Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mt. Larrabee Attempt 7/28/17
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Pribbs
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PostSat Jul 29, 2017 1:12 am 
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The last 2 miles of the road after the YAB trailhead have several spots only passable by higher clearance vehicles. If you have a sedan, you will have to park at the YAB trailhead and hike two miles up the road. On the way up to Twin Lakes, we passed several hikers who were hiking down the road. Twin Lakes is so gorgeous, blue and clear with lots of great well maintained designated campsites.


We set out on the trail at 10am, going right at the Winchester Mountain junction to continue on to High Pass. The trail wrapped around the east side of Winchester and then descended 300 feet, then gradually went back up as it traversed under Winchester. There were some steep snow crossings on this section of the trail that had firm snow with bad run outs, so ice axes are recommended here, poles at the least. The trail then went up several nice switchbacks up to Low Pass, then climbed up the ridge to High Pass.


We continued up the trail until a bit over 6200 feet when we saw a spur trail heading left toward the bowl of snow and scree/talus under Larrabee. From here we looked at the route ahead then traversed up and to the left across snow and talus and then steep and loose scree and dirt up to 6800 feet on the spur ridge at the top of a large group of small trees.


We next ascended more steep and loose scree/dirt up and to the left to about 7000 feet at the base of a big deep and narrow obvious gully. We went straight up the gully, which had a lot of loose rocks that were easy to knock loose. As we got higher in the gully, the rock got much, much worse and loose. Nothing seemed to be secure as we got into much more broken rock. We sometimes spotted cairns to guide us along. But this was certainly the ugliest gully I have ever scrambled in and the worst quality rock scramble by far I have ever done on my extensive list of rock scrambles.


We followed some cairns higher up in the gully, but the rock was getting really broken, sharp, craggy, and loose. The summit was in sight, but there was still so much bad rock ahead of us and we were not moving too fast up the mountain. We knew we still had an even more difficult task of descending the loose gully and understood we started a couple hours later than ideal, so at 2:30 we turned around at about 7400 feet, about halfway up from the base of the gully to the summit, 400 or so feet from the top. The view was still so incredible of glaciated peaks near and far. We could look way down on tiny Winchester Mountain and its lookout.


As expected, going down the steep loose broken gully required careful travel and lots of attention, being easy to lose footing or kick rocks down. We returned to the main trail around 4:30 and so thankful to be off that rock quarry of a mountain.


The hike out was very enjoyable and cool and shady. The only downside was having to ascended about 300 feet. We returned to the trailhead a bit before 6pm and waded in the chilly waters of the east lake for a bit before leaving.


Larrabee is a mountain from far away that looks super prominent and dominates the horizon, making it look like an intriguing destination. But once up close and personal, this peak is certainly not so inviting with such poor quality of broken and loose rock. It is not impossible, it just takes a lot of determination, caution, attention, time, and patience. And I assume the view atop the peak is beyond rewarding. The hike up to and past High Pass, however, is one of the top, most scenic trails in the state. Next time we want to hike up past High Pass to the 6700 foot knoll at the end of the trail, and then tag Winchester on the way out. That would be a solid day of hiking.

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gb
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PostSat Jul 29, 2017 7:55 am 
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We climbed Larrabee in 1975 or so and I would agree that it is among the poorest climbs in the Cascades. You made a good choice to turn around. I don't believe we climbed the gully shown in your images, but I recall Canadian Rocky "quality" rock breaking out in little chunks high on the mountain.
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AlpineRose
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PostSat Jul 29, 2017 12:43 pm 
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Yeah, Larrabee is so chossy, it's remarkable all that choss piles up enough to be a mountain and remain a mountain.
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Gimpilator
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 10:03 am 
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More solid rock can be found on some of the white rock bands and also the ribs between gullies, however it is exceedingly rotten overall.  Thanks for the report.

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Pribbs
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 10:10 am 
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I noticed the rock was a bit better on either side of the gully, though more exposed. My buddy didn't have as much rock scrambling experience as I did so I didn't want to lead him somewhere that would freak him out more than he already was.

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Lutzman
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 12:38 pm 
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With so many mountains in the cascades I still don't understand what would drives people to climb a pile of garbage like larrabee

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"Don't trust anyone who tells you it's all been done. They're either an outright poseur, or you're being sandbagged."
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Pribbs
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 2:10 pm 
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It looks so prominent and dramatic when viewed from afar. Over 7800 feet, too. 2nd highest peak of all the peaks North of Baker and west of the Picketts and main crest of the mountains. So hard to resist a try at it. But once we were in that gully and on the fractured red rocks above, we realized this peak is best enjoyed from a distance.

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ozzy
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 6:41 pm 
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Lutzman wrote:
With so many mountains in the cascades I still don't understand what would drives people to climb a pile of garbage like larrabee

Because its there man! Hell yeah im gonna do this beast and carry on the trend of my last few trips! It is quite a site from Tomyhoi and looks unclimbable, scary, sh##ty, maybe thats why i wanna do it. Plus it will be a good recon of the Pleiades which i wanna hit sometime too.

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Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer. -Arnold
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Gimpilator
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 6:50 pm 
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Despite the loose dinner plate rocks, I enjoyed Larrabee and might climb it again someday.  It's certainly easier than American Border Peak.

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rocknclimb
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 9:34 pm 
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ozzy wrote:
Lutzman wrote:
With so many mountains in the cascades I still don't understand what would drives people to climb a pile of garbage like larrabee

Because its there man! Hell yeah im gonna do this beast and carry on the trend of my last few trips! It is quite a site from Tomyhoi and looks unclimbable, scary, sh##ty, maybe thats why i wanna do it. Plus it will be a good recon of the Pleiades which i wanna hit sometime too.

Ozzy, wanna make a go at it Sunday?

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When asked "Why do you climb"?  Simply respond "Why don't you"?
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Mt. Larrabee Attempt 7/28/17
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