Forum Index > Trip Reports > July 17-19: Osceola, Carru, Lago, Dot, Ptarmigan, Tatoosh Buttes, Buckskin Ridge
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neek
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PostFri Jul 20, 2018 5:40 pm 
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I went to Slate Pass for the first time and did a 3-day loop that involved a camp site with a decent view


a colorful sunrise


pretty flowers


some peaceful lakes


prickly wildlife


and some mountains too


My loop, not quite as ambitious as some of the recent reports for this area, looked something like this:

Blue = trails from OpenStreetMap (often not very accurate in this region), orange = GPS, purple = hand-drawn
Blue = trails from OpenStreetMap (often not very accurate in this region), orange = GPS, purple = hand-drawn

After a long drive, I started hiking Tuesday around 11, dropped down Slate Pass on the Buckskin Ridge trail, and took the connector to the Middle Fork Pasayten River trail.  Note its incorrect location on some maps, too far north.  I followed the trail along the river, passed the Ferguson Lake trail, and turned up the Eureka Creek trail, which I followed past Fred Lake and over the ridge to Lake Doris where I claimed one of several camp sites.  No one else was there.

Cresting Slate Pass a couple minutes after leaving the car
Cresting Slate Pass a couple minutes after leaving the car
Looking down from Slate Pass
Looking down from Slate Pass
Middle Fork Pasayten crossing.  I had tennis shoes on so just walked across
Middle Fork Pasayten crossing.  I had tennis shoes on so just walked across
The entire MFP trail had just been cleared by a Forest Service team
The entire MFP trail had just been cleared by a Forest Service team
Freds Lake
Freds Lake
Freds Lake
Freds Lake
Three of the objectives coming into view: Osceola, Carru, Lago
Three of the objectives coming into view: Osceola, Carru, Lago
LYF
LYF
Lake Doris
Lake Doris

In the evening I strolled up Osceola and watched the colors change.

Hmmm
Hmmm
Heading up
Heading up
Blackcap, Monument
Blackcap, Monument
Storm to the NE
Storm to the NE
Lake 6765
Lake 6765
Looking back at Doris Lake
Looking back at Doris Lake
What looks like a couple small fires
What looks like a couple small fires
View SW
View SW
Carru and Lago
Carru and Lago
Blackcap and Monument
Blackcap and Monument
Lease Lake
Lease Lake
Back at camp
Back at camp

Bugs were present that evening, but not terrible.  I dozed a bit the next morning and got a late start.  Not wanting to drop over 1000 ft to Eureka Creek, I left the trail really early, thinking I might be able to hit the saddle between Osceola and pt. 7923 and follow the ridge.  Not so!  In retrospect there's probably a reason people don't do this.  I had to drop quite a bit on loose terrain and cross a number of gullies.  But I still managed to stay fairly high, as you can see on the map.  I eventually found some nice solid rock and headed straight up, then followed the ridge just a little to the west to reach the summit.

Rolo
Rolo
Good so far
Good so far
Not good
Not good
Ugh
Ugh
Crossing a gully
Crossing a gully
Nice solid class 2 believe it or not
Nice solid class 2 believe it or not
Serious drop on the north side of Carru
Serious drop on the north side of Carru
Lago from the summit of Carru
Lago from the summit of Carru
Burnt Lease Creek valley
Burnt Lease Creek valley
Eureka Creek valley
Eureka Creek valley

I knew it wasn't possible to run the ridge to Lago, so dropped straight down, as far to the east as possible, now on scree, which made for quick descending.  Poking around for a weakness in the cliffs, I finally found one near 7200 ft.  From there it was a straightforward ascent to the west ridge of Lago, and then to the summit.

At 7200 ft between Carru and Lago.  Don't see any weaknesses further up that wall so I think it's necessary to drop this far
At 7200 ft between Carru and Lago.  Don't see any weaknesses further up that wall so I think it's necessary to drop this far
Heading up Lago
Heading up Lago
Lago summit, looking back at Osceola and Carru
Lago summit, looking back at Osceola and Carru
Familiar names
Familiar names
View to the east
View to the east
View from the summit of Lago showing my entire ridge route for the rest of the day.  Smoke in the background
View from the summit of Lago showing my entire ridge route for the rest of the day.  Smoke in the background
Pt. 8165 (right), Dot (left), Ptarmigan (back)
Pt. 8165 (right), Dot (left), Ptarmigan (back)

Now on to unknown terrain.  The plan was to follow the ridge all the way to Ptarmigan, minus pt. 8207 on the NE ridge of Lago, and while it looked possible on the map, I hadn't done much research.  But it turned out the only trick bit was coming off pt. 8165.  A short 4th class downclimb off the S side of the NW ridge led me to a gendarme which seemed impassible but upon ascending provided easy access to the remainder of the ridge.

Easy descent down the north side of Lago
Easy descent down the north side of Lago
Along the ridge
Along the ridge
Burn
Burn
Looking back
Looking back
Heading up pt. 8165
Heading up pt. 8165
Slightly tricky
Slightly tricky
Ridge magically opens back up
Ridge magically opens back up
Dot Lakes
Dot Lakes
Dot Lakes and Peak 8165
Dot Lakes and Peak 8165

Dot was straightforward - maybe a couple safe 3rd class moves.  And coming down it was nothing.  Here the terrain becomes nice meadow-walking, and I put my lightweight shoes back on.  It was getting late, and when I reached the top of Ptarmigan it made sense to stay there.  Despite the wind, I decided to forego the tent, and slept under the stars, barely staying warm enough.

Ptarmigan Peak
Ptarmigan Peak
Part of a skull
Part of a skull
Looking back at Dot
Looking back at Dot
View north from Ptarmigan
View north from Ptarmigan
Despite the gentle south slopes, the NE side of Ptarmigan is very rugged
Despite the gentle south slopes, the NE side of Ptarmigan is very rugged
Fire blowing up in Canada
Fire blowing up in Canada
Fading light
Fading light
Sunset
Sunset

The third day was long and grueling.  Before setting off toward Tatoosh Buttes I paused to take some morning pictures.  The wind had finally died down but I had to climb back in the sleeping bag every few minutes to warm back up.

Clouds rolling over Tatoosh Buttes
Clouds rolling over Tatoosh Buttes
Jack
Jack
Carru
Carru
Baker
Baker

On the way over to Tatoosh Buttes, there weren't a lot of views, but plenty of flowers to keep me busy.  From the buttes I headed west on the Tatoosh Buttes Trail through a burn and down down into the Pasayten River valley.  The developed spring that Adam mentioned in a previous report was still intact and functioning beautifully.  Things got a bit messy at the valley floor and maps don't quite depict the trails accurately.  I found where the Middle Fork trail crosses the Middle Fork (there's a log across the trail and a sign warning that a landslide has made the crossing impassable by stock), and scooted across a log over deep water at the washout.  The northern end of the Buckskin Ridge Trail begins soon afterwards.  There was a lot of blowdown on this trail and I didn't realize it was 17 miles long with nearly 7000 ft of cumulative gain.  This had me staggering back to the car at 11pm, exhausted but satisfied.  If I had known what lay ahead I might have just taken the Middle Fork trail all the way back.  All the up and down was demoralizing, and the views from the trail weren't really that great.  But after all the rough stuff on the prior day, I was ready for plain old trail.  I only passed one group this day, about 12 kids on some organized event.  No big wildlife except for that porcupine, who was reluctant to leave the trail.

Paintbrush
Paintbrush
Lupine
Lupine
Elephant head
Elephant head
View from Tatoosh Buttes
View from Tatoosh Buttes
I am not sure whom these trees were offering sap to, but I helped myself to a bit
I am not sure whom these trees were offering sap to, but I helped myself to a bit
Devastation
Devastation
Lease Creek crossing
Lease Creek crossing
Pasayten crossing
Pasayten crossing
Lake 6326
Lake 6326
What is this thing?  It's HUGE
What is this thing?  It's HUGE
They were all over the trail at night
They were all over the trail at night
Pasayten Peak (I think)
Pasayten Peak (I think)

Link to a few pano shots and photospheres
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Michael Lewis
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PostFri Jul 20, 2018 5:50 pm 
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Crushed it! cool.gif
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Bernardo
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PostFri Jul 20, 2018 6:01 pm 
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Wow.  Just wow.  What great photo!  I am reslly enjoyinh all the amazing trip reports coming in at this time of the year!
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Jake Robinson
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PostFri Jul 20, 2018 6:08 pm 
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Really impressive solo trip. Lots of rough ground you covered!
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Opus
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PostFri Jul 20, 2018 6:14 pm 
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Glad to see that area more or less escaped the fire! I did a similar loop two years ago, but didn't end up doing Osceola, Carru, or Lago. It's also possible to go down to Dot Lakes from Dot Peak and traverse around Lago and back up to Shellrock Pass. Mostly easy terrain, minus one steep bit about halfway between the lakes and pass.
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Jake Robinson
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PostFri Jul 20, 2018 6:22 pm 
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Opus wrote:
Glad to see that area more or less escaped the fire! I did a similar loop two years ago, but didn't end up doing Osceola, Carru, or Lago. It's also possible to go down to Dot Lakes from Dot Peak and traverse around Lago and back up to Shellrock Pass. Mostly easy terrain, minus one steep bit about halfway between the lakes and pass.

True. Traverse south at treeline from Dot Lakes across a burned out basin. Cross over into another basin, drop an ugly gully into another burn zone, then climb boulders and easy open terrain to Butte Pass. Butte Pass to Shellrock is mostly burned now but easy travel.
Dot Lakes to Butte Pass
Dot Lakes to Butte Pass
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awilsondc
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PostFri Jul 20, 2018 8:11 pm 
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Nice trip neek!  And some good photos too!   up.gif  up.gif  up.gif
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Fletcher
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PostFri Jul 20, 2018 11:34 pm 
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Wow, awesome photos Nick! One of my favorite corners of the Cascades.
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RichP
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PostSat Jul 21, 2018 5:51 am 
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Cool report and photos. cool.gif  It really brought back memories from a trip I did in 2008. That traverse between Oceola and Carru? Yeah, it was quite a lot of work with gully after gully after gully...

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7969247

The traverse on the Lease Ck Divide is pretty well outlined in the 100 Summits book and I found it fairly straightforward from the Lago/Carru Col.

Dot lakes are looking as good as ever but Ptarmigan Ck is toast.

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Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
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Bootpathguy
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PostSat Jul 21, 2018 8:35 am 
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Great images! Thanks for sharing with us  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

Love the Porky-Pine photo

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OutOfOffice
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PostMon Jul 23, 2018 11:27 am 
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Nice photos Neek  up.gif
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Distel32
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PostMon Jul 23, 2018 7:16 pm 
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up.gif
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User-Name
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PostMon Aug 13, 2018 6:32 pm 
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Dang, Nickel!  That's a nice bit o' 'splorin' you done there.   Next time you're planning a wander over new ground, lmk.   dance.gif Looking forward to some mini-epics in the Fall.  Legs are toast from Sunday, btw. hahaha  wheelchair.gif
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Strider518
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PostWed Sep 04, 2019 7:52 pm 
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I enjoyed immensely your trip report and pictures. I've been thinking about doing the same loop, except 'clockwise'. From your report it seems that climbing up and over Lago does not involve any technical rock climbing, as long as one is careful to look ahead and not get stuck somewhere. I'd appreciate any private comments you may have, if you like. Thanks.
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gb
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PostThu Sep 05, 2019 8:51 am 
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A really great trip report! I've considered that route as well, although I'd likely forego Osceola and Carru. Good information about finding the trails and the state of the route regarding fires and blowdown. Interested in hearing you say that views of the Buckskin Ridge trail were not all that great. That surprised me.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > July 17-19: Osceola, Carru, Lago, Dot, Ptarmigan, Tatoosh Buttes, Buckskin Ridge
  Happy Birthday the photogger, Pribbs!
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