Forum Index > Trip Reports > Cashmere Mountain (SE route, loop) 8/27/16
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awilsondc
Scramblin' Fool



Joined: 03 Apr 2016
Posts: 487 | TRs

awilsondc
Scramblin' Fool
PostMon Aug 29, 2016 5:37 am 
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Short version:  Jake Robinson and I climbed Cashmere Mountain via a loop route.  We used beta from a couple trip reports here and here.  We took the SE slopes up to the SE gully where we found one of the best scrambles either of us had done.  We took the standard route down the west ridge past the Caroline Lakes back to the car.  It was probably the best trip of the year for both of us.

Long version:  It had been four years since I last hiked with Jake.  We did Warrior peak in the Olympics and had an awesome time.  I was glad to be able to hike with him again.  Jake slept in his vehicle at the trailhead and I woke up super early to meet him there in the morning.  There was some pretty cool sunrise colors in the clouds on the way in that looked like an interdimensional portal or something from an Avengers movie.  It was cool.  After I arrived, we hit the trail at 7:00 am sharp.

portal looking clouds
portal looking clouds
Jake breaking free of the ash-dirt hell
Jake breaking free of the ash-dirt hell
early views of Dragontail and Colchuck
early views of Dragontail and Colchuck
this early morning fire sky lasted an hour plus
this early morning fire sky lasted an hour plus
tall trees
tall trees
Enchantment peaks from the dirt
Enchantment peaks from the dirt

The first mile or so was on the Eightmile Lake trail.  We were aiming for an old road that would give us access to the SE slopes of Cashmere.  There are two spots to depart the mail trail for the old road.  The first is the first obvious right turn when hiking the Eightmile Lake trail.  It is well trodden and within a few feet reaches the old road.  This part of the old road is the lower switchback so turn left and hike a short distance to meet up with the second way to reach the old road which is marked by a large pole.  Here the old road switchbacks and starts heading E / NE and quickly becomes brushy.  There are a couple sections where you have to bushwhack through or around the overgrowth to find the road again.  Our beta suggested starting uphill after the first major creek crossing which we did.  The next hour was the worst of the trip.  I think we headed up too early as the terrain was steep dirt-ash without much solid footing.  I suspect more solid terrain would be found further east but I canít be certain.  I can tell you that the steep dirt got real old and we were both pretty happy to reach the boulders around 5600 ft.


Enchantment peaks from the boulders
Enchantment peaks from the boulders
Me crossing boulders (Jake photo)
Me crossing boulders (Jake photo)
Jake crossing boulders
Jake crossing boulders
I like boulders (Jake photo)
I like boulders (Jake photo)
Jake on a boulder - Dragontail in the back
Jake on a boulder - Dragontail in the back

Our beta suggested staying below the boulder field.  Those boulders are huge!  We skirted below the boulder field for a while but found that boulder hopping was a lot more enjoyable so we stuck to the boulders the rest of the way.  We made a rising traverse NW until we spotted the Cashmere dagger which marks the start of the gully route to the summit.  This is where the trip got really fun!


Our route comes into view (gully is upper right)
Our route comes into view (gully is upper right)
chockstone
chockstone
Cashmere south buttress
Cashmere south buttress
Dagger!
Dagger!
Eightmile Mountain and the Cashmere dagger
Eightmile Mountain and the Cashmere dagger
Start of the gully (widest V right of center)
Start of the gully (widest V right of center)

The gully is a wide broad gully with lots of options.  Itís basically choose your own adventure.  You can go straight up the middle for mostly class 2 if you want and there is solid class 3 and 4 rock on the climbers left side of the gully if youíd prefer that.  We decided to skirt the climbers left side of the gully on solid blocky rock.  I picked a solid class 3 route up and Jake explored a few class 4 moves a bit above me for a hundred feet or so.  From there we just stuck to the left side of the gully and scrambled solid rock with excellent holds for several hundred feet until we crested a small saddle where we turned slightly right (north) and did a tiny cork screw towards the top and reached the summit from the north.  This was an awesome scramble, one of the best Iíve done.  Highly recommended.


traversing the left side of the gully (Jake photo)
traversing the left side of the gully (Jake photo)
class 3 moves (optional at this point) (Jake photo)
class 3 moves (optional at this point) (Jake photo)
Jake with a class 4 traverse (optional)
Jake with a class 4 traverse (optional)
solid fun class 3 (Jake photo)
solid fun class 3 (Jake photo)
blocky solid rock
blocky solid rock
scrambling
scrambling
scrambling (Jake photo)
scrambling (Jake photo)
ridge shot (Jake photo)
ridge shot (Jake photo)
nearing the summit block
nearing the summit block
almost there
almost there
Cashmere summit! (Jake photo)
Cashmere summit! (Jake photo)

The summit views were amazing and it was really windy up there.  We ate lunch and hung out for about 40 minutes before descending.


Stuart with Axis below
Stuart with Axis below
ALW peaks - Daniel on right
ALW peaks - Daniel on right
Dragontail, Colchuck, Argonaut
Dragontail, Colchuck, Argonaut
Looking out towards stuart
Looking out towards stuart
Chiwaukums
Chiwaukums
benchmark
benchmark
benchmark
benchmark

View larger size in new window

Our beta suggested dropping off the north down to a talus basin.  The route looked solid but there was a snow finger blocking part of the route.  We werenít sure if we could bypass it or not and with no axe or traction we decided to just take the standard route down the west ridge.  The route had a couple of spicy moves but went quickly.  Soon we reached a trail and we both thought, thatís it?!  We were both expecting a bit more from the west ridge but it was a lot shorter and easier (except the couple class 4 moves) than we expected.  We were thrilled to have taken the route up we did instead of the standard west ridge.  Way more fun.


Jake on descent
Jake on descent
Jake downclimbing
Jake downclimbing
descending Cashmere (Jake photo)
descending Cashmere (Jake photo)

We descended a well defined trail down the ridge south of point 8279 until it abruptly vanished.  From there we cut across the basin doing a slight traverse in the process until we met up with the trail between Windy Pass and the Caroline Lakes.  We were pleased to be on a trail and quickly made our way past the lakes.


Looking back at Cashmere
Looking back at Cashmere
descending the meadow (Jake photo)
descending the meadow (Jake photo)
beautiful scenery (Jake photo)
beautiful scenery (Jake photo)
back on trail
back on trail
heading towards the Caroline lakes (Jake photo)
heading towards the Caroline lakes (Jake photo)
Little Caroline Lake
Little Caroline Lake
Caroline Lake pano
Caroline Lake pano

The portion between the lakes and the junction with the Eightmile Lake trail sucked.  Long, dusty, exposed, way too many switchbacks, and it seemed to take forever.  As we were nearing the Eightmile Lake trail I heard some people cheering in the basin below.  After a few seconds of listening to this I realized it was actually the wind blowing through the dead trees.  Screams of a dead forest I guess, but it sounded somewhat human.  It was odd.  The rest of the way back to the trailhead went quick.  We made it back 8 hours 25 minutes car to car.  4:20 up, :40 summit stay, 3:25 down.  We were both expecting a 10 hour day and were pretty happy with our time, despite not really trying.  My GPS read ~5200 ft elevation gain and 11 miles.  It felt like more than 11 miles, and my GPS app often comes up with less miles than known mileage so I suspect it was more like 12 miles.  Still, a lot less than the 16 or 18 you get going up the standard west ridge and back the same way.  We were both super thrilled with this route.  I give it an A+.


topo map of our route
topo map of our route
overlay of our route, the red routes might avoid the ash-dirt
overlay of our route, the red routes might avoid the ash-dirt
overlay of our route up the gully
overlay of our route up the gully
South gully, enlarge to see route green class 2 blue class 3
South gully, enlarge to see route green class 2 blue class 3

On the way back through Leavenworth we noticed a fire had started, and it was really close to town!  Just north of the Safeway.  I hope they were able to contain it!


fire
fire
fire
fire
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Brushbuffalo
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Joined: 17 Sep 2015
Posts: 807 | TRs
Location: there earlier, here now, somewhere later... Bellingham in between
Brushbuffalo
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PostMon Aug 29, 2016 6:32 am 
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awilsondc wrote:
We were both super thrilled with this route.† I give it an A+.

Glad you enjoyed it. I think this route will become the standard.

Youu are correct about the first steep climb above the old road.  You left the road a little too soon. It is easier  if you travel along the old road for a few hundred more feet, where the angle eases back a little. However, I don't share your enthusiasm for the BBB...the Big Bad Boulder field!

--------------
Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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Jake Robinson
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Joined: 02 Aug 2016
Posts: 88 | TRs
Location: Green Lake
Jake Robinson
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PostMon Aug 29, 2016 8:00 am 
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Thanks for the TR Aaron! I agree with Brushbuffalo, I think this route will become standard someday. The top part is fantastic. I think if you stick left as soon as you hit the gully, you can piece together a mostly uninterrupted line of class 3 for nearly 1000 vertical feet until you reach the summit. The rock quality is surprisingly good too.
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awilsondc
Scramblin' Fool



Joined: 03 Apr 2016
Posts: 487 | TRs

awilsondc
Scramblin' Fool
PostMon Aug 29, 2016 8:07 pm 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
I think this route will become the standard.

I'd have to agree with you, especially after descending the standard route.  I can't imagine why you'd want to go up that way, especially with how much shorter and more enjoyable the SE route is.  I guess if you're camping at the lakes...

Hey, thanks for the beta!  Your trip report was immensely helpful.   up.gif
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