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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostSun Oct 30, 2016 12:35 am 
RichP and I attempted Crosby Mountain via it's long east ridge as described in Mike Collins' 2001 WTA TR. We didn't make it for two reasons; 1) we lost an hour by mistakenly going too high on Bing's south ridge and 2) we ran out of time on this short winter day. But there are many things to like about this route and now that we know it I think we'll be back to finally bag the summit. My stats show 10 hours, 6.2 miles RT and 4800' of gain (without our mistake, which adds 600'). The full trip to the summit will probably be close to 6000' of gain with all the ups and downs.
Crosby Mountain
Crosby Mountain

We got an early start out of Seattle and were hiking by 7:45am. This route starts out climbing 300' on an old logging road then very soon enters a magnificent valley bottom old growth forest. Mike mentioned that there was surprisingly little brush and he was absolutely right. I don't think I've ever bushwhacked nearly 3000' of Cascade hillside with such an open understory. There was a lot of evidence of ground-level fire so my amateur theory is that the brush was all burnt out under the mature canopy and not much ever grew back. We should have paid more attention to Mike's suggestion to head NW at 3250'. We kept going up the south ridge of Bing thinking we could traverse over to the 4200' saddle higher up. But it's all cliffs up there and we had to drop down 600' back to 3200' to cross a dry creek and find the correct rib to get up to the saddle.
Starting out at 7:45am. The old logging road switchbacks up about 300'
Starting out at 7:45am. The old logging road switchbacks up about 300'
Old logging road, doesn't go very high
Old logging road, doesn't go very high
A fallen giant serves as a forest sidewalk
A fallen giant serves as a forest sidewalk
Truly huge trees near the valley floor
Truly huge trees near the valley floor
Part of the understroy on this slope was mostly moss. Higher up it was mostly sallal.
Part of the understroy on this slope was mostly moss. Higher up it was mostly sallal.
Cliffs that stopped our progress. We turned around and descended 600' for a course correction.
Cliffs that stopped our progress. We turned around and descended 600' for a course correction.
Losing 600' of elevation to find a place to cross the dry creek
Losing 600' of elevation to find a place to cross the dry creek
In the dry stream we ran across a heavy duty synthetic rope with significant hardware on it. Our best guess was firefighting equipment somehow left behind.
In the dry stream we ran across a heavy duty synthetic rope with significant hardware on it. Our best guess was firefighting equipment somehow left behind.
Big trees and almost no understory
Big trees and almost no understory
4200' saddle. We came up a steady and reasonable slope, but the other side of the pass is almost vertical cliffs
4200' saddle. We came up a steady and reasonable slope, but the other side of the pass is almost vertical cliffs

Once at the saddle everything changed. We ambled through flat meadows along a ridge with slight ups and down until we had to get over slightly higher Point 4494. Just before that we were surprised by a rocky gap on the ridge line that require us to drop down a bit and pass it on the left. It was an anomaly on this otherwise open and easily walked ridge. Past Point 4494 the ridge drops in a series of meadow benches and finally a sheer cliff toward Cement Pots and Lake. Fortunately we had picked up an old fisherman's trail on the ridge and it led on a remarkable series of ramps down the cliff. Without that path we might have been spooked and called it a day there. The path ran out at the Pots and we had to push through brush to get to an knob above Cement Lake.
On the ridge we came across an old intermittent fishing trail and followed it as well as we could to Cement Lake
On the ridge we came across an old intermittent fishing trail and followed it as well as we could to Cement Lake
Pleasant alpine meadows on the ridge top
Pleasant alpine meadows on the ridge top
After walking through flat meadows for a while it was a surprise to come across this sudden gap in the ridge line. We passed it on the left.
After walking through flat meadows for a while it was a surprise to come across this sudden gap in the ridge line. We passed it on the left.
Passing the rocky gap in the ridge line
Passing the rocky gap in the ridge line
After the gap we passed over Pt 4494 and then dropped down a series of meadowy steps
After the gap we passed over Pt 4494 and then dropped down a series of meadowy steps
Crosby summit and tiers of cliffs
Crosby summit and tiers of cliffs
A cliff between Pt 4494 and Cement Lake that we had to come down. Fortunately the faint path we were following showed a way down.
A cliff between Pt 4494 and Cement Lake that we had to come down. Fortunately the faint path we were following showed a way down.
One of many small tarns on the way to Cement Lake
One of many small tarns on the way to Cement Lake

After a snack we knew we probably didn't have time to get all the way to the summit, but we decided to just go up until we got stopped and then turn around. We made it to an exceptional view point at 4400' where we finished our lunches and headed back. The cirque between Cement Lake and Boner Lake is very complicated with tiers of cliffs. In hind sight and looking at maps again we think there may be a more direct way above our view point that avoids Boner Lake, as interesting as that destination sounds. A camp in the meadows on the ridge would provide lots of time for what may be more route finding challenges on the final 1000 feet to the summit.
Climbing above Cement Lake
Climbing above Cement Lake
Richard at our high point at 4400'
Richard at our high point at 4400'
Cement Lake on the right, Cement "Pots" on the left. The high point in the center is Bing
Cement Lake on the right, Cement "Pots" on the left. The high point in the center is Bing
The cirque of cliffs below Boner Lake. These looked too complicated to tackle with limited time on a short winter day.
The cirque of cliffs below Boner Lake. These looked too complicated to tackle with limited time on a short winter day.
Palmer Mountain
Palmer Mountain
Old mining operation below Pt 4494
Old mining operation below Pt 4494
Descending open forest below the 4200' saddle
Descending open forest below the 4200' saddle
Crossing the dry creek at 3200'
Crossing the dry creek at 3200'
A truly big tree. No person for scale.
A truly big tree. No person for scale.

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Mid Fork Rocks • flickr
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Tom
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Tom
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 12:52 am 
There's a fairly simple route up to Boner from the Cement outlet.  A little steep at first but then easy walking.  That's probably the way I would go up.  Plus why go all that way just to bag a peak and not savor Boner Lake or poke around for the BT-13 wreckage. wink.gif

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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
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Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostSun Oct 30, 2016 1:04 am 
Thanks, Tom. Now that you point that starting point out I can see a reasonable route that avoids the lower cliff bands surrounding the opposite end of Cement Lake. Got any photos of Boner Lake?

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Mid Fork Rocks • flickr
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RichP
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 8:50 am 
I really enjoyed the ridge walk once we got up there. There is some huge old growth on the lower slopes close to Money Ck Rd. I sure would like to return and visit Boner Lake which was just out of reach on this short day. Maybe we'll try Tom's suggestion on our third attempt of this elusive summit.

We got back to the car right before dark so I'm glad we didn't push it beyond where we did as there are some route finding challenges on this one.

If anyone has an idea of why the old trail is on top of the ridge, we'd be interested in its origen. It sure helped as it weaved through some cliffy sections that looked impassable otherwise.

Starting off on logging spur along Money Ck Rd.
Starting off on logging spur along Money Ck Rd.
The hike up to the ridge is steep but never difficult.
The hike up to the ridge is steep but never difficult.
Old growth while heading up.
Old growth while heading up.
A view of Palmer Mtn from ridge top.
A view of Palmer Mtn from ridge top.
Pleasant hiking along ridge.
Pleasant hiking along ridge.
One of several tarns west of Bing Peak.
One of several tarns west of Bing Peak.
View of Crosby Mtn before dropping to Cement Lake.
View of Crosby Mtn before dropping to Cement Lake.
Trying to pick out a feasible route up that.
Trying to pick out a feasible route up that.
Tarn near Cement Lake.
Tarn near Cement Lake.
Tarn near Cement Lake.
Tarn near Cement Lake.
Tarn from our highpoint.
Tarn from our highpoint.
Cement Lake.
Cement Lake.
Wild Sky peaks. Gunn in background.
Wild Sky peaks. Gunn in background.
On the way back.
On the way back.

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Type E
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 8:51 am 
Give me a shout when you are ready for a rematch ,

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Snowdog
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 9:55 am 
me too!  I luv *puzzling* out routes with friends….. smile.gif

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'we don't have time for a shortcut'
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Gimpilator
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Gimpilator
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 10:16 am 
A lot of people won't post failed attempt reports,  but I appreciate them,  especially when they include good route beta.  Thanks!   up.gif

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Bootpathguy
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 11:52 am 
Sounds like a great time!

Been wanting to get into that area

Boner looks like another beautiful granite basin lake.

Would love to see it

Thanks for the report

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Backpacker Joe
NWH Joe-Bob



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Backpacker Joe
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 1:06 pm 
I wonder how where you guys chose to start climbing compares to the location Tom and Dante started climbing?

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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."

— Abraham Lincoln
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Tom
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 1:20 pm 
Same location.  But we were able to drive up the spur ~10+ years ago.

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Backpacker Joe
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Backpacker Joe
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 2:36 pm 
I sure am curious about that old trail up there.  Where did it originate for example?  I cant imagine that area ever got enough traffic to create and maintain a trail.  How much of a trail network exists up there?

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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."

— Abraham Lincoln
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RichP
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 3:41 pm 
Backpacker Joe wrote:
I sure am curious about that old trail up there.  Where did it originate for example?

It may just come up from where we did though we only saw evidence of it just before hitting the ridge top at 4200.' I can't imagine it goes any further east as Point 4500 (Bing) is steep and rocky on that side.., but who knows?

I can tell you that it had some recent flagging so somebody is going up there; maybe to fish the lakes. We also came across a wildlife camera that somebody had obviously taken plenty of time to install in a very secure way, but who would climb up there to hunt? Lots of questions about that place...

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Bootpathguy
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 4:08 pm 
RichP wrote:
. We also came across a wildlife camera that somebody had obviously taken plenty of time to install in a very secure way, but who would climb up there to hunt? Lots of questions about that place...

Interesting. Most I've seen are labeled with ownership.

This one appear to be official. WDFW, a wildlife foundation, other, etc..?

Or private?

Marijuana grow?

Thanks

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RichP
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 4:29 pm 
Bootpathguy wrote:
This one appear to be official. WDFW, a wildlife foundation, other, etc..?

It was enclosed in a camouflaged, padlocked box with tree texture on it and attached to a tree with heavy duty metal. No identification on it. I suspected it was put there by biologists.

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Mike Collins
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PostSun Oct 30, 2016 5:08 pm 
Glad to see someone is getting benefit from my reports. Next year you can make it to the top.

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