Glad you finally tagged this one, after hearing you threatening to do it for the past few years. up.gif

Thanks. I was looking at a Sawtooth Ridge map for a trip this weekend and noticed less than a handful of peaks left between the Columbia and Copper Pass, and done most all in the wilderness.  up.gif We have been working that area over and it has worked us over. There are a lot of ridge, highpoints, and lake loops that can be done though.

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littlebit
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PostFri Aug 12, 2016 10:51 am 
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Nice writeup. My wife and I were just there (end of July) and I thought about writing it up as there was little info on this trip. You saved me the trouble. We did the exact same route but spent 3 days (2 nights at Dee Dee lakes). As you noted it was very, very buggy (two kinds of black flies, aggressive mossies that never let up and little reddish gnats). Fortunately we had our full north Canada rated bug armor with us. One mistake we made was trying to go straight up the gully just to the west of McAlester. The rock is very poor and its steep. We had to bail when we encountered a 15 ft mossy, wet cliff. The trail to Dee Dee lakes is just to the left of the sign that says backcountry permits required. I thought it made a great 3 day trip. I suppose it could be done as a day hike but that would be a long day. We took about 4 hours in and out and without the screwup on the climb it would have been about 5 hrs rt from the lakes.
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wildernessed
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PostFri Aug 12, 2016 5:34 pm 
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littlebit wrote:
One mistake we made was trying to go straight up the gully just to the west of McAlester. The rock is very poor and its steep.

I looked down several of those gully's and they were steep and had a lot of loose rock. I told Steve I can't see the whole route down though so we followed the ridge. Looked like an unknown quality and quantity. There is a pretty wide bench below the main ridge and from the lake you see the edge of it. The main ridge / summit sits back behind the bench above the lake. Coming up Rainbow Creek looks like the shortest, easiest, most direct route, but then you have logistics. I had never been to South Pass or Dee Dee lakes so that was part of the trip decision to. I wore a new pair of Salamon Quest 2D boots and they look old now with rubber peeling away from the leather. I guess they got broken in somewhat.

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