Forum Index > Trip Reports > Gunn Peak, Gunnshy, Tailgunner, Wing, Plane Wreck, GPS track. A plethora of Pics 7/21/17
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SultanHiker
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PostThu Jul 27, 2017 3:00 am 
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Trip Report Gunn Peak, Wing, Gunnshy, Tailgunner

Warning!!! Excessive amounts of details and pictures ahead. But hopefully, also some good content… If you don’t want to read a novel, then turn away now…

July 21 2017 (pretty good winter snow year)

Big plans included Gunn, Gunnshy, Tailgunner, Wing, and possibly Merchant on the way out. Hopefully a stunning timelapse of the stars. And no injuries…

Friday
The trip started off on the wrong foot. My hiking partner, Andy, was not answering phone calls or texts the night before. And the next morning was more of the same. He had just moved, so I didn’t even know where to go looking exactly. Hospitals? Jail? In the end, I dove over to his place 20 minutes in the opposite the direction from which my peak-lust was calling.  I happened to use my finely honed route-finding skills to locate his vehicle in Monroe and call through the windows to see if he was alive. No time to delve in to the details of his delinquency. He was still breathing, and that was good enough for me. So we headed out US-2 with a quick stop a McDonalds for the Andy’s quintessential hiking breakfast: sausage muffin and coffee. I already had bacon, eggs, espresso, and energy drink. I was ready. And we were late.

We found a spot to park on the shoulder right at the spur road just short of the Barclay Lake Trailhead. Short walk, and the trail is obvious on the right. Then comes the river crossing at the log jam. PAY ATTENTION! Don’t follow the logs straight across. While crossing, keep looking to your left for ribbons. You are supposed to hook left while crossing and follow the creek downstream about 40 yards to stay on the best path. There’s a minor stream crossing right after that. We didn’t look on the way in and ended up doing a little bushwacking, but used my phone GPS with someone’s previous track to eventually get back on the bootpath. It’s not steep yet and you do end up on an old road for a very brief section, but on the way down, we didn’t even notice. We just looked for the obvious trail and if we went the wrong way, we knew it within 20 feet and backtracked. If you look at my GPS, the West leg was much better.

That’s the easy part…

Our destination.
Our destination.
We have no idea what's coming...
We have no idea what's coming...

The trail then gets very steep and often times loose and crappy footing. It’s mostly easy to follow in the forest. It runs into a band of cliffs that forces the trail east. Summitpost.org references a waterfall here. but we didn’t encounter it. Looked like a water passage, but it must have been running under the rocks.

Grouse of some sort i think.
Grouse of some sort i think.
Sketchy part. I think we were supposed to go below this. Way back we didn't do this.
Sketchy part. I think we were supposed to go below this. Way back we didn't do this.

At one point we ended up at a decision. Go up what looked like a steep dried up stream bed, or head sort of straight on what almost looked like a path. We chose the latter, which was wrong. We ended up in a field of bracken fern and the alleged trail soon disappeared.  We turned back.  We had missed the flag that was way up the “dried up stream bed”.  [On the way down, we relocated the aforementioned flag to make it easier for future climbers to see. Also created a tiny cairn with a stick pointing the right direction]

Water! Finally we came to small waterfall (~4760). We were both extremely thirsty. Andy had used up all his water and I was rationing mine, not knowing when we’d see water.  With 40+ pound packs and a relatively warm day (also late start), we would suggest 3 liters to get to this point for sure.  There could be water at the cliffy section (~3950) some times. But don’t count on it.

Anthill with waterfall beyond
Anthill with waterfall beyond

The rest of the way to the ridge was uneventful. Crossing some snow, looking for obvious paths, cairns, etc. The ribbons are sparse here, but they aren’t needed much.

Andy gaining the ridge.
Andy gaining the ridge.

After gaining the ridge we saw a couple of backpacks left on the ground and spotted two hikers heading up towards “Tailgunner” which is just west up the ridge. We started looking for the “Infinity Tarn” and a place to set up camp. The tarn was Andy’s main motivation for doing this hike (I’m just here for the peaks…) We had left our packs and found the tarn. We saw the hikers on Tailgunner summit. We went back and grabbed our packs and met Torben and Greg on our way up to the Tarn.  They were aiming for Merchant the next morning and Gunn the same afternoon. We told them we’d swing by on our way to “Wing” that evening.

Photosphere Click link and click picture to get 360


We set up camp, hopped into the Infinity Tarn for photo-op, and got out as fast as we could. COLD! We dried off and strolled by Torben and Greg’s camp on our way up to Wing. Steep but easy climbing on good footing. But gaining the top on the North side was a little dicey in places. We made the summit and looked at Merchant. From our vantage point, it looked like it was impossible without serious gear to attack from this side, but I read somewhere that it is doable. I spotted the plane wreckage in the talus slope south of the summit. I made my way down (east and turning south and then southwest) to take pictures (album here). - - We were informed by Torben and Greg later on that the debris extends quite a bit down the talus.--  It was getting late and we were eager to get back to camp where Tequila and dinner were anxious to be consumed. We told our neighbors on the way down that Merchant looked ultra-challenging (and good luck… since they planned to attack it and Gunn the next day.) Dinner, tequila and bedtime. The weather was clouding up, so I didn’t bother with setting up the camera for star pictures.

View (left to right) of Point 5760, Gunnshy, and Gunn Peak.
View (left to right) of Point 5760, Gunnshy, and Gunn Peak.
Stainless steel from 1965 looks brand new!
Stainless steel from 1965 looks brand new!
Pano from Wing
Pano from Wing

Photosphere here (click pic and click again for 360)

Saturday
We got up and had breakfast. Clouds had rolled in and visibility was terrible. Torben and Greg were already gone. We aimed for Gunn with plans for Gunnshy and Tailgunner. We dropped down around point 5760 (losing about 300ft) and traversed up north and NW to the talus slope below Gunn. The “hidden ramp” was the most technical part we faced the entire trip.

Good Morning!
Good Morning!
My bivy at the Infinity Tarn
My bivy at the Infinity Tarn
"Hidden Ramp"
"Hidden Ramp"

Traverse some talus/snow and head up to the notch.

On the way to the notch
On the way to the notch
Notch
Notch

Heavy snow last winter, so I was concerned about the ledge on the north side but it was completely clear. The short jaunt to the top is easy.

Ledge shot
Ledge shot
Ledge shot
Ledge shot

There was a laminated poem at the top from March 2016, but no register. I knew this, so I had brought a register just in case. So now there is one! It was still cloudy, so visibility was only about 80 yards. We stayed a short bit and descended, hell bent to grab Gunnshy.  I can see why people bring rope to belay the hidden ramp. We didn’t bring any because we preferred camera gear and adult beverages… Andy built a cairn at the bottom of the ramp where it meets the talus slope. But if you are on your way up from below, keep aiming for a tree band that ascends up and to the right from the talus below the Gunn summit.

Poem
Poem
Back of poem
Back of poem
Me on Gunn summit
Me on Gunn summit
Note to Torben and Greg
Note to Torben and Greg

Photosphere of ledge here (click link, and click on pic for 360)

I'm fast downclimbing and through talus, so I scurried ahead to scout a possible route through the ridge to the WNW of the talus below Gunn. I gained the ridge and dropped pack to frantically search. I ended up short every time. So I found Andy and we ended up resigned to a massive descent before a massive ascent up to Gunnshy.

Gunn starting to clear
Gunn starting to clear

On our way SSW down a scree slope, before heading west to skirt around the obstacle in our way, we spotted goat tracks and then what appeared to be a couple cougar tracks, both headed uphill. Fifty yard later I exclaimed, “Good Lord, what is that stench!” Five second later I spotted it. A young mountain goat carcass with flies buzzing madly around it. We quickly looked around and saw no large tan cats, so we pondered how long it had been there, as it was pretty well decimated.

Cougar track
Cougar track
Goat track
Goat track

We continued down to Gunn Lake (4800). It was still mostly floating snow and a beautiful sight. We scouted a route up to Gunnshy, which is roughly 20ft short of Gunn Peak. We chose a route differing from a track that I found online. It worked out just fine. Plenty of water from the snowmelt. Gunnshy is quite deceiving from this angle. Some of the jagged outcroppings looked taller and farther away. But when we finally got there we found those deceivers were just closer and shadowy. The true summit is a relatively easy scramble.

Gunn Lake
Gunn Lake
Looking back at Gunn, Merchant, Point 5760, and Tailgunner
Looking back at Gunn, Merchant, Point 5760, and Tailgunner

No summit register. But the clouds had been lifting throughout the day, so we finally got the views!  We looked towards Gunn and thought we saw people… It would likely be too early for Torben and Greg to be up there if they had made it to Merchant first.  I whipped out my telephoto lens on my camera and snapped a pic. Then I zoomed in and confirmed that it was two people.  We then had to worry about our tequila… They’d easily make it back before us. But first we took lots of pics and took in the views, identifying all the peaks we could, before whipping out the phone apps that helped confirm or correct our guesses. We used Andy’s signal mirror, with the hopes that they’d be looking our way at the moment.  Turns out later that they had seen it. Jumpoff Ridge has a fitting name looking down and to the north…

Photosphere on Gunnshy

Columbia, Monte Cristo, Kyes
Columbia, Monte Cristo, Kyes
Guns on Gunnshy with Gunn in the background...
Guns on Gunnshy with Gunn in the background...
Stickney and Pilchuck.
Stickney and Pilchuck.
Stickney zoomed in. I'm in love with Stickney and have hiked it 4 years in a row...
Stickney zoomed in. I'm in love with Stickney and have hiked it 4 years in a row...
Merchant close. Stuart way back in the left. Daniel and Hinman to the right.
Merchant close. Stuart way back in the left. Daniel and Hinman to the right.
Baring in front of Chimney Rock and Overcoat.
Baring in front of Chimney Rock and Overcoat.
Hinman close up shot.
Hinman close up shot.
Daniel.
Daniel.
Gunn in the shadows.
Gunn in the shadows.

We took a different down by heading SE across snow fields and talus until we were close to the N/S ridge between Gunnshy and Gunn. I saw a possible route through that might prevent us from descending to the lake. I dropped pack and scouted it out only to find the other side was ultra-dangerous with loose rock chunks and a very vertical descent that would require rope, harness, helmets, etc.  Oh well… Back down to the lake…

Looking back at Gunnshy.
Looking back at Gunnshy.
Next stop: Tailgunner
Next stop: Tailgunner
Gunn looking spectacluar.
Gunn looking spectacluar.
Panorama just before Tailgunner summit. Looking back at Gunnshy, Gunn and Point 5760.
Panorama just before Tailgunner summit. Looking back at Gunnshy, Gunn and Point 5760.

We ascended the snow fields from the lake up towards Tailgunner.  Heading south, we picked our way as best we could. Finally 1000 feet above the lake we gained the summit. I heard there was possible cell coverage here. I wanted to catch the USMNT Gold Cup Semifinal game (football, aka soccer…) and photograph the sunset if it worked out. But T-Mobile connected for a second and disappeared. (US won that night, and went on to win the Cup vs. Jamaica a few days later with local boy, and Seattle Sounder, Jordan Morris scoring the winning goal). The register was damp and only had a half a page left. I tried to dry it off, but it was still damp when I signed it.  Someone should bring up another register. What is the protocol here? Bring the old one out and give it to the Mountaineers?  That’s up to someone else…

Wet Tailgunner register on its last page.
Wet Tailgunner register on its last page.

From Tailgunner, we saw Greg and Torben at their camp. We hustled down to our camp so we could get a head start on the tequila before they showed up…
We got down to camp and got down to business. We saved them a few shots and started on dinner (tuna and flavored rice burritos). We also heard massive rumbling and looked over at Baring in time to see a snow avalanche on its NE corner. Minutes later there was another one. Our neighbors showed up while dinner was half done. They were munificent (yes, I used a thesaurus) and only took a couple swallows of what was left of our tequila.  They hung out with us for about 45 minutes and we all had great time recounting the day’s events. They were quite impressed with the amount of gear we hauled up….

Hinman in the clouds with Bears Breast to the right.
Hinman in the clouds with Bears Breast to the right.
Excessive gear part 1
Excessive gear part 1
Excessive gear part 2
Excessive gear part 2
Daniel
Daniel

Torben and Greg had explored the entire plane wreckage by traveling from the bottom of the south talus below Wing and ended up summiting Wing as well. They decided against going to Merchant, which is how they got on top of Gunn so quickly and retrieved the coupon for the tequila. They had a good laugh on top of Gunn, courtesy of the note I had left for them. They had rope, and chose to belay down the “hidden ramp”. Upon reflection, that might have been a better choice. But Friday morning, for me the choice was: “rope… or tequila…”  Forty-three pounds (including starting water) is a lot to carry up there. Maybe I should have left the camera and related gear.  But then you wouldn’t have all these awesome pictures!

Daylight was fading and our neighbors departed for camp.  Andy and I cleaned up our dinner mess. The stars were showing up, but Andy was aiming for bed. It was just about 10pm, when a bat showed up and flew over the tarn for a few minutes picking up some sustenance. We both scoffed, and wondered why it wasn’t here earlier to relieve us of the bugs during dinner. At this point most of the annoying bugs were gone.

As I set up my camera on the tripod, I could hear the snoring starting up.  He was only in his tent for 15 minutes! I’ll update this trip report when I get the star footage compiled into a video…

Sunday
We woke up at a decent hour and made breakfast (teriyaki noodles in instant mashed potatoes. Sounds weird, but it was delicious.)  The clouds had rolled in and visibility was poor. Baring was still ever present. We packed up and headed out. On our way out, we peeked over at our neighbor’s site, but they had left already.

Sunrise (I have to work on my technique for these)
Sunrise (I have to work on my technique for these)
Me waiting for hot water for coffee.
Me waiting for hot water for coffee.
Andy sleeping.
Andy sleeping.

On our way down we met a couple guys heading up to Gunn for a day hike, but no other people after that.  The way down was mostly uneventful, but grueling. It seemed more slippery on the way down. Lots of dry powdery dirt that made me fall on my butt a few times. I would hate to do this when the trail was wet… Andy had convinced me to wear light weight low hikers. He had true trail runners on, and my feet were adorned with more of a hybrid. I have bad ankles, so I was on high alert the whole trip. We followed a better trail out down at the bottom where it flattened out. But that’s when my ankles failed me. On flat terrain (but worn out from the previous two days) I finally sprained my ankle. I just stepped wrong and fell over hard while screaming out. We were two tenths of a mile from Andy’s Jeep. It was comical. All that ridiculous terrain the last two days! And now that it was easy, I let my guard down. I’ve rolled my ankles at least a couple hundred times in my life (no exaggeration), so I knew it wasn’t too serious. I took a 15 minute break to massage and check for range of motion. Then I was careful after that!

We sat in Sunday traffic for a while and headed to JD Slicks in Sultan for our ritual after-hike-calorie-load. But they were closed! So we went across the street to Bubba’s. Andy grabbed us a table on the patio while I hit the bathroom. On my way through, someone in a booth said “Hey!”. I looked over and it was Greg and Torben! I invited them to come out to the patio after they finished.  Andy and I ordered some burgers off the menu. They were big enough to feed at least 2 adults! Our new friends came out a short while later and chatted with us before taking off for home.

Burger at Bubba's Roadhouse
Burger at Bubba's Roadhouse

I know you want this trip report to go on forever… But that’s pretty much the end.

Animals:
Mom and child Mountain goat
Garter Snake
Grouse?
Shrew
Anthill
Bat

7000+ ft of gain over two days. The 3rd day was all drop.

Are we going back again?
Not anytime soon! It was fun, but exhausting. Maybe 5 or 10 years down the road…

GPS Track:
KML
GPX
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Backpacker Joe
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PostThu Jul 27, 2017 7:04 am 
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Wow, really strong work there guys.  Nice pics too. up.gif

Any history on that plane crash?

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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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neek
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PostThu Jul 27, 2017 7:32 am 
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Perfect timing, I'm headed up there this weekend.  Thanks for the detail.
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SultanHiker
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PostThu Jul 27, 2017 8:02 am 
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Backpacker Joe wrote:
Any history on that plane crash?

Forgot to put that in there. I'll edit later.
Seattle city councilman Wing Luke in 1965 returning from an Okanagan fishing trip.
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Bootpathguy
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PostThu Jul 27, 2017 8:49 am 
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SultanHiker wrote:
Guns on Gunnshy with Gunn in the background...
Guns on Gunnshy with Gunn in the background...

Cool report. Great images.

Not sure I'd wear that T shirt ever again. Bad Ju-ju. Remove 1 letter and... "We's Toast"

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Experience is what'cha get, when you get what'cha don't want
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Distel32
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PostThu Jul 27, 2017 1:32 pm 
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up.gif
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John Morrow
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PostThu Jul 27, 2017 2:06 pm 
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Excessive gear part 2
Excessive gear part 2

What is this?

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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cascadetraverser
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PostThu Jul 27, 2017 2:16 pm 
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Very impressive!!! Some great shots of those lonely lakes...
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SultanHiker
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PostThu Jul 27, 2017 2:24 pm 
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John Morrow wrote:
Excessive gear part 2
Excessive gear part 2

What is this?

It's a solar charger with a battery pack. Then the pack charges phones (GPS tracking eats phone batteries). Also charges my camera battery packs after running all night doing time lapse of the stars. And there's a pair of headphones that never got used...
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PostThu Jul 27, 2017 8:53 pm 
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Good stuff!  Another area I've been meaning to visit.  Great report, and good beta.  Thanks!  Oh yeah, photos are awesome too.   up.gif  up.gif  cool.gif
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mbravenboer
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PostThu Jul 27, 2017 9:49 pm 
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Love the infinity tarn and the goat finding!
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PostSat Jul 29, 2017 9:12 am 
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Sweet!

Nice to see you back in action as well. That tarn is dreamy.

Have you ever done Gunn shy from the north? Wondering how bad it is without snow. Never could find a report.
With snow, one of my favorite ski tours in the valley if you hit it right.
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Brushbuffalo
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PostSat Jul 29, 2017 10:10 am 
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This was a very enjoyable TR. Thanks for the entertainment.
SultanHiker wrote:
On flat terrain (but worn out from the previous two days) I finally sprained my ankle

Know what you mean. I've done that exact same thing.  hockeygrin.gif

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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Justus S.
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PostSun Jul 30, 2017 10:45 pm 
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Great report!

For folks doing Gunnshy it would be cool to take a photo from this location. old photo
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puzzlr
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PostMon Jul 31, 2017 9:24 am 
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Fantastic report, great photos. For anyone who's been in that area it's fun to read about it and see it again. I especially liked the photospheres. I have not perfected how to get good ones yet, or perhaps don't have the right equipment. Do you use a very wide angle lens to reduce the number of shots you need to take? Do you do it hand held or use a pano head?

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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Gunn Peak, Gunnshy, Tailgunner, Wing, Plane Wreck, GPS track. A plethora of Pics 7/21/17
  Happy Birthday Nancyann!
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