Forum Index > Trip Reports > Gladys gets a job on the Twisp Pass trail. June 26, 2019
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KarlK
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PostFri Jun 28, 2019 3:11 pm 
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Bill Ford, one of BCHW's many expert sawyers, recently mentioned (hint hint) to Winthrop's Don Hecker that a big horse-stopping spruce remained across the Twisp Pass trail a short distance inside the wilderness boundary following a WTA operation. Chainsaws are prohibited in wilderness areas (not by law, but by a rebarbative administrative rule which has long contributed immensely to the loss of wilderness trail access).

After studying pictures of the big spruce while sipping some of Don's finer amber restorative, I said something on the order of "yeah, I think Gladys can do that."

Gladys, so named by my wife, is my 61" crosscut felling saw; she intially brought down trees prior to WW2 in the Eatonville region. Gladys was expertly restored by BCHW's chief saw guru Tom Faubion and re-entered service in 2017 (e.g., http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8025307&sid=2a8f8453eeacf28994339e18bad5be32).

But this job would also require additional and higher-level expertise in the complex art of crosscut bucking, so we recruited retired Methow District Ranger Mike Liu and another guy named Mike who prefers to be referred to simply as 'the other Mike.'

Ranger Mike also recruited his daughter Christina, a strong and hard working addition to the team whose strength and stamina significantly upped the odds of success.

The other Mike is a C-certified sawer with an immense amount of experience involving complex bucking problems. Both size and positioning made this a tricky problem indeed.

The big spruce was angled across a rather deep trail trench, creating a lot of potential for  dropping a big chunk of it into that trench. With chainsaws we could have easily enough reduced the problem into managable parts, but with a crosscut saw, the cut plan requires a much higher level of problem solving.

Crosscut work also entails extensive use of an ax to drive bucking wedges into the saw cut (kerf) to keep it open (red and orange wedges in pictures), for removing bark (which dulls saws), and for removing stobs and branches to make it possible to roll or drag  logs.

Note also in photos 14 and 15 the use of metal "hanging" or "tie" wedges driven across the kerf to literally tie the log sections together. These were provided the the other Mike, who we thank for his invaluable help and instruction.

1. Big spruce viewed from E
1. Big spruce viewed from E
2. Big spruce viewed from W
2. Big spruce viewed from W
3. Discussing the cut plan
3. Discussing the cut plan
4. MikeL & KarlK chopping out mistletoe
4. MikeL & KarlK chopping out mistletoe
5. Working on the first cut
5. Working on the first cut
6. Good progress on first cut
6. Good progress on first cut
7. DonH finishing first cut
7. DonH finishing first cut
8. DonH chopping out a stob
8. DonH chopping out a stob
9.Precision stob chopping
9.Precision stob chopping
10. Mike Liu & daughter Christina working on the second cut
10. Mike Liu & daughter Christina working on the second cut
11. Christina Liu working on the second cut
11. Christina Liu working on the second cut
12. Second cut done & round rolled to safe location
12. Second cut done & round rolled to safe location
13. MikeL finishing the third cut-note ramp and measures to prevent rollback
13. MikeL finishing the third cut-note ramp and measures to prevent rollback
14. Use of hanging (aka "tie":) wedges to stabilize kerf and prevent rolling
14. Use of hanging (aka "tie") wedges to stabilize kerf and prevent rolling
15. Closeup of hanging wedge
15. Closeup of hanging wedge
16. Explanation of hanging (tie) wedges
16. Explanation of hanging (tie) wedges
17. ~2000 lb log about midway across trail trench
17. ~2000 lb log about midway across trail trench
18. Log all the way across and near final resting position
18. Log all the way across and near final resting position
19. Almost 7 hours after starting
19. Almost 7 hours after starting

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Karl J Kaiyala
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RichP
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PostFri Jun 28, 2019 3:41 pm 
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KarlK wrote:
19. Almost 7 hours after starting
19. Almost 7 hours after starting

That's a very fine feeling.  up.gif

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Brushbuffalo
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PostFri Jun 28, 2019 4:25 pm 
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Another productive day in the woods that will benefit many. Thanks, gentlemen and lady!
KarlK wrote:
Chainsaws are prohibited in wilderness areas (not by law, but by a rebarbative administrative rule which has long contributed immensely to the loss of wilderness trail access).

I didn't know that. I had always assumed it was law,...same with " no bikes or motorcycles" in designated wilderness areas....or is that also administrative only?
I find it interesting that some trail volunteers  ( not you) don't use power equipment even where allowed. I surely would where allowed...get 'er done and go clear more in one tenth the time (if 100 times more noise and ten times more weight).

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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KarlK
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PostFri Jun 28, 2019 5:37 pm 
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Brushbuffalo, indeed some (probably many) trail workers use only crosscut saws. They're a lot lighter to pack and when properly filed and set work surprisingly well (but not in the sense of speedy fast) on a wide variety of downed trees.

Crosscut saws are also less likely to cause grievous injuries.

It's just that you can get orders of magnitude more cutting done with chainsaws. One Stihl 460 with a 25" bar would have turned our almost all-day crosscut job into an hour's worth of cutting, probably less in the hands of highly skilled ex production loggers like Frank Schultz or Chuck Trueman.

The amount of work needed, for example, in the Pasayten is so great, that chainsaw use should be allowed in my view, which is shared by a lot of people.

Interestingly, the park service runs chainsaws in most national parks. Additionally, wildland firefighters run chainsaws in wilderness areas.

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Sky Hiker
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PostFri Jun 28, 2019 7:54 pm 
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Very nice, would a good come along been useful also?
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KarlK
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PostFri Jun 28, 2019 8:57 pm 
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Sky Hiker, yes, perhaps so, but we were limited to brain power and people power on this job. Guys like 'the other Mike' and Tom Mix and Del Sage do some amazing stuff with grip hoists, aka come alongs.

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fourteen410
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PostFri Jun 28, 2019 11:24 pm 
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I can't thank you enough for your work. Bravo to all of you!
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iron
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PostFri Jun 28, 2019 11:49 pm 
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looks like a fine way to spend retirement! smile.gif

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Kat
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PostSat Jun 29, 2019 5:01 am 
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Wow. That's just amazing - and great shots of this complex task.  This is probably a silly question - but I am assuming those tie wedges are pounded horizontally across the cut with a large hammer?

How was the 61" saw carried in - on horseback?
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gb
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PostSat Jun 29, 2019 6:36 am 
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My thought is also "WOW". What a complex and difficult task. Many thanks for such an effort! And that is just one tree.
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KarlK
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PostSat Jun 29, 2019 8:23 am 
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Kat, the tie wedges are usually driven with an ax, in this instance 'the other Mike's' 3 lb refurbished Plumb ax. Since these fairly thin metal wedges go in with the grain, they're quite easy to place.

This was my first experience with tie wedges and it was a revelation! They do a terrific job of holding the log halves together and can substantially increase the margin of safety.

The saws are relatively light -- mine with handles weighs 7 lbs -- and are fairly easy to hike with using a sling arrangement (with those wicked sharp fangs protected using a length of fire hose jacket, for example) and that's what we did. The horse riders often use elegant leather scabbards, often custom made.

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Kat
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PostSat Jun 29, 2019 9:39 am 
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Interesting.  And more good info!  Thanks.
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John Morrow
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PostSat Jun 29, 2019 3:05 pm 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
Another productive day in the woods that will benefit many. Thanks, gentlemen and lady!
KarlK wrote:
Chainsaws are prohibited in wilderness areas (not by law, but by a rebarbative administrative rule which has long contributed immensely to the loss of wilderness trail access).

I didn't know that. I had always assumed it was law,...same with " no bikes or motorcycles" in designated wilderness areas....or is that also administrative only?
I find it interesting that some trail volunteers  ( not you) don't use power equipment even where allowed. I surely would where allowed...get 'er done and go clear more in one tenth the time (if 100 times more noise and ten times more weight).

Lots of well intentioned inaccuracies here.  Chainsaws, motors, and mechanical transport of any kind (bicycles for example) are indeed prohibited (i.e. illegal).  However, for administrative purposes only (i.e. federal agencies) this can be exempted if it can be demonstrated through an analysis that they are absolutely necessary to meet the minimum requirements for the administration of the area.  This is difficult, as it should be.  See all the recent press on the San Juan NF decision this spring.

The Wilderness Act (i.e. Federal Law enacted by Congress and signed by President Lyndon Johnson, Sept 3, 1964)
Section 4(c): Except as specifically provided for in this Act, and subject to existing private
rights, there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any
wilderness area designated by this Act and, except as necessary to meet
minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this
Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety
of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor
vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other
form of mechanical transport, and no structures or installation within any such
area.

Awesome engineering and delineating a great cut plan on the big spruce!!!  Rolling 2000lbs on well prepared and placed roller logs had to be satisfying!  Looks like it was fortunately down next to the big one?

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John Morrow
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PostSat Jun 29, 2019 3:19 pm 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:

I find it interesting that some trail volunteers  ( not you) don't use power equipment even where allowed. I surely would where allowed...get 'er done and go clear more in one tenth the time (if 100 times more noise and ten times more weight).

Karl mentioned the hazard concerns of chainsaw for volunteers.  i put it this way: with a crosscut the log may get you, with the chainsaw the log and the chain can get ya'.

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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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KarlK
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PostSat Jun 29, 2019 3:50 pm 
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John, well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!  doof.gif

My (mis)understanding of this was predicated on an explanation last summer by a PhD forester friend who had a lot of credibility with me.

I suppose I'd go query his understanding of the matter, but he up and died of a cancer that came on and killed him so fast as to once again remind me that there ain't no guarantees in this life, pilgrim, save for death, taxes and stupid laws.

As for chainsaws, yes  they're inherently dangerous tools and trail volunteers are now required to be certified and wear full PPE while running a saw.

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Karl J Kaiyala
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