Forum Index > Trip Reports > Frigid, Big Lou loop – 8 sept 2019.
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kitya
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PostMon Sep 09, 2019 9:58 pm 
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This is my 3rd ever time coming to Chatter creek trailhead and yet again I was pleasantly surprised how relatively unpopular this trailhead is. Passing the crazy overflowing Snow Lakes trailhead and seeing mountain runners trying to get a ride on the side of the road to Stuart lake trailhead, makes me happy that dogs are banned in Enchantments and that I cannot go there.

Anyway, large Chatter creek trailhead was completely empty at 10 am on a Sunday and empty again at 7pm the same day. The whole time I didn’t meet a single person, perhaps due to some rain.

My first time to the Chatter creek trail was all the way back in May of 2015, where I attempted to hike to Frigid Mountain using instructions from Eric (found here: http://www.willhiteweb.com/alpine_lakes_wilderness/frigid_mountain/icicle_creek_414.htm) and miserably failed. Eric’s instructions call for long scramble up giant boulder field, which perhaps works well on a good snow year when boulder field is covered in snow, but these type of years are hard to come by nowdays and when I was there the boulder field was open and scrambling it was a pain. I gave up.

Next time I went in summer to visit Grindstone mountain, which was really pretty, though full of mosquitoes.

This third time nothing much changed on the trail, but this time instead of messing with the boulders I choose more direct approach just left of the boulder field scrambling up the obvious ridge which worked much better for me. There are some steep parts and some brushy parts (and best of all both parts, where I could use some veggie belays), but overall it is a lot more pleasant than giant boulder hopping and also more straightforward. One can perhaps avoid some of the steeper parts by going even more left, but my way worked well for me and Cookie regardless.

Frigid was indeed quite cold and a bit rainy. I was lucky to meet several marmots near to it.


From Frigid I followed the ridge around lake Ida to the Big Lou ridge. I first visited Ida exactly a year ago, approaching it from another side after visiting Big Jim and lake Augusta (http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8028102). I was thinking about going to Big Lou too at that time, but I’m happy I didn’t – it was already a long loop and Big Lou is pretty much the same as Big Jim, so going to both on the same day would be extra boring.

From Big Lou the view to Cashmere mountain and Lake Victora was very nice, especially seeing the contrast created by sun and clouds.


There was also an airplane buzzing below.


Last year when I first seen Lake Ida I was honestly not impressed. This time I was. Lake Ida really only works from one side. It is not just the larches (larches exist on both sides), it is the granite slabs and larches that create very special atmosphere near the lake. Also getting to Ida from Chatter creek is actually easier than getting to it from Carter lake.


Surprisingly I found a well defined trail to/from lake Ida. There are cairns and tape markings. And even a forest service sign ‘no campfires’. Despite that there is an obvious fire ring and some burned wood. That someone would make a fire in such a pretty place with larches is unexplainable to me.

I also found some trash like old clothing, tarps and balloons and took it all out.


Since there is a good trail all the way down and it actually avoids the dreaded rock gully nicely on the side, the way out was uneventful.

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RichP
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 5:29 am 
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Yep. That's the good side of the Icicle for solitude.

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Type E
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 5:53 am 
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Funny when I did Grindstone there was a plane in the valley below. Weird to see a plane flying from thousands  of feet above it. Fun area

E

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Bootpathguy
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 9:01 am 
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You should've waited 3 weeks or so. It's a great larch hike.

Thanks for sharing

Love that area

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kitya
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 10:45 am 
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Bootpathguy wrote:
You should've waited 3 weeks or so. It's a great larch hike.

I know but green larches are underappreciated and there is a lot more chance of seeing no other people when it is a rainy day and they are still green smile.gif
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iron
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 1:53 pm 
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no dogs in the 'chants???

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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?

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reststep
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 3:24 pm 
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Enchantment Permit Area Rules and Regulations

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/okawen/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5405903

Quote:
Dogs and other Pets
Dogs, and all pets, are prohibited, except for Service Dogs as defined by Department of Justice regulations 28 C.F.R. Part 35.136. Dogs whose sole purpose is to provide therapy, comfort, emotional support or crime deterrent do not qualify as service dogs.


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"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
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kitya
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 3:43 pm 
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Also Ingalls lake/peak area and all National parks do not allow dogs on trails. They are very evil frown.gif
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Tom
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 3:55 pm 
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Probably a good reason (warning: graphic) in the Enchantments / Ingalls area due to number of goats.
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SteeperColder
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 3:55 pm 
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kitya wrote:
Also Ingalls lake/peak area and all National parks do not allow dogs on trails. They are very evil frown.gif

There was pretty graphic video posted on the forum last year of a dog at Ingalls chasing after the mountain goats. The dog was off leash (or it pulled off leash) and ended up taking a huge header trying to catch the goats. The video was a pretty clear reminder that close-contact wildlife and pets don't mix well... I personally had a surprise face-to-face encounter with a goat on the Ingalls trail this year, definitely closer than pet leash length, and it required 5-minutes of quiet/calm maneuvering to safely get past, this would have been very different with dogs or even just a few more people.

^^ just realized Tom was re-posting said video, the same time I was writing about it ^^

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Brushbuffalo
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 4:00 pm 
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Interesting trip, kitya. Thanks for posting. I love it that Cookie likes to roll in any snow patch she finds....so ' cool' ! lol.gif
kitya wrote:
Big Lou is pretty much the same as Big Jim

Naturally. The Whittakers are identical twins, after all. wink.gif  biggrin.gif

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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kitya
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 4:40 pm 
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SteeperColder wrote:
kitya wrote:
Also Ingalls lake/peak area and all National parks do not allow dogs on trails. They are very evil frown.gif

There was pretty graphic video posted on the forum last year of a dog at Ingalls chasing after the mountain goats. The dog was off leash (or it pulled off leash) and ended up taking a huge header trying to catch the goats. The video was a pretty clear reminder that close-contact wildlife and pets don't mix well... I personally had a surprise face-to-face encounter with a goat on the Ingalls trail this year, definitely closer than pet leash length, and it required 5-minutes of quiet/calm maneuvering to safely get past, this would have been very different with dogs or even just a few more people.

^^ just realized Tom was re-posting said video, the same time I was writing about it ^^

Well, there are many dangers, but I'm pretty sure decision to ban dogs is not based on any concern for dog welfare at all. In fact many areas where dogs are banned are not particularly full with goats or any other wildlife and also many other areas that have goats do allow dogs. Goats hang around Enchantments and lake Ingalls because, sadly, these are habituated goats addicted to salt in human pee. This is very bad for them and in fact faced with similar problem Glacier NP is using a special dog (bark ranger) Gracie to chase away goats from most popular trails. This is obviously not an excuse for the dogs chasing goats, which was a really bad move by the dog owner.

Cookie met many goats and other wildlife in other areas around here and she never had any issues with them. She doesn't harass them and they don't harass her. Wild animals just don't do that.

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kitya
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PostTue Sep 10, 2019 4:44 pm 
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Brushbuffalo wrote:
Interesting trip, kitya. Thanks for posting. I love it that Cookie likes to roll in any snow patch she finds....so ' cool' ! lol.gif

That is her whole raison-d'etre. This summer I feel snow patches are even more rare than usual in many places we go, so we have to go deep into some weird ravines and sometimes scramble some uncomfortable scree just to get to a snow patch. When some other people avoid snow when hiking, we seek it as much as possible.  If there is a trail and a snow patch - we always go on snow patch.

All in all global warming is a very personal problem for me. My detours get longer and longer each summer.
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ChinookPass
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PostWed Sep 11, 2019 7:41 am 
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Thanks for the report. This area has been in my list for awhile.
Nice looking pup.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Frigid, Big Lou loop – 8 sept 2019.
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