Forum Index > Trip Reports > Barrier, Buell, and Governors Ridge (MRNP, sunrise side) 7/4/17
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awilsondc
Scramblin' Fool



Joined: 03 Apr 2016
Posts: 451 | TRs

awilsondc
Scramblin' Fool
PostThu Jul 06, 2017 5:02 pm 
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Adam and I joined forces on the 4th of July for a little clean up mission on the peaks around Owyhigh Lakes on the sunrise side of Mount Rainier National Park.  We met a few minutes after 6 am at an empty Owyhigh Lakes trailhead and hit the trail soon after.  The trail to the lakes is an easy 3.5 miles of well graded trail.  About an hour in I realized I had dropped my sun glasses which had fallen off my chest strap (stupid place to put them) when I changed layers.  I figured it was only about 10 minutes back that I dropped them so Adam volunteered to wait while I went back to look for them.  I found them... eventually.  It was a weee bit more than 10 minutes back where I dropped them, it was almost back to the trailhead.  This little detour cost me 3-4 miles ~1200 ft elevation gain and about an hour and ten minutes.  Sorry for the long wait Adam!  Soon after we were at the Owhyhigh Lakes and stopped to fill up water.

Water break at Owyhigh Lakes
Water break at Owyhigh Lakes

I got to try my BeFree water filter in the field for the first time, I love how FAST this thing is!  Adam showed me how to eat glacier lilies which are pretty good and I mowed down on a good number of them.  It was nice to get some greens in my diet while out on the trail.  From there we started up Barrier's west ridge, encountering on and off snow the rest of the way up.  The route is pretty straight forward and as we got higher views of Double Peak, the Tatoosh Range, and of course Rainier came into view.

Double Peak
Double Peak
Governors Ridge
Governors Ridge
Flowers
Flowers
Stevens, Boundary, Unicorn w/ St Helens
Stevens, Boundary, Unicorn w/ St Helens
Rainier
Rainier

Soon we were on the summit!  We had some food, took in the views, and looked down at our next objective which was Buell Peak.  It didn't look very impressive from this vantage point, but soon we were on our way enjoying some standing glissading in spurts where it made sense.

Governors Ridge from Barrier's summit
Governors Ridge from Barrier's summit
Looking back at Barrier's south east ridge
Looking back at Barrier's south east ridge
Nearing Buell's summit
Nearing Buell's summit

Buell didn't look like much from a distance, but at least it had some decent views of the Cowlitz Chimneys and Rainier.  Kind of a boring summit but I've been on way worse.  We didn't linger too long and were soon off to our third peak of the day, Governors Ridge!

Cowlitz Chimneys, lil' T, and Rainier
Cowlitz Chimneys, lil' T, and Rainier
Tatoosh Range
Tatoosh Range
Onward to Governor's Ridge
Onward to Governor's Ridge

We strategized doing Governor's third, anticipating hard early morning snow on the SE slopes of Barrier / Governors and we hoped it would soften up as the day went on.  The plan worked out to perfection.  The snow was soft and easy to cross.  We scoped out a route up a snow finger which would lead to the summit block and made our way over.

Traversing towards Governors
Traversing towards Governors
Governors Needle
Governors Needle
Approaching Governors
Approaching Governors

The snow finger was a bit hard, but easy to manage.  Once off the snow we encountered some unpleasant choss which was probably the crux of the whole trip but no real exposure.  Still wouldn't want to fall though.  We debated, is this really scrambling?  If you define scrambling as class 3 and 4 terrain then no.  There was no real need to use hands so I certainly wouldn't call it class 3, but footing was sketchy and it was way more difficult and treacherous than regular hiking or even normal off trail class 2.  It's debatable, but I'd say it would quality as scrambling, but just barely.

Scrambling up Governors Ridge
Scrambling up Governors Ridge

Views of the Governor Needle and other gendarmes were pretty good.

Barrier and Gendarmes
Barrier and Gendarmes
Rainier from Governors
Rainier from Governors

The final 20 foot summit block we took a climbers left up a short class 4 move, but there was an easier way up climbers right that was barely class 3.  Views were great from the top.  We lingered here the longest, had lunch and took in the views.

Governors ridge summit panorama

On the way back to the saddle I took a high route and Adam went under and up to the Barrier / Governor's saddle.  From there it was an awesome sustained standing glissade down to the basin.

Descending to the saddle
Descending to the saddle
Adam gaining the Gov - Barrier saddle
Adam gaining the Gov - Barrier saddle
Adam standing glissading
Adam standing glissading
Descending towards Tamanos
Descending towards Tamanos
Adam and "Walmart (prov)"
Adam and "Walmart (prov)"

Here Adam and I parted ways.  Tamanos was the fourth peak on our list, but I already did it last year and after my 3-4 mile excursion to find my sunglasses I figured I'd skip it and get home for 4th of July festivities with my family.  Adam went off to do Tamanos and I headed back with a brief detour by the Owyhigh Lakes.

Governors Ridge and Owyhigh Lakes
Governors Ridge and Owyhigh Lakes
Governors Ridge
Governors Ridge
Owyhigh Lakes pano
Owyhigh Lakes pano
Flower
Flower

Total stats for me ~17.5 miles ~5500 gain ~9 hours (this includes my sunglasses detour).  We didn't see another person all day, and still just our two cars when I got back to the trail head.  Another great day in the mountains!

Barrier, Buell, Governors Ridge route
Barrier, Buell, Governors Ridge route
Parting shot of Governors Ridge and Barrier
Parting shot of Governors Ridge and Barrier
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Gimpilator
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1132 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
Member
PostThu Jul 06, 2017 5:31 pm 
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Great trip Aaron!  Glad you were able to find your sunglasses.  I didn't mind waiting because the grey jays kept me company.


Cowlitz Chimneys
Cowlitz Chimneys
Tamanos
Tamanos
sketchy loose class 2 on Governers Ridge
sketchy loose class 2 on Governers Ridge
Aaron above the short class 4 step
Aaron above the short class 4 step
Governors summit
Governors summit

Tamanos was pleasant and I was surprised by numerous false summits.  I disturbed 3 goats near the summit.  The following day I hiked/biked up Pucell Mountain, Huffaker Mountain, and Storm King Mountain.  Supposedly all routes on Storm King involve bushwhacking, but I found one that didn't and was able to take the bike to the top.  There were nice flowers up there.  Here are some photos.


goats near Tamanos summit
goats near Tamanos summit
on Tamanos false summit #1 looking at false summit #2
on Tamanos false summit #1 looking at false summit #2
the Tamanos true summit is the furthest out
the Tamanos true summit is the furthest out
Governers from Tamanos
Governers from Tamanos
Cowlitz Chimneys and Banshee
Cowlitz Chimneys and Banshee
Rainier from Purcell
Rainier from Purcell
Adams from Purcell
Adams from Purcell
solo
solo
High Rock lookout visible from Purcell
High Rock lookout visible from Purcell
Mount Wow
Mount Wow
Adams
Adams
the summit of Huffaker
the summit of Huffaker
flowers on Storm King
flowers on Storm King
nice way to end the day
nice way to end the day
stoked
stoked

I had another half day before returning home so I visited Mount Elbert and The Rockies.  Elbert gets the blue ribbon for worst bushwhack of the year (so far) and The Rockies, which used to have a lookout on top, is probably the most overgrown trail I have ever tried to follow.  I saw a lot of fresh bear scat up there.  Here are some photos.

Elbert
Elbert
Rainier from The Rockies
Rainier from The Rockies
Storm King from The Rockies
Storm King from The Rockies
lookout site
lookout site
Saint Helens from The Rockies
Saint Helens from The Rockies
glass and lookout debris
glass and lookout debris
fresh bear scat
fresh bear scat
Storm King summit
Storm King summit
Rainier from Storm King
Rainier from Storm King
The Rockies from Storm King
The Rockies from Storm King

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Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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hikerman
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Joined: 24 May 2011
Posts: 312 | TRs
Location: Over There
hikerman
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PostWed Jul 12, 2017 9:45 pm 
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Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 5062 | TRs
Location: Headed west soon
Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger
PostThu Jul 13, 2017 7:47 pm 
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Great looking trip guys!!!! Wish I could have joined you.

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www.youtube.com/bkraai | www.flickr.com/photos/bkraai/sets/
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Barrier, Buell, and Governors Ridge (MRNP, sunrise side) 7/4/17
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