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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 4199 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
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Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostTue Mar 19, 2019 11:07 pm 
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Date: 3/3/2019
Destination: Point 6708 on Teebone Ridge via Monogram Lake Trail (USGS Big Devil)
Party: Matt, Carla, Steph, Stefan, Kirsten

With clear weather and low avalanche danger, we used the Monogram Lake trail to snowshoe up to Point 6708 on the southern end of Teebone Ridge.  This spot isn't the summit of anything, but it's a great viewpoint for the area.

GPS Track
GPS Track
Panoramic view from Point 6708
Panoramic view from Point 6708

The Cascade River Road was plowed for 4.5 miles from Marblemount, and then drivable ruts in the snow.  We parked at the National Forest boundary sign, 0.5 miles before the trailhead, but another SUV had driven to the trailhead, though the road became somewhat icy near the Lookout Creek bridge.

The lower trail had been packed down by previous travelers.  Around 3600 feet we needed snowshoes.  Around 3800 feet we left the trail and followed skin tracks near the east fork of Lookout Creek up to the big basin at 5000 feet. 

Normally I avoid that basin in winter because of avalanche danger and stay in the woods to access the ridge above Monogram Lake.  This time the avalanche danger was lower than usual, and we worked our way up the east side of the basin to bypass the steep parts of the ridge.  Right in the center of the basin, there was a sizeable slab avalanche from the storm a couple weeks ago, running right down across the trail where it seems to slide after pretty much every storm.

Hiking across the basin, past debris from earlier avalanches
Hiking across the basin, past debris from earlier avalanches
Hiking past a single piece of cornice that fell at an earlier time
Hiking past a single piece of cornice that fell at an earlier time
Lookout Mtn in the background (and the avalanche debris field in the center below)
Lookout Mtn in the background (and the avalanche debris field in the center below)
Snowshoer on the crest
Snowshoer on the crest
On the crest at 6100 feet, with Point 6708 above
On the crest at 6100 feet, with Point 6708 above
taking a break to enjoy the view
taking a break to enjoy the view
The view from high above Monogram Lake
The view from high above Monogram Lake

The ridge crest had some sections of hard crusty snow with a few icy sections underneath.  Some people snowshoed to the top, while others booted up for better traction.  It was a bit cold and windy on top, so after some peak-pointing and photos, we headed back down to the lower spot for a lunch break.

Our tracks up Point 6708
Our tracks up Point 6708
Me near the top
Me near the top
Heading down for a lunch break
Heading down for a lunch break
A hot tea salute to Monogram Lake
A hot tea salute to Monogram Lake
Ski tracks on the far side of Monogram Lake
Ski tracks on the far side of Monogram Lake

Some views from Point 6708:

Looking North: Big Devil & Trapezoid (which form the cross piece of Teebone) and Baksit (which forms the lower leg together with Little Devil)
Looking North: Big Devil & Trapezoid (which form the cross piece of Teebone) and Baksit (which forms the lower leg together with Little Devil)
The ridge continuing to Little Devil and Baksit (with big cornices on the left side)
The ridge continuing to Little Devil and Baksit (with big cornices on the left side)
Looking East: across Marble Cirque and down the Ptarmigan Traverse
Looking East: across Marble Cirque and down the Ptarmigan Traverse
Eldorado & Triad
Eldorado & Triad
Looking South: peaks on the opposite side of the Cascade River
Looking South: peaks on the opposite side of the Cascade River

Since the snow was very stable, we were able to exit pretty much straight down the basin, for an easy descent.

Our tracks back down
Our tracks back down
Hiking past the old avalanche debris, with Lookout Mtn above
Hiking past the old avalanche debris, with Lookout Mtn above

Stats:  10.5 miles, 5620 gain, 9:15 hours

Some Cautionary Notes

This area is one of my favorite winter destinations for its beautiful high views, but it also has several features that deserve caution.

Avalanche Hazard:  The basin at 5000 feet frequently avalanches, often right down to bare ground in spring, right across where the summer trail traverses through.  Once can mitigate the hazard by leaving the trail earlier and staying in the forest.

Steep Ridge:  Usually I've ascended to Point 6708 by staying on the ridge crest, which helps avoid avalanche hazards in the basin.  However, the ridge is often windblown to a hard crust, with some steep or icy spots, so often requires crampons and an ice axe.

Summit Cornices:  From Point 6708 eastward, Teebone Ridge forms giant cornices on the north side.  It also has a zigzag crest, so there can be cornices even in between what appear to be solid rock outcrops.  A companion traveling 20 feet back from the edge once postholed through the snow, and discovered there was a gaping split hidden below him where the back edge of the cornice was detaching.  For traveling to Little Devil, it's better to wait for stable snow and travel on the bench starting around 6100 feet, rather than on the ridge crest.

My Third-Most-Frequented Trailhead

Thinking back, I realized that the Lookout Mountain / Monogram Lake trailhead stands in third place for the trailhead I've visited most often.  I don't repeat trips very often, so most trailheads have only a few visits from me.  This one has 8 visits, splitting off to multiple destinations in various seasons of the year.

3/26/94 to 5800 feet on the ridge above Monogram Lake, Mountaineers Winter Scramble
11/19/95 Lookout Mountain, Mountaineers Winter Scramble
7/04/02 Exit point for Backbone Ridge Traverse, starting from the Hidden Lake Peak trailhead
3/28/04 Teebone Point 6708, Mountaineers Winter Scramble
4/29/06 Little Devil
7/23/10 Starting point for Devils Traverse, ending in Newhalem
1/2/16 Teebone Ridge overnight camp with Carla, chased away by high winds
1/28/17 Lookout Mtn, diverted from Oakes after getting car stuck
3/03/19 Teebone 6708, today's trip

Map of trips from the Monogram/Lookout trailhead
Map of trips from the Monogram/Lookout trailhead
7/04/02 exiting the Backbone Ridge Traverse, after traversing over or behind pretty much all the peaks in the background.
7/04/02 exiting the Backbone Ridge Traverse, after traversing over or behind pretty much all the peaks in the background.
3/28/04 on Teebone Point 6708.  Same coat 15 years ago! Paired with shorts over polypropylene.
3/28/04 on Teebone Point 6708.  Same coat 15 years ago! Paired with shorts over polypropylene.
4/29/06, a snowy camp on the way to Little Devil
4/29/06, a snowy camp on the way to Little Devil
7/23/10, covered with flowers en route to the Devils Traverse
7/23/10, covered with flowers en route to the Devils Traverse
1/2/16, camping at 5400 feet on the ridge with Carla
1/2/16, camping at 5400 feet on the ridge with Carla

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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iron
getting old



Joined: 10 Aug 2008
Posts: 6420 | TRs
Location: kenmore
iron
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getting old
PostWed Mar 20, 2019 10:02 am 
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quintessential matt TR. thanks. great pics, captions, and history sprinkled in there. you've lived a good life in these here mountains.

you did forget perspire peak, however.

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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Nancyann
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Joined: 28 Jul 2013
Posts: 1611 | TRs
Location: Sultan Basin
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PostWed Mar 20, 2019 6:19 pm 
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Wow, you’re really on a roll, Matt! Two trip reports in two days! breakdance.gif
Beautiful photos and thanks for the labels, much appreciated!
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raising3hikers
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Joined: 21 Sep 2007
Posts: 2019 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, Wa
raising3hikers
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PostWed Mar 20, 2019 6:50 pm 
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yeah, always love the matt TR's

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Eric Eames
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6556 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
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Mid Fork Rocks
PostWed Mar 20, 2019 7:44 pm 
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Love the retrospective photos. Thanks for the report on what looks like a great outing.

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Mid Fork Rocksflickr
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RichP
here and there



Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 4688 | TRs
Location: Moscow, Id.
RichP
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here and there
PostWed Mar 20, 2019 8:30 pm 
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Those panos are great, Matt.
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