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Jake Robinson
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Jake Robinson
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PostMon May 13, 2019 1:10 am 
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Returned to Depot Creek this weekend to climb Mount Spickard. What a beautiful trip! The Depot Creek Trail was in pretty rough shape, lots of new blowdowns in the first few miles after the border. Travel was tedious and slow through here. Patchy snow began above the rope section of the falls, but we were able to wear trail-runners all the way to the 5000' flat area above the falls.

Border swath
Border swath
Trail register
Trail register
Typical of the first section of trail
Typical of the first section of trail
Are we having fun yet?
Are we having fun yet?
Depot Creek Falls
Depot Creek Falls
The upper falls
The upper falls

We were able to snowshoe directly up the creek to Lake Ouzel. We found a dry campsite above the lake with running water nearby, and spent the evening watching huge avalanches dropping off NW Mox and Solitude Peak. Very humbling. S and W facing aspects seemed to be pretty well-consolidated, but N and E facing aspects were shedding lots of debris in the afternoon. Overall, the snowpack still seems pretty rotten up high, and probably needs a few more weeks to consolidate.

Mount Redoubt
Mount Redoubt
Avalanche debris on the way to Lake Ouzel
Avalanche debris on the way to Lake Ouzel
Snowshoeing to camp
Snowshoeing to camp
Lake Ouzel from camp
Lake Ouzel from camp
Home for the night
Home for the night
NW Mox. Route is not quite in yet...
NW Mox. Route is not quite in yet...
Spickard
Spickard
Redoubt
Redoubt
Avalanche
Avalanche
Ski tracks coming down from Silver Pass
Ski tracks coming down from Silver Pass
Not a bad place to spend the night
Not a bad place to spend the night
Sunset
Sunset
Spickard alpenglow
Spickard alpenglow
Mox alpenglow
Mox alpenglow

Concerns about snow stability had us leaving camp the next morning at 1 AM. We followed the standard route up Spickard and had no difficulties other than some rotten snow in places. Climbing all the way to the summit by headlamp was a surreal experience. We were back to camp by 7 AM, satisfied with another beautiful trip into the North Cascades.
4:35 AM, summit of Mount Spickard
4:35 AM, summit of Mount Spickard
Silver Lake environs
Silver Lake environs
Selena Spickard Summitshot
Selena Spickard Summitshot
Descending off the summit
Descending off the summit
Descending, still pre-sunrise, with the Moxes beyond
Descending, still pre-sunrise, with the Moxes beyond
Jack
Jack
Pickets
Pickets
Sunrise
Sunrise
Solitude
Solitude
Luna Peak
Luna Peak
Logan and Buckner
Logan and Buckner
Golden Lemolo
Golden Lemolo
Postholing back to camp
Postholing back to camp
Some  steep downclimbing
Some  steep downclimbing
Large crown on Mount Redoubt
Large crown on Mount Redoubt
Slesse
Slesse
The Moxes
The Moxes
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Jeff
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Location: Someone get me out of Everett, WA
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PostMon May 13, 2019 5:24 am 
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Both times I have been up there it's been in July and the rock with the handline was gushing! Interesting to see it dry.

Were there lots of sketchy people camping on Chilliwack river road? We had a car broken into and another was burned to the ground! Police said lots of druggies are camping around there now.
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Bluebird
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suffering optional
PostMon May 13, 2019 7:52 am 
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I think Jake's got the photos pretty well handled... but here he is on his 98th bulger and one of the summit with our ice axes in the predawn light.

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Fletcher
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PostMon May 13, 2019 8:02 am 
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up.gif  up.gif
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rbuzby
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PostMon May 13, 2019 11:55 am 
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That flying Butress on Redoubt is awesome.

Nice pics.
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iron
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PostMon May 13, 2019 3:10 pm 
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great pre-sun shots! must've been awesome!

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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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Midnight Slogger
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PostMon May 13, 2019 4:36 pm 
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Well done, Jake! Love the shots. You're inspiring me to get back there sooner than I thought...
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raising3hikers
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PostMon May 13, 2019 6:26 pm 
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nice call getting an alpine start for the climb, especially after seeing some recent avalanches up.gif glad you two had a great trip

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Eric Eames
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Jake Robinson
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PostTue May 14, 2019 9:12 am 
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Thanks everyone!

Jeff wrote:

Were there lots of sketchy people camping on Chilliwack river road? We had a car broken into and another was burned to the ground! Police said lots of druggies are camping around there now.

Nothing that we saw, but I definitely had this trip report on my mind as we were hiking back! It was a bit of a relief to come around the corner and see the car still in one piece.
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geyer
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PostTue May 14, 2019 10:06 am 
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Jake Robinson wrote:
Nothing that we saw, but I definitely had this trip report on my mind

holy crap! I'd never seen that but that is ridiculous. SMH people can be terrible
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Jeff
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PostTue May 14, 2019 3:00 pm 
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That was the exact same day our car was broken into. Probably the same people.
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Jake Robinson
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PostWed May 15, 2019 1:34 pm 
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Sorry for the shameless bump, but I'd like to share an account of a close call we had on this trip in the hopes that others might learn from it. We didn't even realize we'd had a close call until yesterday while looking at late-season route photos. Here's what my partner wrote about it:

Last weekend my partner and I climbed Mt Spickard, a gorgeous peak in the challenging Chilliwack range. We arrived in the late afternoon near Lake Ouzel and set up camp, watching avalanches off Solitude, the Moxes and Redoubt. Although there was no avalanche activity on Spickard, we decided to start our summit push at 1am, assuming that could put us back to camp well before 9am, when Spickard would start getting some sun along our route.

The snow down low was slushy and we had to trailbreak laboriously at times, although it mostly improved as we ascended. We followed the standard route up and traversed below the cliffs of Spickard to reach the west facing traverse towards the summit. On the traverse below the cliffs we snowshoed up some moderately steep snow. My partner called out to me from less than 10 feet away: “Do you hear that roaring sound?”. It was quiet and I listened intently, only hearing a very faint water sound. We continued on and a few feet later, I heard it too. A loud roar and it was clear to me that the sound came from directly below my snowshoes. I moved over it as quickly as possible and once a couple steps away, the sound disappeared again.

We met up again shortly afterwards and discussed what we had heard. I was sure it was significant water below the snow and my partner agreed. We opted to find a different route down and continued our successful climb to the summit of Spickard, reaching the summit in the predawn light. On the descent, we were able to traverse around the concerning spot with some steep downclimbing to the descender’s left.

My partner found photos of our route from other trips online after we returned home. From examining photos, it appears we were directly over a significant waterfall! Obviously, water under snow and thin snowbridges are a well known danger. I share my story today because of how incredibly localized the sound of the waterfall was. From 5 feet away, I could not hear this waterfall roaring under the snow. Once I was on top of it I could. Snow dampens sound, this is why in a snowy forest you might never hear your companions calling for you a short distance away.

My take home lesson: with ANY concerning sound that you cannot localize on a snow climb that may be below your feet-- turn around and find a different route. The snow was firm for us, but I have no way to tell how deep the snow was over the water. In different circumstances, perhaps had we started the climb later in the day, it could have been a thin or weak snowbridge that broke under my partner’s weight. It is unlikely I could have found him under the snow if that had happened- the snow that muffled the waterfall sounds would also muffle the screams of someone trapped within. If this situation ever happens to me again, I will turn back and find another route to my destination.


This was a humbling reminder to stay alert to these kinds of hazard during the spring melt. Thoughts of Aasgard Pass immediately came to mind. Here is the waterfall we traveled over, photo courtesy of Gimpilator. At this time of year there were no visual signs of it other than one small rock island on the right - the rest was all snow, though perhaps it would have been slightly more obvious if we weren't traveling in the dark. The sound wasn't noticeable until we were literally on top of it, which was a very scary and disorienting experience. Safe travels to all.
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Gimpilator
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PostWed May 15, 2019 3:29 pm 
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The rushing water sound directly under foot described here also happened to me and my group near the top of Asgard Pass.  A few weeks later someone lost their life, trapped under the snow.

Have also had a similar close call near Berdeen Lake.  Hopefully everyone uses caution out there this season, while climbing steep snow against rock walls.

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https://www.youtube.com/c/Zogador
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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